There are many challenging things that come with being a teacher and writing a report card comment has to be one of them. Whenever it's report card time, teachers feel immense pressure about writing original, insightful, and constructive comments on report cards. Writing comments might sound like a simple task to many but only a teacher knows how daunting it can be to compose unique and insightful comments about every single student in your class.
The report comments provide valuable information to the parents about their child's overall performance that’s why they generally take so longs to get completed. If you’re also struggling with writing report card comments, this article will show you how to craft an individualized report card comment for each of your students that parents will actually appreciate receiving. You can tailor your comment to specific children and highlight their strengths and weaknesses and reuse it year after year.
Creating Good Report Card Comments
The comments in the report cards are the best way to reach out to the parents and provide them the valuable feedback about their child’s performance. You can also use comments to indicate a need for improvement and request family support. However, coming with a really good comment and then doing that for a couple of dozen times over for each one of your students can be overwhelming for both new teachers and seasoned teachers alike. Here are some important things to consider while making report card comments:
Comments Should be Based on Facts
Always write comments based on facts, not opinions. Make sure that your comments are based on the real observations of the students and not on the opinions or biases that you have about them. When you write with observations not opinions, you’ll never face difficulty speaking to a parent about the comments you’ve written because all your comments are backed with observations. Besides, there are chances that parents have noticed the same things as you did.
Don’t Blindside the Parent
Nothing that’s written in the report card should come as a surprise to them. Make sure to constantly stay in touch with parents and keep them updated about their child’s performance before the report card comes out. If you’ve been communicating with them properly then they’ll be mentally prepared about what to expect and nothing in the report card would come as a shock.
Your Comments Should Match the Grade
There's nothing more confusing for a parent when you’re singing the praises of how much their child participates in the classwork but then they look over and see really low grades. Make sure that your comments are aligned with the student’s grade.
Never Diagnose the Child
It should go without saying, never, ever diagnose a student as teachers are professional educators, not doctors who can diagnose the difficulty a child is facing. Plus, you can get into legal trouble for doing that. So like I mentioned in point one, your comments should be based on observations rather than opinions.
Creating Template with Word Document
Having a template is the key to making a report card season less stressful and fun. Most school administrators provide teachers with a template that they can use to write comments by just plug in the pronounce and the tidbits for each student. But that’s also really time-consuming as you have to do it one by one. Here is the formula I used to create a template to write personalized comments and it can be reused year after year.
1. Start off with a Positive Comment
2. List Student’s Academic Strengths
3. Set the Grade Level Expectations
4. State the Student’s current performance
5. Write a quick note about the classroom behavior
6. Mention the student’s attendance
7. State your academic plans to help the student going forward in the future.
Before starting I want to mention that we are creating a template so we’ll not use any actual student names or personalized information. It will have a lot of placeholders that will be filled in with Excel to write comments. We’ll use two different colors, for normal sentences we’ll use black and everything that’s red is going to be customized or personalized later with Excel.
NOTE: Please watch the video for a visual of exactly how to follow these steps.
· The first step is writing a positive comment about that student so what you’re going to write in your word document is “student name positive statement”
· The 2nd step is writing the student’s academic strengths. We used our statewide tests to fill this out but you can use whatever your school uses. You can write his strengths in ELA are comprehension of literature and in Math it is geometry.
· Step number three is setting a goals level expectation in which you tell the parents what the student should be able to at this grade level.
· Step five is adding a quick note on student’s classroom behavior.
· Step no six includes a quick mention of student’s attendance
· The last sentence in the comment will mention our plans of how we’ll help that child in the future.
If you've followed the steps above, you’ll have a well-written comment template. Make sure to save it somewhere where you can find it easily because we will use this template in the next YouTube tutorial to quickly create all of your comments for your entire class.