Parent Teacher Conferences

I promised in the previous report card entry that I would write about parent-teacher conferences or PTC’s as some parents, teachers, and school administrators call them.

Here are some tips for parents in order to use their time efficiently while meeting with their children’s teachers.

1. Go To The Conference – I know that might sound silly, but the plain truth is that most parents don’t bother to go the meetings. Your child’s education is worth the hour or two it takes to attend a parent-teacher conference. It’s also true that most of the parents that do attend are the ones who least need to be there because their children tend to do better academically and behaviorally. However, all parents should attend, even those whose children are excelling in every area if no other reason than to provide positive reinforcement to the kids and to show support for the teaches. Also, you might find out that there are things the kids could improve upon that you didn’t even know were problems.

2. Be Prepared – Teachers will naturally have a list of specifics to discuss for each child. Parents should also come prepared with topics they would like to cover in the meeting.

3. Be Considerate Of Other Parents – If it seems like the discussions of your child’s issues could become in depth, use the original PTC as an introductory meeting and make plans for a longer session at a later time in which you can meet with that teacher or multiple teachers at one time when other parents aren’t lingering outside the door waiting for their turn.

4. Be Respectful, But Not Intimidated – Some parents, especially those that haven’t been in school or classroom in a while, can get overwhelmed with memories of their own bad experiences in school and suddenly get tongue-tied as if they were errant schoolchildren who didn’t do their homework! If this happens to you, relax and remember that you and the teacher on the same side – working for what’s best for your child.

Dunkin Donuts Gingerbread Cookies Review

Longtime readers might remember my (too long neglected) Is It Worth It category in which I do consumer reviews on items and companies. Two very popular entries in that series were reviews of the Dunkin Donuts Flatbread Sandwiches and their lower calorie cousins, the DD Smart Flatbread Sandwiches. As detailed in the original entries, the sandwiches I had tried earned my WORTH IT rating. Just talking about those sandwiches makes me want to get one!

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the new Dunkin Donuts Gingerbread Cookies.

First, let’s look at the positive points about the cookies.

– They are nicely shaped as gingerbread men.
– They are a large size.
– The decorative icing is placed well.
– The cookies were soft with a good consistency.

With all those compliments, you might be wondering what I didn’t like about the gingerbread cookies.

It was the most important criterion – the taste – or more accurately, the lack thereof. I purchased two cookies and neither one had any taste at all! They were completely bland I know it’s a cliché, but they tasted like cardboard.

I immediately wondered if they had actually put any ginger, cinnamon, or other spices in the mix! I also would have expected the cookie to at least taste sweet considering the sugar in the cookie dough as well as in the icing.

I was so disappointed in them. Without any taste, there was just no point in eating them. Unless I somehow had cookies from a bad batch (which I doubt since I have always found the taste of DD items to be amazingly consistent among locations and over time), I don’t know how they ever made it through the extensive product testing process.

Overall, I think these gingerbread cookies would make cute decorations for the Christmas tree or cute accessories as part of a holiday table display. However, they fall far short of a tasty holiday treat.

Dunkin Donuts Gingerbread Cookies – NOT WORTH IT

Family Thanksgiving Travel Plans

Familiy Travel At Thanksgiving

As we approach the Thanksgiving weekend, which is traditionally the busiest travel time of the year, I’m wondering if you have firmed up your travel plans.

With all the recent news about the airline industry, I wonder if some people will really think twice before they purchase flights and make other travel arrangements. It seems unlikely at this late stage that people will actually opt for alternate transportation simply over the TSA screening process issues.

There are challenges no mater how one chooses to travel with kids. Whether by car or plane, one good tip is to always have ways to keep the kids occupied.

Older kids and teens are overly addicted to electronic devices so they will probably bring their own entertainment with them. The problem here will be getting the kids to put down the electronics and interact with the family.

For younger kids, though, it is up to the parents to plan ahead and divert the kids from the hassles of travel to family activities.

Here are some ideas:

1) Many board games come in travel sizes and are perfect for fitting on airplane tray tables.

2) Verbal word games such as the license plate game and its many variations work well with younger kids. You can choose a state and then scan license plates on the highway until you find a car from that state. A more imaginative license plate game is for one person to read the letters on a plate and have the other person make up a word of phrase that fits the letters. (This is best done using the first two letters as one letters is too easy and three might be too challenging.)

3) Another game that works well in a bus station or airport is to decide on an item such as a red pocketbook or a green hat and then have the kids scan the crowd until they find someone with the requested item.

Student Report Cards

Can it really be that time of the year again when kids are bringing home report cards?

Doesn’t it seem like parents just got through Halloween and are already getting requests for wanted Christmas toys? We haven’t even mentioned that we are little more than a week away from Thanksgiving. Somewhere in there, it’s time for report cards as well as parent-teacher conferences which we will discuss in a future entry.

Here are some tips for parents in how to approach report cards.

1. Review the report card first by yourself when you have to look it over and absorb the information. A quick glance while you’re watching TV doesn’t cut it.

2. Sit down with your child to go over and discuss the actual grades as well as written comments from the teachers. Ask the child to to give his or her opinions of why particular comments were made about him or her.

3. Ask the child for a self-evaluation as well. Ask what he or she is proud of on the report card as well as what he or she would like to improve on for the next grading period.

4. Have the child come up with an action plan to reach the goals discussed in step 3.