Does your school host a back-to-school night for parents? If so, what you do with parents to excite them about the learning their children will experience throughout the year?
Some of the ideas I came up with are:
--Show a video/slide show/presentation or other media
--Host a Q&A session
--Conduct a hands-on activity
--Talk about planned student projects
--Meet with parents one-on-one
--Invite students to attend with their parents
--Display student work
I've organized a bit of a formal poll about this using Survey Monkey.
Please take the poll if you'd like, and share your other thoughts and ideas here.
You have started a list of good ideas. You may find some additional, helpful information from two other Community Hub discussions--
I hope you will share the results of your poll as people respond to your question.
Thanks so much for suggesting these discussions, I guess I missed them before, and I'm just now in "back-to-school night" mode! There are some great ideas there, which I will re-share here.
And I do hope people will take my poll, becuase I'm curious to know what people are actually doing and what they think the most effective activities are.
Thanks again to Linda for pointing me toward the other discussion. Here are some of my favorite ideas from that discussion:
"Last year our teachers used their Promethean boards to demonstrate interactives that the kids create and use in their centers, and then parents were given the opportunity to use the board to leave messages for our kids for the following morning. It was nice to show how the technology is integrated into the curriculum, and the parents got a brief, simple, but hands-on experience using it, instead of just passively watching someone else use it."
"How about putting together a Prezi to showcase the upcoming year in your classroom? The Prezi might summarize the teacher expectations of students, levels of achievement to be established that academic year, a short-fun video about kids or teaching, photos of students working in class or at recess..." (Karen Horn)
I'm glad you found suggestions from the other discussions that you liked. You had a good idea in re-sharing your favorites in this discussion and giving credit to the authors. That helps others stay informed about the great resources and personal experiences members are posting regarding specific educational topics such as back-to-school night.
Keep up the good work!
A few more ideas I thought of since starting this dicussion...
What about offering some snacks? Finger food is always a great way to put folks in a good mood and make them feel comfortable. Perhaps you could have younger students create academic-themed treats, for example globe-shaped cookies, a map cake, or some sweets from a country they are studying in class. Or, you could invite parents to bring a small snack representing their cultures to get a taste of the different backgrounds represented by students' families.
Another idea might be some informal goal-setting where you ask parents to express some hopes for their children and brainstorm together how they can support their kids' learning at home; these themes could then be discussed in greater detail during individual parent conferences.
To engage parents to back-to-school night, I engage the students and get them excited and in turn they get the parents engaged. I do this by sending home a postcard to my students inviting them to back-to-school night and I tell them to come see the classroom and where their locker is and I tell them they get to pick their desk out for the first week of school. Students get so excited to come in and pick out there desk and it is amazing the discussion this provokes with parents between them and their child and between them and myself!
Also...if the focus of the back-to-school night is for parents and not students, my school usually tries to offer snacks or pizza along with child care, so while the parents are meeting with the teacher, students are in child care and having their dinner. Parents are busy and this helps them kill two birds with one stone.
I have always wanted to try for my school's curriculum night, have parents come meet the teacher and go over curriculum, and I thought it would be a perfect time for a back to school assembly to kick off the year. This would engage students and parents.