By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – We’re going to keep the “Back To School” theme going for one more week because a lot of schools are holding “Back To School Nights” soon.

For many of you, this might be your first chance to really sit down one-on-one with your child’s teacher.

Last week, I told you things you shouldn’t say to them, but today’s “Lauren’s List” focuses on the questions you should be asking your child’s teacher now.

Real World Application

In what ways will my child’s learning be connected to the real world? Education experts Ken Robinson and Ted Dintersmith write in the Washington Post that too often, students don’t see how school assignments relate to their lives outside of school. Ask whether their in-class assignments can be tied to their out-of-school lives.

Assessment Style

How will my child be assessed? Obviously, a letter or number grade is to be expected. So tests and quizzes are likely. But be sure to find out if and how your child’s creative or analytic work will be taken in to account.

Goal Setting

To what extent will my child be setting their own goals? Robinson and Dintersmith write “students who set their own goals can develop a sense of personal agency and responsibility that will serve them well as adults.” If they’re reaching for a goal they set for themselves, they may become more motivated learners.

Standardized Test Prep

How much time will my child spend preparing for and taking standardized tests? The FSA is just a fact of life for many students here in Florida. And yes, teachers must prepare their students for them. Ask how you as a parent can help in preparing for the tests, but also how you can also help make sure all classroom instruction time isn’t spent focusing on this high-stakes assessment.

What else do you plan to discuss with your child’s teacher?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to

Lauren Pastrana


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