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September 21, 2018

Back-to-School Night With Clifford

By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Drawing parents in for positive experiences with school is key to making a successful connection between the classroom and the kitchen. My school has sometimes struggled with positive parent involvement, but we’ve started a series of math and literacy nights that have been very successful. And this year we will get a hand from Clifford in conjunction with our back-to-school night.

    Creating a Plan

    To get families involved, the students must first be excited by the school activities. We use schoolwide themes that have students begging their parents to come and participate. In the past we’ve hosted a Circus Night and a Johnny Appleseed Night, and now we are getting ready for Clifford Night. Each classroom will create projects and decorations ahead of time, but save hands-on, interactive activities for that special night. For example, Clifford Night will feature whiteboard activities, read-alouds such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford's Family, and Clifford's Good Deeds, and more. When students plead with their parents to come to school, we get a higher turnout with happy families.

    Ins and Outs

    Our Parent Nights are held right after school to accommodate most of our families. Maybe your event would be better after rush hour or on a weekend morning. We offer food tickets when parents attend at least one classroom event, which they can redeem for take-home spaghetti plates. This keeps cleanup to a minimum, and also helps families out on those busy weeknights. 

    Free Form

    Each grade level works together to plan a few center-type activities that students and parents can work on together in the classroom. This lets parents visit at their own pace and go to several grade levels in one evening, so parents of multiple children can make it around the school without set time limits. I always try to stay very positive on these nights and will even let my students know that I don’t intend to do any serious conferences. Our goal is to get parents to the school for a positive experience. This sets the foundation for a good working relationship, and we can always set a conference date for the serious stuff while they are visiting.

     

     

     

    Creative With Clifford

    Even if you aren’t planning a parent event, there are still a multitude of ways to bring your favorite big red dog into the classroom. Find Clifford books to introduce new concepts, interactive storybooks in English and Spanish to teach phonics, online games, printables, and more!

    Drawing parents in for positive experiences with school is key to making a successful connection between the classroom and the kitchen. My school has sometimes struggled with positive parent involvement, but we’ve started a series of math and literacy nights that have been very successful. And this year we will get a hand from Clifford in conjunction with our back-to-school night.

    Creating a Plan

    To get families involved, the students must first be excited by the school activities. We use schoolwide themes that have students begging their parents to come and participate. In the past we’ve hosted a Circus Night and a Johnny Appleseed Night, and now we are getting ready for Clifford Night. Each classroom will create projects and decorations ahead of time, but save hands-on, interactive activities for that special night. For example, Clifford Night will feature whiteboard activities, read-alouds such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Clifford's Family, and Clifford's Good Deeds, and more. When students plead with their parents to come to school, we get a higher turnout with happy families.

    Ins and Outs

    Our Parent Nights are held right after school to accommodate most of our families. Maybe your event would be better after rush hour or on a weekend morning. We offer food tickets when parents attend at least one classroom event, which they can redeem for take-home spaghetti plates. This keeps cleanup to a minimum, and also helps families out on those busy weeknights. 

    Free Form

    Each grade level works together to plan a few center-type activities that students and parents can work on together in the classroom. This lets parents visit at their own pace and go to several grade levels in one evening, so parents of multiple children can make it around the school without set time limits. I always try to stay very positive on these nights and will even let my students know that I don’t intend to do any serious conferences. Our goal is to get parents to the school for a positive experience. This sets the foundation for a good working relationship, and we can always set a conference date for the serious stuff while they are visiting.

     

     

     

    Creative With Clifford

    Even if you aren’t planning a parent event, there are still a multitude of ways to bring your favorite big red dog into the classroom. Find Clifford books to introduce new concepts, interactive storybooks in English and Spanish to teach phonics, online games, printables, and more!

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