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By Jethro Jones | Friday, October 24, 2014

Teachers: Prep Tips for Parent-Teacher Conferences

Make parent-teacher conferences easier

It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing, the air is cooling—and that means parent-teacher conferences are right around the corner.

Regardless of what format your school uses, parent-teacher conferences can be difficult when you have a student who’s struggling in one way or another; they’re hard for both the parent and the teacher.

Here are some tips to make sure conferences go smoothly for both parties.

Communicate early and often

If a student is struggling, be sure you bring up the issues with the parents before your conference. Communicating early allows conferences to serve as a check-in, rather than a surprise ambush from you about their struggling child.

Even if conferences are coming up soon, and you don’t think you have time to chat with parents, it will still be worth it to at least make a brief connection before conferences.

No surprises

Wherever possible, let parents see report cards or progress reports before you meet with them. That gives them time to think about what their child is missing, ask questions of their child (and you), and brainstorm ways to help.

Send a personal invitation to parents

When you take the time to invite parents personally, they recognize that you care for their child and that you want him or her to be successful.

A personal invitation also conveys that you want to work together as a team for their child. Parents don’t always know how to help their student and an invitation invites them to come ask you questions.

Wait! Before you secondary teachers get on me for suggesting you send a personal invitation to all 220 (or more) of your students, I’m not suggesting they all get invitations. Send personal invitations to those who really need them—those who likely will not come otherwise.

Have a plan and resources for every student

In a perfect world, you would have much more time to meet with parents of students who are struggling, and they would be the first at your door to get help for their child.

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the kids who need the most help are the ones whose parents never show up for conferences.

As teachers, though, that can’t matter to us. We need to have a plan for every single student, and resources tailored to that specific student’s needs. Whether or not parents come, you’re still going to do your best as the teacher to help that child be successful.

Talk critically about data, compassionately about student

Parents love their children and want them to be successful. You can help them maintain a positive outlook by talking critically about student data and using student-first language. Provide some hope for the parents that their child can make the necessary gains.

But be compassionate towards the students themselves. It will be tempting to spend most of your time with the parents talking about where their child needs help, but be sure to consider and communicate the positive aspects of that child, as well.

Learn more

If a student is really struggling, you may need to up your communication game. Watch these free videos from the lynda.com course Having Difficult Conversations to turn tricky conversations into successful interactions:

Effective communication
Four phases of successful conversations
Clarifying your goal

For more help in the classroom, check out our full range of 60 Teacher Tools courses on lynda.com.


By Lauren Harmon | Tuesday, September 02, 2014

One Ring to Rule Them All—with Illustrator's 3D Revolve


Learn how to create a golden ring inspired by Lord of the Rings with Illustrator’s amazing 3D Revolve command. You’ll get the first part of the technique in this episode of Deke’s Techniques, in which Deke shows how to extract the ring from a simple wedge. Then in the follow-up movie in the lynda.com library, he’ll show how to engrave it with an “Elven” script.

By Nick Brazzi | Thursday, August 14, 2014

Notes from the SIGGRAPH Floor: 3D Printing & Motion Capture


Here at SIGGRAPH, the international conference for computer graphics, animation, and interactive design, it’s really fun to walk the show floor and experience the new technology on display—especially 3D printing and motion capture.

By Starshine Roshell | Saturday, August 09, 2014

Binge-Learning Experiment: Success!


Back in May, 20-year-old Sean Witzke launched an experiment: Take the time he would normally spend watching his favorite TV shows and devote it instead to learning stuff.

His theory: If he began producing things, instead of just consuming them, he could become self-employed in 90 days.

So he cancelled his Netflix subscription—quitting Breaking Bad, Lost, Prison Break, and Suits cold turkey—and dove into lynda.com.

And guess what?

It worked.

By Kristin Ellison | Friday, June 27, 2014

Create an Oozing Jelly Donut—Digitally


This week, Bert walks us through turning a photo of a sugar donut into a jelly donut with a bite taken out of it.

His first step is removing the donut’s hole, so he selects the clone tool and clones from different areas of the donut to get a random effect with no duplication. Next, to create the bite effect, he clones from the background to remove that section of the donut and roughs out the edges.

By Derrick Story | Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moving from Aperture to Lightroom


Every time I pack up and move from one house to another, I say, “I’m never doing this again!” Moving is laborious, tedious, and at times, frustrating.

Switching from Aperture to Lightroom can feel the same.

By Anne-Marie Concepción | Thursday, June 26, 2014

Find Document Errors with InDesign Preflight


Your design is done. It looks great! But when you go to print it, InDesign squawks at you. It’s finding problems that aren’t detectable to the naked eye: overset text, missing fonts, missing links. That’s all fine and good—but why doesn’t InDesign alert you to these issues earlier in the process?

By Robbie Carman | Friday, June 20, 2014

Sony’s New Mirrorless Cameras – the a7 & a7R


Sony has brought a new generation of mirrorless cameras onto the market with their a7 and a7R cameras. The a7 and a7R cameras have a full frame sensors and are comparable in price to other DSLRs on the market, but how can they complement your workflow? This week on Video Gear Weekly, Rich and I will help you get acquainted with these new cameras from Sony, and their unique benefits they can bring to your production.

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