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142. How to Facilitate Family Partnerships with Crystal Frommert

by Lindsay Lyons
November 21st 2023
In today's episode with special guest and author/educator Crystal Frommert, Lindsay discusses how exactly you can faci... More
Today on the podcast, we have Crystal from art. She has a master's in education over 20 years experience as an educator and beyond teaching. She has served as an instructional coach, school board member, adjunct college instructor, technology coordinator, and school administrator. She writes for Edutopia independent school management, NAISS independent school magazine and is the author of When Calling Parents? Isn't your calling a teacher's guide to communicating with parents. We'll talk about that book a lot in the episode. Crystal has presented at local national and international conferences on topics ranging from social and emotional learning to technology integration. She currently teaches middle school math in Houston where she lives with her husband, daughter and dog. Let's get to the episode. I'm educational justice coach Lindsay Lyons. And here on the time for teacher podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent, curriculum director, instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nering out about co-creator curriculum of students.

I made this show for you. Here we go, Crystal. From, welcome to the Time for Teachers podcast. Thank you. I'm so glad to be here, Lindsay. I'm so glad that you're here. I, we were just talking before we hit record. I have heard you on other podcasts and I'm so excited that you're on this one and I just would love to know if there's anything on your mind or anything that you want listeners to know about you prior to kind of digging into the conversation today. Sure. Well, um I heard about you through podcasts as well. And when I heard you speaking, I was like, everything Lindsay says is already in my brain and we agree on so much already. And um your interview that you gave, it was the first time I've ever heard the word teacher. And I have heard, you know, I work in an independent school and I've heard of headship. Um but teacher, I love it. I love the whole idea around this is, this is a profession, this is what we do. Um We're passionate about this, but there's also learning involved in this and growing. And so I just love the entire term.

So thank you so much for putting it out there. Yes, absolutely. I totally created it for my brain and then I actually realized it was in the academic literature, like the year before I thought of it. And so I was like, oh, this is like an actual defined term. It was very cool. That's great. It's a good word. I'm gonna use it more. I love it because it's like the intersection of like teachers are leaders. Right. But then also that leaders can't be effective leaders if they're not in the classrooms and connected to what's happening. Instruction. I just love the back and forth. It's right. Right. And it gives me, it, it gives me a feeling of it's not just a job that you go to, right. It's something that you invest your, you're learning into your growth into. Um It's, it's a longevity. It's, it's, there's so much more to it than I work at the school as a teacher. Right? There's, it's a, it's a bigger piece than that. That is so well said, oh, I love it. So I am excited to hear more about kind of what, how that plays out in the work that you do. And specifically, I love this idea of freedom dreaming as a concept. Doctor Bettina love talks about it beautifully when she says their dreams grounded in the critique of injustice.

And so I'm curious to know what is that big dream for you? How does that show up in your work? And what are you striving for? Thank you for asking that. Um I am a, I have a unique position and that I'm a teacher and I'm also an administrator. Um I'm the deputy head of secondary at my school. It is an international school here in Houston. And um, but I have always wanted 1 ft in the classroom always. Um because that's what brings me joy, is, is being an administrator brings me joy. Yes, but not as much as it does when I'm working with my middle schoolers on math and um over the years, um as a teacher, this is, I think I'm starting my 23rd year or something like that. Um I've noticed that I've grown so much in the area of partnering with families and parents and caregivers. Um I have a book out called when calling Parents isn't your calling? But I want to be clear that um that's the title, but I don't mean just parents, right. I know that our kids come from very diverse types of families and families come in all shapes and sizes. So not just parents but caregivers, guardians, aunts, uncles, grandparents.

So, um and you know, when I was a beginning teacher, I was so afraid, frankly, just terrified to talk to parents. Um I thought that they would think I was too young or I didn't know what I was doing or anything. They said I would just go. Yes. Yes. Yes, I'll do it. And it took a lot of time, a lot of years and a lot of great mentors in my life to shape how I am today as a teacher and how I, I see partnering with families. Um again, I'm not perfect at it. I don't think I ever will be and I don't think anyone really is perfect at it because there's so many conversations you can have with families. But um back to your question about injustice and inequity and, you know, I think about every single child in my class um deserves that. I'm going to partner with his or her home family life in some way. Um And, and in the book, I talk about how families come from all ranges of di of, of, of engagement.

Um There's a range of engagement from, I want to volunteer every day in your classroom to, you will never get a reply from me ever. Right. So there's, there's a whole range and no matter what the situation is, it's my job to communicate and be um like a, like the boxing analogy to be in their corner for their kid and I can't be in their corner without them and we need to have their back. Um And that takes me reaching out whether that's phone calls, conferences. Email is great. I know some teachers are texting. I'm, I'm too old for that. I don't, I haven't gotten into the texting, texting parents. Um But, you know, I need to listen to some of my younger colleagues who are more into that. So that, that I hope that answers the question that, that's the, the passion I have for building equity, um, around parent partnerships. I love that. And I love specifically the word of partnership because I think so much we think of communication and that often translates to like a one way communication and partnership to me truly feels like more of the goal. Right. Right. Right. Yeah, because we're, we're a team, we're working together.

Absolutely. And I love the boxing analogy as well. I think that's really good. So as you think about kind of where all of the pieces that make up that kind of process of getting to the goal fits, I often think about a lot of different things that make up education, right. So I think about like the mindset of, of teachers and, and educators more broadly, I think of like how we interact with, with students and then ultimately communicate that with families. I think of how we assess and how we communicate about that and partner around that, how we partner around the content. So a lot of times I think families are experts, right? In, in some of the content that we're teaching and we don't invite that in. And then other times, um you know, families are learning alongside of, of students and even alongside teachers sometimes. And so I think there's so much rich potential to have this conversation around. What is it looked like to partner with families and caretakers because often when I do my work. That's the biggest question. It's like I want to do all this justice centered curriculum. I want to have these discussions that are student led and talking about current events.

And I'm curious to know like, how these different pieces might play a role in what that partnership could look like. Yeah. So, like I said, I work at an international school so I work with students who come from many different countries. I think we have 65 different countries represented at our school. Um And I never ever assume anybody's situation. I, you know, I used to, I'm, I'm getting better at it. I don't assume anymore um about someone's background based off, you know, if their parents were born in a different country or, you know, any of that anymore, because I have worked with such a diverse group of kiddos. Um And I do say kiddos, I know it's a little old fashioned but I do say that um they are my kids. So um in working with families, I, when I, one of the things too is um I work with a lot of caregivers or parents who English is not their first language. And um I've noticed that when I would get emails sometimes from families, um especially when I'm, I, I speak a little bit of Spanish and when I type in Spanish, I'm sure it comes across very harsh and when or very, you know, rudimentary and because I'm not that great at it but when someone's writing me and I get a tone that does not seem friendly or, um, soft, um, I used to go, oh, gosh, like they're mad at me.

And, um, then I would all these assumptions just start pouring into my head, um, which is not going to lead you toward that partner partnership. You're not gonna be able to, to team up with that family if you already think, oh, they're mad at me for whatever reason. Um And so I think that, that it has been a gift for me because I now I just pick up the phone. If I sense any sense of tone in their email, I pick up the phone and sometimes I can hear that they have an accent that's different than mine. And maybe it's because they're typing in a language that's not their, their heritage language. That could be, I'm not gonna assume. But when you hear their voice, no matter what language is their first language or what heritage there, their accent comes from when you hear their voice and they hear my voice there is a connection, even if it's over the phone, there is a connection there. Um And so I truly believe in picking up the phone more often than you want to. I know that making phone calls is not all that fun, but it really can be five minutes and that listening to the tone and being able to answer questions back and forth rather than emailing back and forth.

Really is a, just a tiny step towards a huge, um, growth into, into partnering with for that child. Um, and then after you've established that you can start to, you know, email and, and things if you have a short question or things like that. But I truly believe that first conversation. Let's just, let's get rid of all assumptions. Um, Let's get, let's try to look past any of our implicit biases that we have and let's have that phone conversation. I love a lot of these because I, I also my last four years as a teacher was actually in an international school as well. So same kind of um dynamics and like that tone of like trying on either side to communicate in the language that is not, not our heritage language is really tricky to like, that's like one of the final things I think once you're like learning a language that you kind of are able to do, right? I love that like graciousness and kind of inquiry mindedness to say like, I want to know more and I'm gonna connect with the tone verbally. I, I just love that even if language is, you know, um is a barrier, you need a translator.

I think just being able to hear the tone of someone's voice, even if you don't understand the words is so incredible. And I never thought about that until you just said that. So, thank you. Yeah, it speaks volumes. It really does. Absolutely. Yeah. And so I'm wondering, are there other, you know, mindset shifts or challenges that people I know you were saying, like not wanting to pick up the phone in the first place, but are there other things that sometimes you um find yourself coaching around or helping teachers kind of overcome if there's like an initial kind of hesitation to, to picking up that phone or communicating or partnering? Um My, my best advice that I have for teachers, um whether you've been teaching for one year or 50 years is you're very, and I learned this from someone else. I can't take credit for this. I worked for a really great principal who was very strong in his opinion on this, that your very first communication with a family needs to be positive. Um And I think, and I try to do that every single year. Um uh The first week of school is crazy chaotic madness. But I take the time and sometimes I have to work, you know, a little bit extra hours, but that's ok.

I, I take the time to reach out to all of my middle schoolers, uh parents or families um to welcome them to my class and I don't do a general uh boilerplate email. Um I, I individually write it to each family now, of course, some of it's copy pasted because it's very short and very welcoming and, but I will say something unique about their child in every email. Um Also part of that task is I'm very careful about honorifics. We have a, a student information system si s where we can look up. Are you Mr and Mr, are you doctor and Mrs? You know, that's very important. Um And maybe I'm maybe I lean toward the formal side. Um but I think that's important in the beginning until a family tells me, please call me James. I'm going to call them Doctor Smith or whatever it is. Um because I just, I lean toward that professionality of, of the the formality of that. Um So there's a lot of tasks that I'm doing in that very first communication. One, I'm sending a positive message first thing um within the first few days of school.

Um Secondly, I'm learning about a little bit about their family. Um Do the parents have the same last name? Do they have one parent, things like that? Um And using this information system to get that information. And then I'm also telling that family, I see your child um in two days, I can see a lot about a child. I mean, I know they're only in my class for 45 minutes a day because I teach middle school. But I can say Lindsay is really artistic. She is such a creative mind. I'm, I'm looking forward to working with her in algebra. Um, and how would I know that about Lindsay? Well, I see her doodling or I see her, you know, making her notes. Very beautiful, something like that. Or, you know, Keith is hilarious. I love his jokes and his great sense of humor that he brings to the class. Really. It's one sentence and, um, it really does go so far with that first step of building that partnership with, with the families. Hey, it's Lindsay, just popping in here to tell you what today's episode. Freebie is. Crystal is generously offering a complimentary author, Q and A with a school who does a book study with her book. When calling parents, isn't your calling?

If you're interested, grab her contact information at our blog post, Lindsay, Beth lions.com/blog/one 42. Be sure to let her know that we sent you back to the episode. So much of what you're saying is resonating with me because I actually have a 17 month old at the time of this recording. And so I, when I was in the classroom, it was always as a teacher without being a parent as well. And now being a parent, I just see so much of the daycare interaction. Like we got a journal home the other day because it's his first month in the toddler class. And it was like a little thing, like, as you know, you know, he always points to things and asks this and like wants someone to name it for him. And it's like that one sentence, like everything else was pretty generic and not super generic. But, you know, like enough that I was like, I understand this is probably a copy paste from some sort of list. But I was like that one thing was like, you see him like you, you get it and it makes me think also of this first week of school. I think a lot of times we feel as teachers in, in, you know, trying to cover curriculum or something that we have to just cram in curriculum versus truly using that week to get to know students.

And I'm almost envisioning to like to be able to merge those things. Like I, I'm envisioning like even doing like a a video for so you can get the tone with a student when you're like one on one conferencing or something. And like the student and you were like talking to the family member together on your laptop or something. I mean, there's so many possibilities of how you do it even within the school day in a way that's like this authentic kind of we're building relationship and you can see me interact with your kid kind of thing. I mean, just the potential for what you're saying is astronomical. It's so cool and it doesn't have to be email. Um I've, I've worked with some teachers who will use voice recordings um literally a 32nd, you know, on their phone, they record, you know, hey, Miss Smith, I, I love working with Joey. I'm so glad he's in my class. Um, and that might even be better for some people to send something like that. Um, maybe, maybe I'll try that one year but I or a video or something like that. So it doesn't have to be just an email and email is very quick and very fast. Um, but that's another and I think we got a lot of experience with using multimedia during the pandemic.

Um I, one of the things that I would do is is grab a ipad and the students had to submit all of their work electronically, right? While we were remote learning and I would grade their quizzes or tests or whatever it was with my Apple pencil. Um But I would hit record so they could hear me talking as I'm grading, I would say, oh right here, make sure you watch for a negative. Oh, it looks like you forgot to divide by four here or whatever it was. I don't do that anymore, but I got so much more used to using multimedia during that whole time that now I feel less intimidated by voice recording or email or by video. Yeah. Such such a good point. I, I think that that ability to recognize what we did when we were in like adaptation mode, there's so much that we could still carry over or carry over maybe in like a slightly different way. That would be really cool. Um Also what you just have reminded me of the honorifics. I love that you're really careful about that because I think so many times we especially so my background is in gender women studies. And so like thinking about gender as well for, I mean, even like people with students, but especially with, I think family members as well, like we don't always want to assume gender.

And then so sometimes to not assume gender, we don't use the honorific. And so then we use first names and then it's impersonal or then it's like overly personal. So it's like this really complex thing. And so I love the idea of just using student information system one to kind of research ahead of time. But then also just to be able to ask, you know, if you, if someone's not in the system or, you know, another family member tags along to a conference or something like to just always be careful with those honorifics. I just love that you've named that and I wanna make sure listeners heard it because I think it's brilliant. Yeah. And there's some research that I heard from N pr um reported by N pr that um people of color are less likely to be called by their honorifics, um which we need to be careful about, you know, we need to be careful that we're, we're being equitable in our communication. Um And I use them because I, I lean towards the formal and they, that may not be your school culture. Every school culture is different. Um But just being careful with what matches the school culture. Um I know that uh one of my colleagues will say, you know, good afternoon Garcia family, something like that.

Um Or if there's a hyphenated name, you know, um the Garcia Iverson family, something like that. And that is another way that if you don't know the information and you don't want to make assumptions, then you're addressing just the family by using their last name or their two last names. So there are so many variations of that. That's just a personal preference of mine and it fits the culture of our school. But then again, you gotta really read, read the room and read what your school does. Yeah, I, I think that's such an important point too is like reading the room and the culture of the school. But as you said too, there is like a racial component, there's a, a national or immigration component, there's like a language component, there's all sorts of things that would affect uh individual person's preference to be called an honorific or not. And it's so important to, yeah, read all of that context and then when in doubt, ask, right, like just default to this and you can ask the child if they're old enough, you know, you ask an older child. Um Can you tell me how, how does your, how does your caregiver or your grown up? I like to use the word grown up. How does your grown up like to be addressed?

Um And some will say my mom is very insistent on Doctor Smith, you know, like, ok, got it. Um So if you're not sure you can always follow up with the kid and it, and you learn a little bit more about the kids family when you're asking those questions too. Oh, brilliant. Awesome. So you've shared so many specific actions already. I'm wondering if there are additional things that you have either coached teachers on, written about in your book, done yourself found effective in terms of like specific things that we can do as educators to partner with families. Um I can tell you one, I was an instructional coach and um I can tell you this if you are asking a colleague to read your email because you don't wanna hit send because you think it sounds too harsh. That's your clue right there. It's too harsh. If you automatically want to ask somebody for advice, you know, you already know. Um I had a, a great colleague of mine. He was piping mad um because the parent was sending him some not nice emails too, which first of all that should stop. Let's just get on the phone or let's meet face to face with an administrator if you feel more comfortable with that.

Um And he sent me an email and said before I hit send, could you tell me what you think? I'm like, well, first of all, if you're asking me, you already know, and two, he had like all caps somewhere, some places in his email. I'm like, whoa, ok. No. Um, you're letting your emotions get in the way of a professional email here. Um And so I recommended that he make a phone call or make an appointment with the family. He was not open to that um Because he was so angry, which I completely get his emotions were there and they're very real. Um But I said it's time to loop in an administrator. Um So I would say that if you are feeling threatened in any way, you are feeling like this is a toxic situation that um emailing back and forth is not gonna be productive which most of the time it's not. Um get an administrator. Um I really hope that you work at a school that you have that support um And explain to your administrator. Um I have done this and this and this. I've done XYZ. I really need you to be in the room with me when I'm talking with this family.

Um And I really hope that they, they would support you in that. Um And also, you know, teachers who I would say this is generally advice for teachers who are relatively new to the field that you have the right to leave a situation that is getting aggressive or threatening. Um If it's not being productive, you can say very professionally, you know, um, if you're going to continue to talk to me in that way or if you're going to continue to raise your voice, I'm going to leave the room and that's very professional, but you're also respecting your boundaries. Boundaries are extremely important. Um because partnering with parents doesn't mean that you take verbal abuse. It doesn't mean that you take texts at 11 pm. I've actually gotten texts at 1 a.m. before. Um And I don't respond because I have boundaries and um hopefully the families will respect the fact that I didn't reply as a a clue as to that's not OK. Um And you know, I know some, some teachers give out their cell phones but also have boundaries around that um as well. So that's my advice for, for all teachers actually.

Yeah, that's a really good advice. And I, I imagine like that, that just right, there is another challenge, right? That, that, that we need to overcome is like being able to set those boundaries adhere to those boundaries, right? Like even if you're up at 1 a.m. replying indicates that this is an OK thing to continue, right? So I, I know we've kind of discussed several challenges. Is there any other challenge or what would you say? Might be maybe the biggest challenge in getting to that place of partnership with families. Yeah. Um, you know, in, in the book I offer, um, Senate starters because sometimes when we're calling, um, and, and, you know, I'm, I'm one of those people too. I don't necessarily love phone calls. Right. I, I prefer to text because it's faster and it's simpler and, you know, the phone calls are important and I do sometimes still after this many years of teaching, get a little bit nervous when I have to call when something's not great news. And sometimes that's why we're calling and, and we're not gonna necessarily call. Um you know, you should though, you should call when it's good news, but we're most likely calling when it's not great news.

Um But I offer sent starters um and they are ways to start the conversation to get the conversation flowing to have that back and forth with the parents. Um One of one of them that I can offer right now is sometimes when I was an administrator, not everything was really clear as to what actually happened between two students. So, like, let's say there's a disagreement at lunch. Um No one really witnessed it. And um there's a lot of ambiguity and I think every administrator listening to this and even teacher listening to this has experienced ambiguity in student situations. So I will call and say uh you know, you know, hello, Doctor Smith I wanted to ask you if Amelia told you about what happened at lunch yesterday. Did she share with you what happened? And then you stop talking because I think it's really important as the teacher or administrator sometimes just shut up and listen. Um I know it sounds really direct but just be quiet and maybe, maybe the parent will say, yeah, Amelia came home and told me that her friend poured milk into her pinto beans or you know, yes, this has actually happened to me.

That's um I'm like, really, can you tell me more about that? And I get that, that phrase of, tell me more about that from uh Michael Bungay Stanier. He writes a book called the Coaching Habit. I highly recommend the coaching habit book. It's short, it's sweet. It's great for every profession, not just for teachers, everybody, but tell me more about that. Tell me more. And when you do that with a kid, when you do that with a colleague, you do that with structural coaching, you do that with a parent, then it opens up that communication. So I highly recommend the phrase. Tell me more about that. And then I can say, hm, you know, you've given me a lot of good information. I'm gonna make some other phone calls about what happened with the milk and the pinto beans. And um I will get back to you. I'll follow up with you because you're not committing yourself to anything, right? Um So I would say just keeping that, like you said earlier in the episode of that curiosity mindset of, you know, I really don't know what went on. And even if you do know what went on, you know, that this kid hit another kid, something like that, ask the kid, tell me what happened, tell me what's going on.

Um, ask the parent, you know, is something going on at home? Anything, anything you want to share to help us partner together? Um And it's just keeping that tone. Um and the center starters help if you're nervous with getting, getting going with those. I love the sentence starters. I think those will be really helpful because sometimes it's just the blank email template or the blank just mind as you pick up the phone and you're, I don't know where this is gonna go. Please let voicemail pick up, please let me pick up. Yes. And, and it's interesting, some of the things you're saying too, I think about restorative practices and restorative conferences. Like we would often think about using them with students. But I think there's also this idea when I was trained in restorative conversations. It was you also invite the student to bring an advocate whether that's a peer or an adult. And it, it almost just feels like not even like maybe pre previewing that conversation or preliminarily just reaching out, but it almost feels like the same kind of vibe of like we are engaging with families as an advocate of their child knowing they're going to be an advocate for their child, of course, and we have that sense of curiosity that's going to kind of have almost like an asynchronous restorative conversation with different groups of people.

I think it's really cool. I, I love that whole idea of bringing an advocate in and, and restorative consequences and all of that. Um And it's so important that we convey that message that we are on your child's side. Yes, your child has consequences because we are on their side, right? And that the the parents most likely 90% of the time will be on board with that. Um I can tell you an example. I was talking to a, a dad, his daughter cheated on a test and um she is not the 1st 7th grader I've ever known in my life to cheat, you know, news splash and the dad was, it was his oldest child and he was just worried beyond belief about. Is, is this a red flag? Should we be worried about her? Is she a bad kid? I mean, all these things that the a parent rightly so will go through the emotions. And part of my job as an administrator is to say through my experience, no, this is not a red flag. She did something that she knew it wasn't right. She's going to have consequences. We're going to help her learn from this. But please don't worry as a parent. Right. Um, and that is our job, like we're gonna work together and we're gonna get her through this and, you know, seventh graders do odd things sometimes and it's, it's normal, developmentally normal.

So I love the reassurance in that. I just think as, you know, as a parent, that's exactly how I would want someone to respond to something that my child did. Right. And so I think having previously taught without that parent hat on, I, I think sometimes that's hard to get to. But if you could just kind of train your mind to be like, if I were a parent, if I'm not, you know, like, what would you want or even just you personally doing something we've all messed up, right? And I mess up regularly in front of students. So it's like, you know, how do we want people to treat us and give us the benefit of the doubt? Um That's, oh, beautiful. So I think we've talked about a ton of different things that people can do. I'm wondering especially if there's either someone new to either teaching or maybe new to an administrator role, like helping to facilitate those conversations and partnerships with families. What is the starting point? Like, what would you encourage listeners to do once they end the episode as like kind of a first go at this and building that foundation? Well, I I have two answers to that. Uh One I worked with the administrator who he led a PD.

This was years ago, he led a PD session where he had us write down on a piece of paper, something that we did that was really dumb in seventh grade or eighth grade. And of course he was not going to collect these, these were all confidential. But man, I had a list of things that I had done and it really reset all of it, whether we're parents or not, it reset our mind shift of like, yeah, we are gonna do some really dumb stuff and their prefrontal cortex is not developed. So of course, they're gonna make odd choices. Um And so it gives us an empathy, not that we're excusing the behavior or not giving consequences, but we have an empathy toward, you know, why when we ask 1/7 grader, I, I pick on seventh graders but it's mostly middle schoolers. But why did you throw that across the room? And they say, I don't know if they truly don't know, they truly don't. So it it that exercise, I would say administrators do that don't collect the data, let them throw it away, but just have them just reflect on something dumb you did when you were a teenager or a Tween. Um And then the, the other part for, for taking away for, for teachers is, you know, be more mindful about when is this an email?

And when is this a phone call and try your best to make a little bit more phone calls this school year, not every single one has to be because that's, that's overwhelming. But try your best to just lean into that a little bit more this school year. Um, and then also, um, do your best to try to send a happy note, um, to every single child in your, to the family of every single child in your classroom. Um I have, you know, have a roster and I make a little tick mark. Every time I send a happy note, it will make your day better. It makes the family stay better and encourages the child. Um because we tend to call or email about problems or superstar Children. But remember the Children who are in the middle of all of that, um who their families may not hear from you very much. So, really make an effort towards that. Those are my two pieces of advice. Oh, that's so good. And it, it makes me think about one thing that I used to use, not quite sentence starters but just kind of a vocabulary bank. Almost. Um positive psychologist came up with the values in action website.

And so there's like, I don't know, 27 character traits or values or whatever. And so I would just put those up in posters and then I would literally look and be like, OK, I have to think of something for the student like, oh definitely that character strength they demonstrated this week and this is how it like helps you fill in the gaps again. If you have that mind is blanking moment as you're trying to write. Um So yeah, having that list. Yes, I will. I can link it in the show notes that I was, I would, that would be so helpful. Yes. Awesome. So this next question is something that I have been asking and it has been a joy to hear people's answer. So totally for fun can be related to what you do for work but also can be very not related. So what is something that you have been learning about lately? Something I've been learning about lately is probably what a lot of educators are learning about is chat GP T and um I always say it wrong. That's why I say it slow. I have a teenage daughter who corrects me every time I say it wrong. Um So I, I'm trying to learn about that because it's a tool that we have to accept us here. Um And I use the word tool because it is very helpful.

Um I think we all have used it to help just craft some kind of writing of some kind but helping students see how it's a tool and not a replacement for your actual intellectual work. Um So I've been trying to read a lot about A I and what we can do to assess students true intellectual work rather than what they're generating with a prompt. I maybe I'm scratching the surface on what I know about it. Um But I'm trying to wrap my head around it the best I can. That's really cool. And I have been thinking about this too from the standpoint of assessment. It's just like, how do we assess? Right? Like maybe we change how we assess. So instead of responding to a prompt with an answer, I want you to create something like I want you to create a model of something, some concept or whatever, right? And so I think the possibilities are endless. And I think interestingly, I've never thought about this until our conversation. But maybe families also play a role in helping one to understand the context of like, what do I look for when I'm home and my student is completing their homework or doing this essay or whatever? But also like, what creative ways could we assess your child?

Because I think that would be really neat for them to weigh in on the skill set that child has or how they make sense of things at home, right? And then bring that into class. So, oh, that just makes me think of a million ideas. That would be a great like parent survey question. Yeah. To, to ask like, what do you want me to know about your child? And do you have ideas for how, how they can shine and, and show me what they know? Yeah. Oh, that's good. I hope listeners write that one down. That was good. And then finally, because so where can listeners learn more about you connect with you online? Get your book. Yeah. Yeah, thanks. Um So I have a website. It's uh Crystal frommer.com and my last name is Fromme RT. I'm also on Twitter at Mrs Frommer. Uh It's Mrs underscore Frommer and then you can also find me on linkedin. Um Those are the, the pages that I'm most frequently on. Um So yeah, reach out and look at the book, look at some of my portfolio I've written for Edutopia, things like that. So I'd love to have a conversation. Amazing. Thank you so much for joining us today. This is a fun episode. Super fun. Thank you. If you like this episode, I bet you'll be just as jazz as I am about my coaching program for increasing student led discussions in your school, Shane, Sapir and Jamila Dugan talk about a pedagogy of student voice in their book Street Data.

They say students should be talking for 75% of class time. Do students in your school talk for 75% of each class period? I would love for you to walk into any classroom in your community and see this in action. If you're smiling to yourself as you listen right now, grab 20 minutes on my calendar. It's a brainstorm how I can help you make this big dream a reality. I'll help you build a comprehensive plan from full day trainings and discussion protocols like circle and Socratic seminar to follow classroom visits where I can plan witness and debrief discussion based lessons with your teachers. Sign up for a nerdy no strings attached to brainstorm. Call at Lindsay, Beth clients.com/contact. Until next time, leaders think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the Teach Better Podcast network. Better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better.com/podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

142. How to Facilitate Family Partnerships with Crystal Frommert
142. How to Facilitate Family Partnerships with Crystal Frommert
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