End of the Year Report Card Comments

It’s that stressful time of year again – lots of you are working on report cards.   I never had to send out report cards in March, in my district Kindergartners always got report cards twice a year, and we had parent/teacher conferences and informal conference reports two times in between.  This year Kindergarten is doing report cards in December, March and June, which puts them in alignment with the rest of our elementary schools.  But since I retired and don’t have to do that I only have comments saved for the middle of the year and the end of the year.  I planned to wait and share them in a few months, but several people have told me they would like to see more comments now.

I had several years worth of comments saved on my computer, and I am sharing many of those with you.  I tried to delete some that sounded just like others, especially for the children who were achieving the benchmarks and doing great – but lots of them are still repetitive.  I decided just to include all of the rest because there might be a phrase or small comment that might trigger just what you would like to say to your parents.

Please remember that our progress report cards were done on the computer and we were only allowed 250 characters for comments, that included spaces and punctuation as well as letters.  We had to be very concise.  I tried to include the child’s strengths as well as areas they still needed to work on – it’s tricky when you are so limited in space.

I hope that reading these might be helpful to you.

End of year comments

Conducting individual one on one assessments, reviewing (and finding!)  all those anecdotal notes that you have scribbled when an incident or inspiration occurs, analyzing each child’s strengths and challenges, reviewing work samples, and synthesizing the information into what parents need to hear, and then writing it all out in a professional but positive tone is an overwhelming job.  And of course we know that these formal report cards are really only one small piece of the process of assessment and parent communication – we are continually evaluating, we write notes on almost everything that goes home, we make phone calls, jot emails, and meet for conferences.  But these pieces of paper are the summation of progress that ends up in each child’s permanent educational file.

Even though you are probably working on 25 or more report cards, each parent scrutinizes only one.  I hope you don’t get too many phone calls!

Report Card Comments

In my school district teachers are working on report cards now, they go home in early December.  That stress helps me remember why I retired.  All the one on one assessment, record keeping, computer glitches – and the comments.  As a parent I would open up my kids’ report cards, skip past all the numbers, letters or check marks and go immediately to the personal remarks.  Of course I would go back and painstakingly review every grade too – but somehow those comments were always what I looked at first.

As a teacher I knew that even though I was working on 25-55 report cards, each parent was reading and rereading just one.  Our report cards were done on the computer and our space for comments was limited to something like 250 characters – including letters, spaces, and punctuation.  It was a real challenge to tell parents what their child was doing well, what he or she needed to work on, and also show parents that you care about their child.

When my own children were growing up they always teased me that there is a special code that all kindergarten teachers use to cloak what they really mean in parent acceptable terms.

For example:

‘Play oriented’ really means ‘can’t get her to sit down and do anything productive’

‘fun loving’ is another way to tell parents about their child’s silly behavior

‘exhuberant’ is code for ‘wild and out of control’

‘shares lots of ideas’ could be defined as ‘won’t stop talking’

I don’t claim to have any special ability to create meaningful, concise, pertinent comments; but I am always happy to share.  Because we did report cards on the computer I always typed my comments on a word document, where I could keep track of the number of characters, then I would copy and paste them into the report card.  That means I have lots of comments saved on my computer.  I always wished I could see what other teachers were writing.  I don’t expect anyone to want to use what I wrote verbatim, but I thought someone might find a phrase here and there that would  be helpful.  Please remember how limited my space was – if I had more room on the report card I would have elaborated a bit more.

These comments were from our midyear report card.  For many years Kindergarten just did report cards in January and June.  When we went to full day Kindergarten we had conferences in October & March, report cards in December, March and June.  My comments on the end of the year report card were different because by then I expected children to have achieved the curriculum goals and developed better work habits.  Please let me know if these are helpful, and if anyone is interested I will share end of year comments too.

Dec comments

I hope the idea of sharing comments doesn’t offend anyone – if you think it’s tacky please don’t click on the link!

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