Back to school night?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Gracefullyloved, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Gracefullyloved

    Gracefullyloved New Member

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Trying to prepare for my first back to school night and need a letter to give my parents, what type of info should I put in the letter? ive never done a back to school night and am not even super what the purpose is. Is it to just let the parents come see the room informally? Or should I have a presentation ready? If I need a formal presentation what info should I include? Thanks!
     
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  3. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Look on pinterest/google, there's lots of good inspiration on there.
    In my letter i just put a little background info about myself. I also had the parent questionnaire ready to fill out, volunteer forms, my syllabus/handbook.
    I let kids look at books or do a coloring/scavenger hunt thing
     
  4. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jul 23, 2015

    My letter was always brief (probably 3 paragraphs max). I gave my letter to students on day one (and the bottom portion needed to be signed returned the next day).

    I always told my kiddos that Back-to-School Night was my night and Open House (held in the spring) was their night.

    We (administrators in my district) expect our teachers to prepare a presentation for BTS Night--some teachers use PowerPoint and other use Google Slides. Actually, now that I think about it, I believe a few teachers use Prezi. Anyway, during their presentations, they cover things such as discipline (rules/consequences), homework policy, what to expect their child to bring home each night/week, the units that'll be covered throughout the year (and the standards that those units fit), and testing (in-class quizzes/tests, district benchmark exams, state standardized tests--depending on the grade-level).

    By the time teachers give their presentations, allow ample time for Q&A, and let parents walk around the room, 30-45 minutes have passed pretty darn quickly.

    If you have more specific questions, feel free to send a PM.
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jul 23, 2015

    We have a sneak peek night where the kids who have supplies drop them off and meet the teachers.
     
  6. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I think it may be a CA thing. My sister has lived in two different states (other than CA) and neither has had Back to School Night.
     
  7. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jul 23, 2015

    Check with fellow teachers or admin. All of the schools that I have worked in (in multiple states) had a drop-in style for back to school night.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2015

    Our elementary has one the night before school starts :) I've never done one at the HS though. We just have orientation before school starts.
     
  9. ludoak

    ludoak Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2015

    At my school it is very informal. Parents float in an out. Some want to talk more than others, most just want to see your face and inside the classroom. Parents pick up a packet with supply lists, dress codes, attendance policies, parent/student interest survey, a get to know me activity that the students will complete for the first day. I include a short note introducing myself, tell them my goals for the year, and write all of my contact information.

    Keep in mind that some families may come with multiple younger siblings, and some parents like to stay and talk for a while. I like to sit out coloring pages, or puzzles. Something to keep kids entertained while I talk with parents. Last year I made a scavenger hunt for my students (find your desk, where do we keep the pencils, find a book in the classroom library that interests you etc.)
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 24, 2015

    This is the sort of thing that varies greatly from school to school. We have nothing before school starts, and have a Meet the Teacher Night during the third week of school. Some principals I have worked for have expected a detailed, formal presentation of anywhere from 20-30 minutes; my current P asks us to keep it to less than 10, recognizing that parents likely have more than one classroom to visit.

    Check with your administration about the format of the event and their expectations of you.
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2015

    I'm going to repeat what others have said: check with your admin and other teachers about the expectations.

    We always have an 'open house' night near the end of September. It's 'come and go' style where the kids come with their parents and show them our classroom. I'm there to meet parents and answer any specific questions parents have about my programming. I send home a booklet outlining the curricular expectations and some info on home reading.
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2015

    I just received my back-to-school letter (being the one for staff) and apparently my principal isn't requiring a presentation on back-to-school night; rather, she just wants us to have the letter. To that I'm grateful as past years' nights where we attempt to schedule blocks of time just proved... ignored and the presentations usually wind up being about the same thing as on the letter. Not to mention I feel stupid reading Power Points or what have you.

    So on that note, I'm glad you started this thread as I was pondering ideas on the same matter of the letter.

    Some ideas for the letter (and possibly presentation if you find yourself going that route):
    • Class schedule
    • Your contact information (speaking of which, I recently saw what I thought a brilliant idea was to create a QR code with your information)
    • Discipline policy and behavior expectations
    • A synopsis of learning goals for the year.
    • Class motto/mission statement

    As for you running a back to school night, well, it seems in Utah it really is a here's-the-classroom-I'm-the-teacher-here's-my-policies-any-questions scenario. Really, not much more than a meet-and-greet, though I think the exact spot on the spectrum of formality depends on the individual school. I like them, though. I think they help start the year off on a nice foot.

    Also, have a nice sign-up sheet for parent volunteers.
     

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