Flipping back to school night

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Back-to-school night is not fun. There is just too much information to cover in 30 minutes. I am expected to explain the grade level, what material will be covering, and how the homework works. Typically, there is a PowerPoint presentation that teachers run through. And that doesn’t even cover little kids playing in the corner of the room.

So, this year I flipped my back-to-school night. I recorded a video beforehand, and send a flyer home asking parents to watch it before back-to-school night. I took the material from a 30 minute presentation and crammed it into a five minute video. The great part about a video is that you can speak as fast as you want because people can rewind you. To my amazement, every parent actually watch the video before we met together. I embedded video on my classroom website mrselak.com, along with the following:

Please watch this video prior to our Back to School Night meeting on September 12 at 7:15 pm.

Here is the presentation I showed in my classroom during our 30 minutes together. I used it mostly for talking points.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

I loved having this time to talk with parents for so many reasons. I felt like I was able to actually talk with them, as opposed to talk at them. They had time for them to ask questions, so they felt valued. I was able talk about general educational stuff that I felt was important, like reading with your child and reading in front of your child. I had time to explain my behavior management, Class Dojo, and how they can stay connected with my class via Remind 101. It was a good use of our time, and parents actually enjoyed Back to School Night.

language arts

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  • Smart idea. I love how you’re using technology to actual increase the quality of human connections with parents.

  • Thanks Preston. I think people miss the meaning of “social media”: it’s supposed to make us more connected. It seems like a classroom is a perfect place to leverage that.

  • Manzi

    I agree wholeheartedly. As a teacher, I hate trying to squeeze too much information into far too small a space, but as a parent I hate trying to listen to all of that Mrs. Donovan-esque “wah wah wah wah”, while at the same time feeling the pain of the teacher who feels forced to do it. It’s an all-around night of suffering for most, so flipping it to get more information covered is an awesome idea!

  • Anna

    This is AMAZING! I was telling my
    colleagues about flipping back-to-school night just the other day! This is a
    brilliant idea. I teach at an intermediate school and I have about 15 minutes
    to talk about my class. I cherish Q&A sessions, but it’s a luxury given the
    fact that 15 minutes is all we have. I should definitely look into this for
    next year.