Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences

For years, parent–teacher conferences* have operated in a fairly consistent way. Family members come to school. They sit down with the teacher. The teacher leads the meeting. Family members ask questions. A discussion ensues. And the process repeats with the next family.

It’s a process that’s not really broken. Therefore, schools have continued to use it without making many significant changes to the process. However, many schools have Continue reading “Student-led Conferences: A Different Approach to Parent–Teacher Conferences”

Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs

Each school year brings new students, along with new trends to help improve how we go about educating the students. Positive behavior reinforcement—and programs focusing on using positive behavior reinforcement to mold student behaviors—is one such trend that is gaining popularity in schools. Positive behavior reinforcement, simply defined, is giving a reward for a positive action or behavior to encourage the action or behavior to happen again. Positive reinforcement could Continue reading “Positive Behavior Reinforcement and PBIS Programs”

2015 IRC Conference: Teacher Peach Wins Peoria’s Heart!

Image_2Recently, the energetic Teacher Peach traveling team descended upon Peoria, armed with all sorts of exciting Teacher Peach products for the 2015 IRC Conference. Every product we brought reinforced the support and respect our company has for educators. In short, REALLY GREAT TEACHERS checked out OUR REALLY GREAT PRODUCTS, told us what they liked, and shared ideas for new products at the show!

It was a great conference with loads of energy. We met so many enthusiastic and committed educators—who loved our products. We had a constant stream of visitors in our booth—and people stayed to check out our products for a long time. We learned so much and truly appreciate all of the smart and helpful feedback we received. Teachers offered specific and candid input and ideas for our product line.

An Out-of-the-Box Preview!
We invited teachers to take a sneak peek at our newest and incredibly exciting subscription boxes! Yes, you read that correctly. We’re putting finishing touches on our very first subscription box product line. Eight times a year, amazing boxes of sensational tools, classroom products, and special teacher-centric delights will arrive on your doorstep with this new product offering.

It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm as we shared our beta prototypes. You’d be amazed at how many teachers wanted to snap them up, then and there! (We actually weren’t amazed because our advance teacher research had given us the indication that this subscription box model would be something teachers would relish—and was that ever true!)

Thanks to all the subscription box surveys and personal input we received, we are now back in our creative box lab! It’s revision time for our box prototypes. Now that we have additional direct input from teachers and principals, we know exactly what to do next to make these subscription boxes even more appealing. Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to product release.

Numerous teachers signed up to become Official Peach Beta Testers for the early-release versions subscription boxes. You don’t need to have been at the conference to volunteer for this. If you love subscription boxes, let us know! Interested in becoming a beta tester yourself? Contact us at info@teacherpeach.com and let us know. We’ll get you the information on the Official Peach Beta Testers process.

Sweets and Peaches à la Road!
IRC_CandyWe also had a lot of FALL-idays Fun in the Teacher Peach booth, sharing sweet candy corn treats, which provided a much-enjoyed jolt of sugar for teachers en route to their sessions. (See? At Teacher Peach, we can anticipate what teachers need, exactly when they need it!)

While many folks might think of apples for this FALL-idays season, we went to our very own peach orchard and shared over 500 of the squishiest, peachiest stress balls with our booth visitors. They were quite the hit, to say the least. Teachers told us these were the best free gift of the entire conference!

IRC_PeachesCountless teachers went on to explain how they use our stress balls to help keep fidgety students focused. Others gave us lots of ideas for how to pass around a stress ball as a sort of “talking aid” to help students take turns speaking in groups.

If you’re looking to add some fun and functional stress balls to your classroom collections, check out Teacher Peach’s entire line of stress balls. Our stress balls come in different shapes and sizes and each one carries a carefully considered, educationally sound message. Find the ones that work best for you and incorporate them into your class.

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Raffle, Anyone?
Hundreds of people entered our raffle over the course of the two-day conference. We were happy to award FREE products to over two dozen different educators. Raffle prizes increased in size and value as we worked our way up to our grand-prize winner. Most of our winners received a snazzy Teacher Peach bag that included one of our products as well as card for an additional gift. Our SUPER grand prize winner hit the “teacherlode!” with a huge tote bag brimming with a whole host of unique teacher and classroom products, valued at over $500! Check out Amber’s delight as she explored her grand prize.

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If you were one of the lucky winners of Teacher Peach products at the show, your winnings don’t stop there: be sure to go to teacherpeach.com to redeem your additional free gift! (The process for receiving your additional free gift is outlined on the card that was in the bag you received.)

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We would love to hear from everyone who visited the Teacher Peach booth at the show. If you were a winner of one of our many raffle prizes, please tell us what you think of the product you won. Just leave a comment below or post a review at teacherpeach.com.

Teacher Votes Fuel Our Creativity
At Teacher Peach, we always want to know what teachers think about our products, how they will use them, and which of our colorful, functional, and snappy products are their favorites. That’s why we asked teachers to cast their votes. After looking at 30 different products (only a fraction of the 100s of products on our website), teachers filled out a Quick-Vote Survey to let us know which products were their absolute faves. Teachers most loved our teacher totes and lunch products.

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All in all, it was an incredible two-day experience. We’ll definitely be back next year. In the meantime, we are going to take our “Peach Show on the Road” to other regional conferences for educators in the Midwest. If you have a conference coming up, let us know. You never know where you’ll find “Teacher Peach on the Go!”

In between conferences? Check out our products anytime by jumping onto teacherpeach.com.

Team Meeting Strategies

Because there is so much pressure on you, your peers, your principal, and your district to integrate the CCSS effectively, this priority needs to be everyone’s priority. It’s highly likely that the teachers in your grade band will be asked to join forces to tackle the CCSS together.

To keep such work sessions productive and positive, it takes a bit of smart planning. Here are some strategies for making these team meetings effective and efficient. We’re sharing them with you because they work!

Time’s Up!
If you are part of a team meeting, set regular meeting times and remind others ahead of time. Have a rule that you will begin on time and end on time. Then, stick to that. Allow some time for team members to connect though, as it is important to gel as a team.

At the Helm
To avoid too much burden on any one person, it often works best to rotate who leads the meetings, provides a healthy snack, and is in charge of logistics.

Sharing this leadership can help to create a supportive climate for all participants. Set a time limit for each meeting with a specific agenda of what’s to be accomplished—and by whom. Collaboration starts with you!

Pay A-TENT-ion!
When it’s your turn to “host” a team meeting, set the stage by using tent cards to sprinkle the meeting space with positive and motivational messages. Promote active listening.

Use the tent card downloads attached here to get you started. We’ve also provided a template so you can add a few messages of your own.

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Sign Up at the Start
Each team member should sign up to host and run a session. Build a schedule and include an “understudy” so that if someone is out with the flu, “The meeting must go on.”

Duly Noted
Designate one note taker to distribute notes and action items for confirmation by all attendees. This note taker should be responsible for circulating final notes to those who were not in attendance, too. This will save “catch-up” time at the next meeting.

Be a Goalie
As a team, begin by setting a limited number of strategic goals for the year. Make sure they align with the goals of your school’s administration. Start with three big goals, breaking them down into sub-goals and tasks.

Check In
After a few meetings, be sure to make time to ask one another how the meetings are working. If you’ve instituted a few practices, check in to be sure they are working. If something’s missing, refine the game and meeting plan.

Expand Your Own CCSS Meeting Process
CCSSKTFS-2TAs you begin your team meetings, check out the amazing meeting tools that are part of the Common Core Kit for Success by Teacher Peach. This kit includes a meeting pocket folder, meeting notepad, and arrow-shaped sticky notes for team planning and collaboration. There’s even an erasable marker! Yes, not every initial idea remains unchanged. The playbook in the kit gives you step-by-step strategies, hints, and prompts to guide you through your team meetings, too. You team might even opt to use this playbook as your guide. It makes a great “piece of evidence” to support your team’s accomplishments!

Stay tuned for more CCSS ideas in future blog posts. What strategies work for your team meetings? Are you meeting with peers to make collaborative progress or are these get-togethers in need of some structure and improvement? Share what’s working—and might work better—so we can help to create products that will support your school on its CCSS discovery journey.