Monday, September 7, 2015

Back To School Night Tips and Tricks

Hi, Teachers!

Back To School Night is on Thursday night for me, and aside from making a few copies and moving chairs around on the night of, I feel really good because I am done preparing! You can read an old blog post on my thoughts on Back To School Night here, but I've definitely tweaked my plan a few times since writing it.

As I've mentioned before, I'll be running my Back To School Night as I would a typical Morning Meeting in my classroom, an idea I got from the book Parents & Teachers Working Together by Alive Yang and Carol Davis. After we finish the meeting portion, I'll move right into the rest of my presentation. I'm starting this way because I find it to be so important to help parents and families form relationships with each other, and of course, with me! I promise that if you take the plunge and try this, this will really strengthen your classroom community! It may seem daunting at first, but I guarantee it will make for a smooth rest of the year. Want to read more? Check out the book here:



When parents come in, my first slide of my Back To School Night presentation will be rather short. It will simply welcome them and direct them to read the "Morning Message" on my easel. In that message, I'll ask them to make a name tag for themselves, introduce themselves to someone new, find a seat, and jot any burning questions they have about the year on a post-it to stick to the message. I'll have a page on each seat titled "Our Curriculum At a Glance" so that parents can view what we'll be learning about all year while they wait for everyone to arrive. This is not usually what parents have questions about on Back To School Night, so leaving them this paper to take home and read at their leisure gives me more time during my presentation.

Now it's time to start my "Evening Meeting!"

I get so excited and nervous all at once when we start. I briefly explain the purpose of Morning Meeting, share how it strengthens academic and social/emotional skills and go right into my greeting. Here's what I've decided I'll be doing for my Parent Morning Meeting:

  • Greeting: Interview Greeting - people pair up and have them find out their partner's name, the child's name, their relationship to the child (grandmother, father, etc.), and one thing they like to do with their child. I will write these topics on a piece of construction paper so parents can easily remember what they are supposed to talk about. Then people introduce their partner!
  • Share: Whole Group - people will share one thing they like to do besides doing something with their child. They should share this idea in around 1 - 3 words, but anyone is able to pass if they aren't comfortable sharing.
  • Activity: A Warm Wind Blows - I will start by turning my chair around (making it inaccessible to people in the circle) and saying one fact about myself. For example, I might say "I have dogs at home." Everyone else who agrees with that fact (everyone who has a dog at home) would then stand up and find another seat, just like musical chairs. The person who cannot find a chair is the new person to share a fact. It's short, fun, and gets people noticing the commonalities they have.
  • Morning Message: Read Together - We read the message, I answer questions left on the message that I won't get to during the presentation, and answer the rest during my presentation. We should have a really relaxed and comfortable atmosphere by now!
Now, onto the presentation! I've created a clear, succinct, presentation for myself that will be easy-to-follow, and I figured, why not make it easy-to-edit so you can use it too? No sense in a million people doing the same work! It has a fall chalkboard theme, and it's pretty cute if I do say so myself. I love cute graphics, but I think it's important for presentations to be simple. You don't want to overload your parents' eyes! My room's colors are bright blue and bright green, so I picked colors to match my room. However, you could easily change the font or font colors if you wanted to for your presentation. The font I used is free (for personal use), and I cannot say enough positive things about the creator of the fonts. She is really talented! Check out her fonts here.


You can click on the picture above to be taken to this product in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. This Back To School Night PowerPoint Presentation will save you a LOT of time while working on your behalf to build your classroom community among FAMILIES. Building relationships with and among families is just as important as building them with and among your students. All you have to do is simply input relevant information where it is needed to make a fabulous first impression on your students' families.

The slides included are:

  • A Welcome Slide, visible as families filter into your room with directions on what to do as they wait for others to arrive
  • A Morning Meeting Slide, to preview parents for what they will experience in your parent version of a Morning Meeting (you could delete this or edit it to describe Morning Meeting if you run one in your room but would prefer not to start your night this way) 
  • A Teacher Background Slide
  • A Communication Slide
  • A Class Goals Slide
  • A Behavior Management Slide, editable and complete with Responsive Classroom information pre-loaded, including information about consequences, class rules, etc. 
  • A Special Area Class Schedule Slide
  • A Grade-Specific Slide, used to explain special privileges and activities available to students in your grade level
  • A Classroom Information Slide
  • A Homework Policy Slide
  • A Final Slide, giving your parents directions on what to do as they leave your room (ex: volunteering to be a class parent, checking out student work, etc.)
Are you really interested in this product? If so, I suggest putting it on your wish list on Teachers Pay Teachers, because...




Starting tomorrow, I will be throwing a sale in my store! This product will be available for 20% off from September 8th to September 10th! You can use this year after year, and between my blog posts and the notes I put on the PowerPoint slides, you should be able to use this while putting in minimal effort. Our time is previous! Again, if you're not interested in running a Morning Meeting during your Back To School Night, that's OK too! This presentation works either way.

And, of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a FREEBIE, so here is the Curriculum-At-A-Glance form I will be using during my presentation. It's a great resource to use to supplement your presentation. I find parents want to spend more time talking about how your classroom will run than what you'll be teaching. If you give them this form, they will ask you any questions they have. You can download this editable document on my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking on the picture below.


That's all for now! What are you doing for Back To School Night? Comment below!

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like parents have a fun time in your classroom! How long is your Back to School Night Meeting? Our is 20 minutes (2 sessions of 20 minutes each) and I don't think I can fit any fun in. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's at the very least my hope that they will enjoy themselves! :)

      I have about an hour to speak with my parents. That's got to be tough with only 20 minutes. I'd suggest perhaps adjusting and doing a fun sort of greeting or an activity that allows you to get to know them so you can build your community but work within reason with your time constraints. I hope this helps! That's got to be so stressful to fit everything in in 20 minutes! Yikes!!

      Delete