I have to make a confession: I am a creature of habit. Everything in my life is very structured. I do things in a specific way and these habits translate directly into my templates. I often vary things slightly depending on the level, but for the most part, my templates all follow a specific structure.
I always begin by greeting the parents and restating the learning goal. I’ve mentioned this before when writing higher level feedback, and I think it’s important to include in all levels. If the parents only have time to read the first few sentences of your feedback, including the learning goal gives them a quick snapshot of what happened in class. Put the most important information at the front of your feedback. Especially if you write really detailed feedback, parents might not read the whole thing.
Additionally, I personally write the feedback directly to the parents, but there are variations where you write to the student or to both the student and parent. However, I worry it might become confusing in the translation process if you write to too many people.
Some of the parts of class that I think is most important to include are the new vocabulary words and the sentence patterns from class. These are things that the students most likely will need to review or practice at home. In the lower levels, this is a good spot to include any CVC word families like, “-at,” “-am,” and “-ot.”
The next thing I like to include are any readings that the student did. Starting in Level Three, most lessons include a story or informational article which uses the unit vocabulary words. In Level Two, some of the lessons have phonics readers which use the CVC words. After this section, I try to include words that the student should practice reading and saying.
VIPKID lessons teach more than just reading and speaking in English. They also teach actual content like math and science. Unfortunately, if you try to write about everything covered in class, your feedback would be way too long. You do actually have a word limit for how long your feedback can be. I think it’s 2,000 words. Since the focus is learning English, I will give a general overview of the math and science sections without spending too much time it. I might go into more detail if the student struggled in one of these areas, but for the most part, I keep them short.
In lessons five, six, and eleven, the class will introduce the three project options. The student is expected to choose one of the options and complete it as homework. They will present it in lesson twelve during the final assessment.
I always include the three project options in my parent’s feedback as well as explain that it is important the student choses and completes one of the options are homework. This is really important, especially in the lower levels. I find in Level Two, when I go to explain the projects, I get a lot of blank stares. By including detailed directions in the feedback, this helps clarify things and increases the likelihood your student will actually bring a project with them to their final assessment.
Here is a typical explanation of the projects:
At the end of the unit assessment, I reviewed with Boa Boa the three project options for his Unit Twelve Assessment. It is important that he chooses one option and completes it before his Unit Twelve Assessment as homework. His teacher will ask him to present his project at the beginning of the Unit Twelve Assessment. If he does not have his project completed, he will lose points on his assessment.
Here are the three project options:
Option 1: Look at My Family – Find your family photo album. Show photos of all the people in your family.
Option 2: Draw My Family – Draw your mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa. Introduce your family to your teacher.
Option 3: My Bedroom – Take a picture of your bedroom. Tell your teacher the things in your bedroom by pointing at the picture.
The three project options are also described in Bao Bao’s workbook. Please help him choose one project to complete.
If I am running out of time, I will sometimes skip explaining the projects during class and include an explanation in the feedback. This is a good time saving tip if the student works slowly or is late.
I like to save my fee talk for the end of class. Most of the times, I finish with two to three minutes early, so this is a chance for me to talk with my student. I will ask them questions about their day or read a short story with them. I include what we discussed or read at the end of my feedback. If the student told me sometime cool about themselves, I might include that as well:
I enjoyed talking with Bao Bao at the end of class. He told me about his trip to England last summer. He said he studied English there for three weeks. It sounded like a wonderful experience.
Even though I use templates, I still want parents to feel like I am writing individualized feedback about their child. Including details like this helps to make it feel like that.
For my closing, I keep it pretty simple. I always try to end on a positive note and say how many stars the student earned in class. Sometimes, if I feel like class went really well, I might ask for feedback, but I don’t do that very often. I also thank the parent for booking a class with me. If I really like the student, I will say something like, “I enjoyed teaching Bao Bao, and I hope to see him again soon!”
Here is a typical closing for me:
Bao Bao did a wonderful job today, and I enjoyed teaching him! He is a good student and speaks English very well. He earned five stars, and I hope to see him soon! Thanks for an excellent lesson! – Teacher Caryn EU
Teacher Caryn EU
I really hope this post was helpful! you can also take a look at https://www.feedbackpanda.com/learning-to-write-a-new-language-is-hard-part-2/