Use A Template To Write Report Card Comments
In Episode 24, of Rockin’ This Teacher Thing…
Report card comments can be a huge undertaking. But with the help of a simple template you can be done quickly. Parents are going to love these comments. You are going to be done writing report card comments in record time.
Teacher Resource Recommendations From This Episode
Top 3 Tips From Today's Episode
- Use a template to guide your comments. You don’t have to reinvent each report card comment.
- Stay positive and give solutions for how you are addressing students issues.
- Use a google doc or word to scribe your comments. Use this doc to add comments in the future. Address past issues in new comments and tell about progress.
Listen Here -Transcript Found Below-
Follow Our Host: Angie Kantorowicz
Transcript- Not Perfect - But Useful
Hey teacher friends, this is Angie and the Rockin’ This Teacher Thing Podcast Show the podcast for early primary teachers that rock their classrooms every day. Teach your friend, it’s report card time, and you are set with the task of writing out report card comments. This might seem like a huge undertaking, but with today’s tips, and tricks and templates, you will be done with report cards in no time. Knowing what to say and how to say it can mean the difference between having an upset parent or a parent who thinks you’re a rockstar, which you are. So let’s start rockin’ today’s episode. Are you ready? Here we go.
[00:00:53] Hello, your friends. It’s that time of year again, time for the first round of report cards. And with that task comes the sometimes daunting, task of, writing out report card comments. And especially if you’re a first-year teacher, oh, heck, let’s just face it, no matter what, sitting down to a blank computer screen and thinking, okay, what am I going to say about the student?
[00:01:24] It’s it can be frustrating. You can get writer’s block. How many people can get writer’s block out there? I, I can. And so today I’m going to share with you a few little tips and a template that works really great, that you can just kind of fill in the blanks, customize it to each student. So that it’s unique enough, but you don’t have to just reinvent the wheel every time you sit down to each new student.
[00:01:54] All right? So report card comments, they can be taken wrong. Parents, I’ve had it happen. It’s like parents say, what did you mean by this? And you think. Well, I meant really nothing by it. In fact, I meant it as a flattery, but obviously that’s not how it came across. So you can strengthen those relationships with parents and students with your report card comments, or they can get ripped down pretty easy.
[00:02:24] So today let’s make sure that not only is this task going to be quick and easy for you, which you deserve. But also, a vehicle for positive communication with parents and students. Okay?
[00:02:40] So we will get to that, but first. Like I always do. I just want to encourage you. You are doing a great job.
[00:02:49] And with the extra stresses of report cards and, elections, this podcast will come out on election day 2020. The holidays are coming up. The weather’s changing, everything can feel super overwhelming.
[00:03:06] And I just want to tell you, that you’re awesome. And that saying yes to yourself is a good thing. And if it means saying no to something else that you’ve been doing for a long time, or that you feel obligated to do, it’s okay to say “no”, because you’re more important than that thing.
[00:03:26] Okay. So for instance, I used to spend a lot of time at school, on the weekends, getting ready for the week ahead. And one of the tasks that I used to do is go in early on a Saturday morning, so I could have the copy machine all to myself and the teacher work room all to myself and I could spread out and kind of get organized.
[00:03:50] It helped me through my week, but you know what it did, it took away my weekend. It, took away some of my sleep and my rest. So find something in your life that is taking away your rest and your joy and try and rethink it. So for that instance that I would do, on the weekend, what I needed to do was rethink how to serve my students without standing at the copier at 6:00 AM on a Saturday morning.
[00:04:24] And I was thinking about that for you. And today, I would like to offer you just right upfront in this podcast, a game, from my Early Finisher Solution Course, some of you have signed up for that course and you got in on the really cheap price of nine 9.97. Good job. And every time I add resources, which is, on November 1st.
[00:04:53] So the price is going to go up to, 12.97. Which is still a screaming deal. But anyway, I want to give you one of those games, that’s in the November pack for free and it’s called “Move It Like A Turkey”. And it’s an initial sound game where students spin a spinner. Look at the initial sound, find the picture up above that’s the initial sound.
[00:05:19] And then above the picture is a Turkey and he is doing a yoga move and it is so dang cute. And so then the students are asked to do the yoga move of the Turkey that is the initial sound.
[00:05:36] And there’s 18 pages to this, nine color, nine black and white. So really nine printables. Slip it into a page protector teacher friend.
[00:05:47] Then you are done. That game can be used again and again, and again, slip one into a page protector, go in one way and then get another initial sound. And slip it in the other side, then you have two games right there.
[00:06:04] That’s going to keep your students busy and moving and happy and doing skills, all through November. And all you have to do is copy at once and they get to do it again. And again, and again, you don’t have to copy 10 initial sound practices. You just have to copy it once and they’re having fun and no prep for you.
[00:06:26] Okay, so please grab that. I will make it available at makingthebasicsfun.com under today’s podcast post, and you can get it there. I’ll make a big old picture and just click it, get signed up. I’ll send it right to your email inbox. Right? So be good to yourselves. Say, “no” to the things that are consuming you and taking away your joy and say, yes, rethink some things, rethink how you want to serve your students or even your family, because you need to take care of yourself and think about the things that bring you joy and pursue those.
[00:07:11] All right. You’re amazing. The world needs you because right now, you’re keeping the world together and let’s not, let’s not forget that you’re, you’re an essential worker and I love you. And if you need any encouragement, also leave a comment on that page and, or email me Angelak@makingthebasicsfun.com.
[00:07:38] And I would love to give you some encouragement because I think you’re a rock star. All right. Let’s move on to report card comments.
[00:07:49] Report card comments, like I said, have you ever just sat down and sat at the blank screen and you have a certain little someone in mind and you think I can not think of one thing to say about this kid. And it makes you feel like so frustrated and defeated. And the problem is, is that you don’t have. A template or a structure to put your ideas around.
[00:08:15] Sometimes if you just start writing, then it will go quickly. And so today at the end, I’m going to give you like a word for word way to get your report cards done. Like an actual template that you’re just going to put in a few of your own words and shebang it’ll be done. Ooh. All right. So.
[00:08:40] First of all, let’s go ahead and I’m going to read a few comments from, past years that I’ve done for students. And I want you to see any, patterns that you might hear, in the comments and also start getting just a feel for how maybe you can word your comments. Okay. So let me go ahead and grab this. And now I won’t use the student’s name of course, because that would be not good.
[00:09:15] But, let me just go ahead and, read some of these to you. Now, here was a little learner that she was a very, she was an easy student. She was academically right on where she needed to be. She, she was one of them and sometimes those are the students that you have the hardest time with, finding things to talk about, but I’ll, I’ll call her, I don’t know Katie, and here’s how it goes.
[00:09:44] I’m enjoying watching Katie grow as a learner. She has a lovely attitude towards learning and life. She is a conscientious. And she is sorry. She is conscientious and always does her best. She does a great job of getting along with her classmates and is always so compassionate towards all. Since she already knows most of her sight words, she is working on reading fluency and comprehension. Continued nightly practice with reading and spelling words will help to ensure her academic growth we’re working on developing number sense and how addition and subtraction facts are related. Keep up the good work, Katie. All right. So there was an example of somebody who was an easy little learner.
[00:10:36] All right now, let’s go ahead and get somebody who was maybe a little bit, needed some. Some help. And I’ll, I’ll call this person Katie too, but different person. Okay. I am joined. I am enjoying watching Katie grow as learner. Again, this year. I had this student twice. Some of, sometimes I looped with my students.
[00:11:01] I loved it. She is always quick with a smile and a hug. We are developing strategies for her to, to identify and verbalize her frustrations in an appropriate matter. Sorry, manner. Katie continues to work on her reading skills. She has made some great progress so far this year. She continues to learn her letter sounds and is always working on sounding out words and spelling the words.
[00:11:28] We will continue to work on reading short books. We are working also on fine motor skills. We are also working on letter formation and proportion. In math we’re working on developing number and basic addition and subtraction concepts. Katie keep up the good work.
[00:11:48] So you could see that one was a little bit different. Okay. Here’s one more. Let’s do one for somebody who was struggling a little bit, but not so much kind of a middle of the road person. How about this one? I’ll call him Andy. How’s that I am enjoy watching Andy grow as a learner again, this year. He’s always quick with a smile and a hug. So see, that’s a little bit the same. Andy continues to work on his reading skills. He’s made great progress so far this year, he continues to learn his letters and his sounds, he’s also working on sending out words and spelling words. You know what, in hindsight, this is about the same level as the little Katie who struggled a little bit.
[00:12:43] So can you see how this comment is a lot like hers? Yeah. It is we’ll continue working on reading short books and working on our fine motor skills as well as correct pencil, pressure and letter formation. Keep up the good work, Andy.
[00:13:05] All right. let’s get a middle of the road learner. here we go.
[00:13:12] We’ll do, we’ll use the word Katie again. but she was kind of middle of the road. I’m in joined, watching Katie grow into first grade. She’s doing a great job of learning first grade routines and expectations. She does a great job of remembering to raise her hand during class discussions. Because this little gal, Sheila, she was a little talker.
[00:13:35] So I wanted to reinforce that she’s working on giving her full attention. During whole group instruction times as well as doing her work neat and complete. She’s doing a great job of learning her sight words and continues to become a more fluent reader. Nightly practice with reading and spelling words will help to ensure her academic growth we’re working on developing number sense and how addition and subtraction facts are related.
[00:14:01] Katie, keep up the good work.
[00:14:04] All right. So you kind of see how these things, are you starting to see a little bit of a pattern here? So basically I start every report card sentence, the same, except the kid’s name changes. And then I go into something that I notice about them. It might be that they’re thoughtful, artistic, a leader.
[00:14:32] Quick with a hug and a smile. Maybe they’re, you know, affectionate. Maybe if they’re quiet, then I would say something like they’re, introspective or something like that to kind of draw attention to some of their, their strengths. All right. And then I go into something that they are working on that maybe is a bit of a deficit.
[00:14:55] But I always talk about how we’re addressing that in class and then how the parent can address it. All right. Here’s another one. it’s a little guy. So I’ll use Andy again. I am joy. I am enjoying watching andy grow as a learner this year, he is a thoughtful artistic young man and always has a great idea or story to tell.
[00:15:22] So that, that sentence is for like the little guys that say you’re in the middle of some discussion and they always have a story. Right. And which is good because it shows you that they’re connecting what you’re saying to something in their life. That’s actually a really great thing. I love his ability to get along with his classmates.
[00:15:44] So that’s one thing I always like to kind of concentrate on, especially kindergarten and first grade, how’re their personal skills. And if they’re not doing good with that? I would say, Andy continues to work on interacting with his classmates in appropriate manner. One way we are doing this is to let people know when or.
[00:16:10] What I would probably say is Andy is working on letting his classmates know when he is frustrated and angry. And he is walking away from situations that are troublesome to him or something like that. All right. And this guy, this little guy was so sweet. And so I really wanted to emphasize this, and it was important to his family.
[00:16:35] He always has a kind word to share, because he always did. Andy is working on completing his work in a timely manner. Cause he was kind of unsure of himself. So he was always kind of the last one done. So I wanted to address that. At times it gets caught up in other activities that distract him from the task at hand.
[00:16:55] And, and that, that was because he was just feeling unsure of himself. And if he felt himself, if he got distracted, Then he wouldn’t have to be accountable to his task. How many of us can, how many of us can relate to that? I can. We’re working together to find strategies for training our brain to finish an activity within allotted time.
[00:17:17] He’s doing a great job of learning his sight words and proving his reading fluency, keep reading at home. All right. So there’s some. Report card comments that I’ve written in the past. Let’s get into a template that you can use, that’s a lot like that right there that you can use for yourself. Okay. So get out a piece of paper and a pencil, and if you’re walking or jogging or in your car, don’t do that.
[00:17:47] It’ll be there. I’ll put this in the description. Of the podcast. All right. I’ll, I’ll put this little outline so you can just pop on over and see that. So I would start with, I am enjoying watching insert student name grow as a learner this year, or some sort of positive, um,introduction that you can use for any student this first time around.
[00:18:15] I think that’s a great sentence. All right. And then here, she, and then this is the part where you’re going to tell about. To one or two positive attributes that you have observed. So he is very kind and quick with a smile. She is creative and always thinking of interesting things to do. All right.
[00:18:41] Something like that. This is so important because when, when you start off with something positive, it’s like a positivity sandwich. When you start off with something positive, then when you go into something that the student needs as a deficit or a skill you’re working on with the student, it’s not as sharp.
[00:19:04] Right. And the parents are going to remember the first thing you tell them. And they’re going to remember the last thing you tell them, but it’s also important to let them know some things that they’re working on, which you’ll push put in the middle. So again, he or she is, and then you do something positive and then get right into the, the thing that they’re working on.
[00:19:31] So I am helping Andy improve on. Sight word fluency by practicing his sight words daily and revisiting past learned sight words. All right. So see what you’re doing is you’re giving them the thing that they’re kind of not doing so great on, and you’re telling the parents what you’re doing to help that student grow.
[00:19:58] All right. And then. You can say, we’ll continue to work on practicing our sites, words. every day added work at home would benefit Andy as well. And so give the parents something that they can do at home to help. Even if the student is a really great student, always the parents, something they can do at home.
[00:20:24] And. The sentence that you should give them at the end is something like a, a hope sentence. as what I think of it is, and it’s something like so that their academic, skills can accelerate. All right. Or, at the end of the quarter or end of the year, you’d be like, she will be very ready for second grade.
[00:20:51] All right. So kind of a vision sentence right there. and then I always. End with something, a blanket sentence, like as a class, we are working on our fact families and how addition and subtraction are related. it seems like in kindergarten and first grade, that first quarter, especially, we’re really concentrating on the reading skills, in the classroom and seems like everything else kind of is just secondary, but I always like to mention.
[00:21:22] The math concepts that we’re going to be, learning because it just, it lets the parents know it’s not just all about reading, but it’s about. Your, your child as a whole person and about their skills in reading and about math. And then again, I appreciate your student always end with another positive comment, directed totally towards the student.
[00:21:48] You know, Andy. Good job. Keep up the good work. Your hard work is paying off. Andy. I know that you’re practicing your sight words and I can see your progress. Good job. So that barrier, last sentence, say something directly to them. All right. So that’s a little bit, a bit of a template. Again. I will put that all in the description so that you have a visual and you can just kinda just cut and paste and put your own thing in.
[00:22:18] Okay. I know that will help because just having a little bit of a framework, a template to work off of is going to give you some sort of starting point for yourself. Remember, keep it positive. When you’re telling the parents of a deficit, always, always, always relate to them how you are working in the classroom too.
[00:22:42] Improve that student’s skillset and how they can help at home so that they don’t just walk away thinking, well, this is hopeless. All right. No, here’s, here’s where they need help. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s how you, as a parent can help as well. All right, parents love that because they come away with some hope.
[00:23:05] They come away with a plan and you’ve stated that that child needs some help in this area. And this is how you are helping them. Okay, teacher friends. I am so glad that you’re here today. Okay. One more tip is I learned the really hard way when you’re writing out your comments, always write it in like a Google doc or a Microsoft word or some someplace other than.
[00:23:36] The student data system, because I cannot tell you how many times I have lost comments and had to rewrite them when I just type them right into the system. write them, do yourself a favor, write a minute doc and or a Microsoft word. And then what I used to do. Is then in quarter two, I would have that students comment from quarter one and I would just type right underneath it and readdress what progress I mentioned in the previous quarter.
[00:24:10] So if in the previous, previous quarter, I talked about how they need a practice with sight words. Then in the second quarter, I would say, you know, at the beginning of the second quarter they knew 12 sight words, and now they know 62 sight words. And so just a connection, continuing on with the conversation of the student’s progress.
[00:24:34] And when you do it in a Google doc or a Microsoft word document, It’s easy to see. Oh, what did I say before? Oh, okay. I need to readdress that and tell about the progress. Okay. Parents will appreciate that as well. Plus if the, the crazy. Demon report card demons hack their way into that system of the dude of the student data thing.
[00:25:03] Oh, you are covered. You are okay. You don’t have to go back and rethink what you said about that student. All right.
[00:25:13] Okay. Let’s wrap this up today. You are walking away with some examples on what you can say for report card comments. You have a template. To quickly write amazing and truthful comments to parents.
[00:25:28] And they’re going to love those. You have a pro tip to make sure that you write those comments in a Google doc and to use that Google doc all throughout the year, addressing issues from the previous quarter. And you. Also have the opportunity to take advantage of a free game. I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast.
[00:25:53] So your November is off to a great start. You have some tools in your teacher toolbox and you are ready to rock your teacher thing. All right?
[00:26:07] Teach a friend keep being your amazing self. You are a gift and a beautiful force in this world, be good to yourself. Remember to rest. I love you. And I’ll see you in two more weeks with more rocking this teacher thing.
[00:26:25] God bless and bye bye.