A new reason to get excited for parent-teacher conferences

As students publish within a class setting, it is important to give them a sense of ownership over their individual work – a place where the young author’s posts can build class-to-class, year-over-year: the Kidblog digital portfolio. 

Today we would like to share the story of Mr. Wilson, Jacob Johnson, and his parents. These fictional characters’ story is based on real experiences and testimonials we’ve received from teachers and parents, demonstrating the benefits of the digital portfolio for teachers and parents.

 

Max Wilson had been a teacher for three years at a small rural school in Wisconsin. Six months ago, he and his wife Betsy decided to follow their dream of moving to the East coast. After settling down in New Jersey, Mr. Wilson found a fourth-grade teaching position at Standard Elementary.

After meeting the new colleagues and learning more about the community at Standard, Mr. Wilson turned his attention to the fast-approaching school year. Via a recommendation from one of the other 4th grade teachers, he signed up for Kidblog.

Mr. Wilson added his students into his Kidblog class and started using it the first week of school. The kids’ first assignment?  Publish a blog post about their summer, and leave a comment on another student’s post.

Mr. Wilson had a passion for student engagement and finding ways to motivate his class to interact. After witnessing his students’ eyes light up as they composed their posts and commented on each others’ work, he implemented a weekly blogging schedule including reflection, commenting, and a blogger of the week poll.

Soon enough, parent-teacher conferences were around the corner, and Mr. Wilson was excited.

All teachers have felt some tension when preparing for parent-teacher conferences, and Mr. Wilson had been there. While he had always enjoyed meeting with parents, it was often a struggle to find the best way to keep parents in the loop before conferences for his first few years of teaching. The key was to minimize any surprises.

This struggle had inevitably led to some anxiety. Are we going to be on the same page about their child’s performance? Do they know what we’ve been working on in class?

This year was different — he was organized and at ease. The key this time: inviting parents to view their child’s portfolio since the start of the school year.

On conference night, Mr. Wilson had his laptop set up on his desk with a few notes post-it notes attached to a gradebook that was set off to the side. Jacob Johnson’s parents were the first to arrive. They had kind eyes and shook Mr. Wilson’s hand before sitting in the chairs set up across from his desk.

“Jacob was right, you could almost fit an elephant in here.” Mr. Johnson commented.

They all laughed, all having read Jacob’s latest blog post on African mammals. Thanks to his digital portfolio, the Johnsons were able to see all of their son’s work in one place, since the first week of school.

Mr. Wilson pulled up Jacob’s portfolio on his laptop at the table made some specific commentary on Jacob’s improving grammar skills, increased participation, as well as areas that Jacob could continue to improve, like punctuation and capitalization.

As the conversation was winding down, Mrs. Johnson exclaimed, “Thank you so much for starting up blogger of the week, by the way. Jacob hasn’t been able to stop talking about the time he won the title 3 weeks ago! Before this year, it wasn’t easy to talk about what he’s been working on at school. In the past, we would come home from work and ask, ‘Hey what did you learn at school today?’ His response was always—”

“Nothing,” Mr. Johnson finished her sentence.

She continued, “But now if he tries to pull that one on us, we can always ask about what he was blogging about last and pull his portfolio up at home.” She continued. “It’s like having a never-ending refrigerator where we can see and appreciate all his projects.”

 

As time went on Jacob continued to grow his body of work. Winter turned to spring and summer was on the horizon when Jacob had over 40 posts in his digital portfolio.

A week before summer break, his mother Mrs. Johnson stopped into Mr. Wilson’s classroom.

“Knock Knock,” she said at the door.

Mr. Wilson’s looked up, “Mrs. Johnson, come in, come in! I was just finishing up a little last minute grading. What can I do for you?”

“I just wanted to thank you. I know for a fact that you’re Jacob’s favorite teacher and for the first time, we can really see the growth in his writing.”

Mr. Wilson smiled “Well Jacob is a fine young man and it was a pleasure teaching him this year. He really has come a long way.”

“Do you know if the fifth-grade teachers use Kidblog?” she asked.

“Some of the other teachers and I were just talking about that very thing this morning. Our principal has received enough emails from parents about the positive effects of portfolios, that she is looking to implement Kidblog school-wide.”

“So Jacob can continue using his same account next year and it will simply transfer to his new class?”

“That’s right. His portfolio will keep building automatically, so you’ll really see growth over time.”

“That is fantastic!” Mrs. Johnson exclaimed. “Thanks again for everything. Hopefully, you’ll see my daughter Emma next year”

“Looking forward to it. Take care, Mrs. Johnson!”

 

Thanks to all our teachers and parents that have submitted their testimonials on parent-teacher conferences, digital portfolios, and expanding their Teacher Premium accounts to Admin Pro to empower even more students to share their voices.

 

You can click here to learn more about how you can get started with Kidblog, or learn how you can expand a group of teachers’ memberships into a school-wide account.

Request your quote today to secure your students’ portfolios for next year.

Find more information about using student publishing to foster communication between students, parents, and teachers below:

Using Student Portfolios for Parent-Teacher Communication

Webinar: Using Kidblog as a Portfolio for Student-Led Conferences

7 Tips for Successful Portfolio Conferences

How to Flip Your Parent-Teacher Conference

About the Author
Grace is a Marketing Manager at Kidblog. She enjoys discovering new ways to ignite the world's passion for blogging, and hearing from teachers about all the ways students are benefiting from Kidblog in and outside the classroom! Grace loves teaching painting, photographing the beautiful state of MN, and snuggling her two cats Piper and Opal.

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