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September 12, 2017

Quick Tips for Your Best Parent Night Ever!

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Our school had Parent Night tonight, and no matter how many years I have hosted it I STILL GET NERVOUS! A fellow teacher told me that even though this is something teachers do year in and year out, it’s always with a new group of people – people we don’t know, and people who don’t know us! When you think of it that way, it’s very easy to understand the anxiety. One thing that helps settle my nerves is knowing that I am prepared for the event. There’s a lot to do and all the time and effort you put into preparation will pay off in the end.

    It was another great night to put into the books, and here are a few of the activities my students and I did to prepare for the BIG night.

    First Day Magnets

    On the first day of school, I take my students’ pictures. I love seeing how much they grow and change in one short year! I also use those pictures to make display magnets for the parents to take home on Parent Night. Everyone loves cute pictures of their children! They will also double as an art display in the classroom throughout the school year. My parents seemed excited to receive them tonight.

    I print out their pictures on cardstock and then laminate for durability. After that, I glue a clothespin to the back and put a self-adhesive magnet on the back of the clothespin. I like to attach them to this poem after the magnets are complete. This project is relatively easy, inexpensive to make, and something my students’ families can use and enjoy throughout the school year. 

    Parent Wish Jar

    This was the first time I used the Parent Wish Jar, I was very excited about it. When Parent Night finished, it was the first thing I looked at! What I read, brought tears to my eyes. These wishes were simple and beautiful. Most parents just want their kids to be happy, have friends, and LOVE school, just like me! Here are a few of the wishes my families have for their children:

    If you would like to make a Wish Jar for your Parent Night, just print these wish notes and sign. Then all you will need to get is a jar to put the wishes into — and tissue for when you are reading those sweet wishes parents have for their children.

    Handouts and a Treat

    Parent Night only offers a small timeframe to communicate a large amount of information. I always prepare a PowerPoint presentation with the main points I want to communicate. Time goes fast and I want to make sure to stay focused. I have several other items that I leave on my students’ desks for families to read. Some of the most important included in the packet are the volunteer and party signup papers. I ask my parents to fill out those papers and leave them in the classroom that evening. That way I can get started coordinating my volunteer schedule without having to hunt down all the forms.

    I love baking! One of the most important things about Parent Night is for your families to get to know you a little better, so I always bake a little treat. Not only does it give parents an opportunity to learn a little bit about me, it’s also a nice way to thank parents for taking the time to come to the event!

    Getting to Know Your Students

    Although there typically is not a lot of time to get to know your students before Parent Night, there are some really great books and activities you can do to get to learn more about them early on. We read, I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. It is a cute story about how we are all unique, and I just LOVE the wonderful message of loving yourself — just the way you are — that it conveys to its readers.

    After we finished the book, we discussed which part of our bodies we liked the most, drew self-portraits, and wrote about the best part of ourselves.

    It was fun to read what my kiddos thought were the very best part of themselves. Although the writing paper is simple, we worked in small groups to complete this project. Not only did I enjoy learning more about these awesome kindergarteners, their parents LOVED seeing their work up at Parent Night!

    Getting Them Involved

    Not only do we hope our families become involved in their child’s education, we also encourage parents to join and be a part of our PTA. The PTA at our school is AMAZING! We have the most dedicated board, and lots of parents who pitch in and work tirelessly to make our school a wonderful place to be. They support and fund activities and technological needs of our students and staff. I am beyond grateful to work at a school were not only do I receive support from our loving staff, but I have also always felt supported by the PTA.

    I love the bulletin board that our PTA designed. It's right by the front entrance, and can't be missed!

    A great way to get parents to join the PTA and get active in school communities is by actively reaching out to families at events like Parent Night. Our PTA had a strong presence tonight and there were lots of families signing up and getting involved!

    After having a terrific Parent Night, I couldn’t be more excited for what this school year holds! I am looking forward to deepening the relationships that are just budding and seeing the impact they have on my students’ education. I hope you are enjoying getting to know your students and their families, and that some of these activities will help you this year!

    Thanks so much for following my blog on Top Teaching — it means the world to me!

    Have a great day!

    xo-Shari

    Our school had Parent Night tonight, and no matter how many years I have hosted it I STILL GET NERVOUS! A fellow teacher told me that even though this is something teachers do year in and year out, it’s always with a new group of people – people we don’t know, and people who don’t know us! When you think of it that way, it’s very easy to understand the anxiety. One thing that helps settle my nerves is knowing that I am prepared for the event. There’s a lot to do and all the time and effort you put into preparation will pay off in the end.

    It was another great night to put into the books, and here are a few of the activities my students and I did to prepare for the BIG night.

    First Day Magnets

    On the first day of school, I take my students’ pictures. I love seeing how much they grow and change in one short year! I also use those pictures to make display magnets for the parents to take home on Parent Night. Everyone loves cute pictures of their children! They will also double as an art display in the classroom throughout the school year. My parents seemed excited to receive them tonight.

    I print out their pictures on cardstock and then laminate for durability. After that, I glue a clothespin to the back and put a self-adhesive magnet on the back of the clothespin. I like to attach them to this poem after the magnets are complete. This project is relatively easy, inexpensive to make, and something my students’ families can use and enjoy throughout the school year. 

    Parent Wish Jar

    This was the first time I used the Parent Wish Jar, I was very excited about it. When Parent Night finished, it was the first thing I looked at! What I read, brought tears to my eyes. These wishes were simple and beautiful. Most parents just want their kids to be happy, have friends, and LOVE school, just like me! Here are a few of the wishes my families have for their children:

    If you would like to make a Wish Jar for your Parent Night, just print these wish notes and sign. Then all you will need to get is a jar to put the wishes into — and tissue for when you are reading those sweet wishes parents have for their children.

    Handouts and a Treat

    Parent Night only offers a small timeframe to communicate a large amount of information. I always prepare a PowerPoint presentation with the main points I want to communicate. Time goes fast and I want to make sure to stay focused. I have several other items that I leave on my students’ desks for families to read. Some of the most important included in the packet are the volunteer and party signup papers. I ask my parents to fill out those papers and leave them in the classroom that evening. That way I can get started coordinating my volunteer schedule without having to hunt down all the forms.

    I love baking! One of the most important things about Parent Night is for your families to get to know you a little better, so I always bake a little treat. Not only does it give parents an opportunity to learn a little bit about me, it’s also a nice way to thank parents for taking the time to come to the event!

    Getting to Know Your Students

    Although there typically is not a lot of time to get to know your students before Parent Night, there are some really great books and activities you can do to get to learn more about them early on. We read, I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont. It is a cute story about how we are all unique, and I just LOVE the wonderful message of loving yourself — just the way you are — that it conveys to its readers.

    After we finished the book, we discussed which part of our bodies we liked the most, drew self-portraits, and wrote about the best part of ourselves.

    It was fun to read what my kiddos thought were the very best part of themselves. Although the writing paper is simple, we worked in small groups to complete this project. Not only did I enjoy learning more about these awesome kindergarteners, their parents LOVED seeing their work up at Parent Night!

    Getting Them Involved

    Not only do we hope our families become involved in their child’s education, we also encourage parents to join and be a part of our PTA. The PTA at our school is AMAZING! We have the most dedicated board, and lots of parents who pitch in and work tirelessly to make our school a wonderful place to be. They support and fund activities and technological needs of our students and staff. I am beyond grateful to work at a school were not only do I receive support from our loving staff, but I have also always felt supported by the PTA.

    I love the bulletin board that our PTA designed. It's right by the front entrance, and can't be missed!

    A great way to get parents to join the PTA and get active in school communities is by actively reaching out to families at events like Parent Night. Our PTA had a strong presence tonight and there were lots of families signing up and getting involved!

    After having a terrific Parent Night, I couldn’t be more excited for what this school year holds! I am looking forward to deepening the relationships that are just budding and seeing the impact they have on my students’ education. I hope you are enjoying getting to know your students and their families, and that some of these activities will help you this year!

    Thanks so much for following my blog on Top Teaching — it means the world to me!

    Have a great day!

    xo-Shari

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