Because Go-to-School Night is so important to fostering the best possible connections with the family members of your students, we’ve created five more winning strategies for a great Go-to-School Night for both the families of those in your class this year—and you! Check out these five additional winning strategies that many teachers use to reduce their stress about this impactful 90-minute session.
Strategy 6: Set the Stages for Learning About Learning
The family members of the students in your charge cannot possibly grasp what goes on in your classroom on a daily basis from only a short visit. They will experience the physical space, minus the biggest ingredients—the kids. While you cannot possibly communicate everything about your class, be sure that the room reflects your teaching priorities and style. If you use centers in your room, set them up and encourage family members to check them out. Place standards-focused implements in your writing center to reinforce your commitment to helping students learn in positive ways. Check out Teacher Peach’s “Connect & Correct” pencils and “Revise!” Eraser Sticks for some examples of these writing implements.
Strategy 7: Send Your Key Messages to Last All Year
If you want family members to support your class parameters about homework or bullying, as examples, be clear about these. Not only should you state these parameters and include them in your presentation, you should also share them in a way that families can reinforce with their kids all year long. Perhaps provide families with a laminated summary of your rules. If you want kids to visit certain websites, be sure to provide log-ins and other details in a way family members can access all year long. Share how you plan to communicate information during the year. To help students participate in the process, use Quick Notes Home to open a dialog with families. By including student messengers and following up with an email, you can set the stage for open and clear connections between school and home.
Strategy 8: Dress to Make an Entrance!
Dress to make a neat, professional impression to reflect the many years you have invested in your teaching career. Families are looking to discover what makes you tick, how you’ll take care of their child, and your teaching persona, so think polished, poised, and professional when you select your outfit. This evening will be coming after a long workday for you, too which is why swapping out a few key accessories may work best. A pair of shoes, scarf, or necktie can spruce up your day’s wardrobe in a flash. One accessory that both functions and sends an attractive message is a jewelry-style lanyard for your work access card or ID. Teacher Peach works with a recognized jewelry designer who creates custom, one-of-a-kind lanyards, just for teachers. The brand, I.D.Zigns, can be found on teacherpeach.com as well as on our Etsy store. Make an entrance that really works!
Strategy 9: Dress Up the Desks
While your students will be primarily responsible for their desk areas in preparation for Go-to-School Night, you can augment their work by adding a vivid splash of color in the form of a poster or chart. Teacher Peach’s 100s Charts make a great addition to every desk. Sold in packs of 25, you can brighten up your math presentation and discussion in an economical and colorful way. If your students are older, consider assigning them the task of writing a letter to their family, and asking the family members to write a reply during their visit. This works very well, provided you double-check every desk before you leave for the evening. If a family was unable to attend or potentially missed your directive to write a response, those students who do not receive answers to their letters will likely feel left out the next morning when the other kids are reading and sharing their letters. A special note and sticker from you can go a long way to help all kids begin the day well. If you do not know why a family couldn’t join you for this evening, doing some digging can be a great first step in forging a strong, productive home-school connection.
Strategy 10: Go BIG to Drive Home Big Messages
Remember that families are not always at ease in a classroom and therefore may not be able to focus on your every word. To be sure your biggest messages are communicated, define your BIG messages beforehand. Communicate these major watchwords in various ways: in your presentation, verbally, in a handout, and also in the form of some BIG posters. Have your kids help you create your big messages. Scale matters. People notice things that are not in typical scale. Augment your big posters with a really cool BIG accessory. This oversized “BIG pencil” desk accessory will help you start BIG conversations on Go-to-School Night. The pencil reads, “In this classroom, we dream BIG!”
What else do you to do prepare for Go-to-School Night? What are your biggest worries and biggest goals for this important night? How do you plan to continue to foster strong connections with the families of your students during the school year? Let us know and tell us what kinds of products might help you along the way.
Need more strategies for Go-to-School Night? Check out these posts: