Primary Chalkboard: back to school night
Showing posts with label back to school night. Show all posts
Showing posts with label back to school night. Show all posts

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar

Hi all, Happy September!  What the what? September, oh my... How did that happen? 

It's Emma from Clever Classroom bringing you another, ''What We're Chalking About" post that covers what our multi-talented, cyber writers are posting about this month, via a visual calendar.

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

As you can see, our visual calendar aims to help you preview who and what is being posted.  

We have content for both primary and intermediate students, and topics that cover science, social studies, literacy, math, routines, planning and themes. 

This month, we are also featuring a few flash back posts, which we have aptly named, "Way Back Wednesday".
What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

If you would like to receive notifications from us this month, click here to follow our blog. 

Here's what we have planned for you this month. 

1  Jessica from Second Grade Nest - Labor Day

2  Way Back Wednesday

3  Haley from My Silly Firsties - Morning Messages

4  Vicky from Teaching and Munch Moore - Poems in Primary Classrooms

5  Matt from Digital Divide and Conquer - MVP Partner Management

6  Autumn from The Primary Techie - Remembering 9/11

7  Karen from Mrs. Jone's Class - Interactive Notebooks

8  Nicole from Mrs. Rios Teaches - Back to School Night

9  Way Back Wednesday

10  Valerie from All Students can Shine - Primary Ideas

11  Naomi from Read Like a Rockstar - Class Newsletters

12  Sarah from Sarah's First Grade Snippets - Parent Involvement 

13  Anna from Simply Skilled in 2nd - Constitution Day

14  Emma from Clever Classroom - Social Skills and Classroom Expectations

15  Terry from Terry's Teaching Tidbits - Senses

16   Way Back Wednesday   

17  Katie from Teacher to the Core - Bats on the Brain

18  Laura from Peace Love and First Grade - Easy Ideas for Fundraising

19  Jennifer from Teaching to Inspire - 3-5 Ideas

20  Meg from The Teacher Studio - Accountable Talk

21  Ariane from The Science Penguin - The 5E Model Engage

22  Alyssha from Teaching and Tapas - Primary Ideas

23  Way Back Wednesday

24  Latoya from Flying into First Grade - Math Talks

25  Lisa from Growing Firsties - Student Goal Setting

26  Corinna from Surfin' Through Second - Math Games

27  Cyndie from Chalk One up for the Teacher - What's for Lunch?

28  Heather from 2 Brainy Apples - Social Studies

29  John from An Educators Life - Positive Culture

30 October's What We're Chalking About: October - Visual Calendar

What We're Chalking About September: A Visual Calendar of blog posts from the authors at Primary Chalkboard

To remember this post, you might like to pin it.  That way, you can come back to see the posts throughout the month. 

On the last day of each month, we will post this visual calendar for you to see what we have planned. 

If you have any suggestions that you would like us to write about, please comment below. 

Click here to see our posts from July

Click here to see our posts from August

Thanks so much for dropping by. 

Tell'em What's Up Night! [A.K.A. Back to School Night/Open House]

If you are a teacher, you have been there.

You madly prepare, you sweat, you stress, you make your classroom orderly- perfect even. You
might have projects carefully and lovingly set up on display, and you wait at the front of the room OR at the door with a nervous smile on your face, ready to share those items you feel will most benefit the parents of the students in your classroom. You are confident that this presentation will help ensure the success of all your students. 
Then the reality- if you are like my school- you get 4 parents that show up. Disheartened at the small number, you paste the smile on your face, give your presentation, and then take home a large amount of cookies to your significant other or pet. Cookies that were meant to be refreshments and an enticement to mingle with you and other parents for a few minutes.

OR, in a different scenario, you have your open house stations all ready, papers to fill out, treats to share, excitement to spread. And, during the 2 hours you are there to greet your new students and parents, you get 4-5 that wander through, most with little enthusiasm. They fill out your paper work, take a treat, and shuffle out the door.

We have all been there. As a teacher it STINKS! It frustrating, and hard. After all, you were there- prepared and ready to go. A big smile and lots of hard work. And it seems ALL FOR WHAT?

But, let's rewind these situations for a minute and look at this in a new light! Going from Teacher to Administrator has given me a new perspective on this whole tradition of Back to School/Open House  nights.

First, I tried to find in the history of school where this tradition of back-to-school nights/open house came from. Sadly, Google hath failed me in my quest. HOWEVER, I want to remind you that it is just that- a tradition that was most likely started by a teacher, administrator, and/or school somewhere that wanted parents and students to feel ready to start the year. And, I have also noticed that this seems to be a trend mainly in elementary schools.

Second, I  think that part of the push for a back-to-school event was that it helped teachers think big picture for the year in academics, to review discipline procedures, and prepare mentally. That alone, makes back-to-school/open house worth it from an administrator's point of view.

Third, we, as educators do what we do because we love serving our students and parents. And, if that means that only 4 could make it to your event, that is four kids that you got to meet and help feel special. Those four kids will come to school knowing that they are going to be loved and safe!

So, what does all this mean?
I think it means that when we have those parents and students in our classrooms, we DO need to "Tell'em what's up". AND, we need to embrace that we will rarely get every parent, or even a majority, to attend. Parents are busy, and, when faced with a choice between something they feel they have attended a bazillion times, or getting a chore done, a few extra hours of work, or something else that to them is more pressing, they will choose what will reduce the most stress- and sadly teachers, it won't be back-to-school night. It's okay- we've got this!

This leads me back to the line of thought I have had as principal, and this new perspective where I am coordinating the entire event. I love my teachers dearly, and do my best to ensure they have everything they need to be successful! I kept thinking of all the stress it was to be ready for back-to-school night AND prepare for the first day AND prepare for this...and that...

I truly wanted to simplify teachers lives and reduce stress. But how?

 This, I have decided, means that teachers, administrators, and schools need to start looking for non-traditional ways to share this same information with these busy parents, who, do want to know and be involved, but truly can't attend.

How about trying something like this:

=A prerecorded video that can be emailed or put on a school server/wiki/blog/youtube? This can include the teachers, administrator, librarian, computer lab managers, paraprofessionals, and anyone else that the school deems needful to be included.

=A short written handbook that is mailed out to the parents with the registration papers, or handed out at school registration.  (Could also include links to the videos talked about above)

=A motivation to come. If the school provides a simple dinner (hot dogs, spaghetti, etc.), served at the end of the event, parents will be given one less task at home to deal with, and hopefully feel more enticed to come. The secret is to give each family a ticket to eat for free. These are only given to parents who attend a full session in one or more classrooms.

=An Open House and Back-to-School Night all in one, where parents can come during a set period of time and meet the teacher, but then also schedule 1-2 set presentations during the last hour of the event. (NOTE: This is the option we are piloting this year- and my teachers are excited for it! We are also having a hot dog BBQ at the end to encourage parents, students, and teachers to mingle. IT IS GOING TO BE AWESOME!)

=Others that your amazing school dream up!

 Back-to-School Events aren't going away anytime soon. But, the stress associated with them doesn't need to hang around. Talk with your administrators, your peers, your parents/students. Ask them what needs to take place to make it most useful for them and YOU!

Make it your mission to change it up next year- to cause a little disruption- for good- in your school! I think you will be amazed at the results.

-John Hughes
Elementary Principal
Owner, Created by MrHughes\
Proud Member of The Primary Chalkboard

To find out more about me and my teaching ideas click below.
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