Back to School Night Ideas

Have a successful back to school night! As summer is just getting under way, I am already thinking ahead to the next back to school night. Gathering ideas and making preparations in the summer is a great idea, because things can get a tad hectic for teachers once school begins. Back to school night is a time when you get to make an impression. Of course, it’s a time to share about the curriculum, the rules, and the procedures with the parents, but all eyes will be on you as you present the information. Being organized is a key factor in helping make the night a success.  In order to help you have a stress-free back to school night, I have put together a bundle of resources.

Back to School Night Ideas

What does the pack include?

Back to School Powerpoint Presentation - This is an editable Powerpoint template. It means you can ADD images and text to the slides. You can use different font and insert pictures or clip art over the top, but you CAN NOT change the slides I have included. You can add more slides though if you want. The powerpoint includes 34 slides with predetermined titles. It also has 7 slides that have backgrounds and images, but they do not have titles. You will want to read the slide titles below to make sure they will work for you. For each slide in the presentation, there is a themed picture that goes with the topic of the page. There is also a matching solid colored background. Many of the images included are 'real' items, such as a photo of shoes for the dress code slide, kids eating lunch for the lunch/snack slide, etc. I liked the look of using the real photos rather than just using clip art.

Open House Parent Handbook - This is perfect for you to print and have on desks for parents.  They can take it home and refer back to it. It includes the following topics:

✰Communication (type in email, phone, etc)
✰arrival and dismissal
✰Note from the teacher - introduce yourself
✰birthday policy
✰field trip
✰weekly folder
✰questions for the teacher (leave blank for parents)
✰blank template (you can insert your own images and section titles
Meet the Teacher Template -All parents want to meet the teacher. They want all the details about your education, your likes, and more. This one-page (printed front and back) booklet-type parent newsletter template is the perfect way to share all about you. It's different from a standard letter you might write. This is suitable for passing out on meet-the-teacher day, open house, curriculum night, or whenever you feel is appropriate. I absolutely love how the cover turned out... so cute with the teacher image and the mug that says, "Eat, Sleep, and Teach".

Meet the Teacher Bulletin Board - Back to school is such an exciting time for the teacher and kids. All students are excited to meet their new teacher and find out their personality, their likes, favorites, and so on. There is so much they want to know but they are too nervous to ask. They want to know you as a person and not just as a teacher.

Hallway Display - This is a fun beginning of the year "All About Me" activity to help you and your students get to know each other. The great part about this activity is it will make a very cute display outside your classroom for back to school night. In addition, it could also be used as a bulletin board display. An added bonus is that when you are finished displaying the All About Me backpacks, they can be glued into your students interactive writing journals and they can look inside the backpack for writing ideas as the year gets started.

Have fun as you get to know the parents of your new students. 

Classroom Newsletter Templates and Tips

Do you ever have parents say things like, "But I didn't know my child was going to have a test on the American Revolution" or "But I wasn't aware there was an upcoming field trip." That's right!  I have had parents in the past say things like that, and my response is always, "I'm so sorry, but it was in the class newsletter."  With that said, I have taken some steps over the years to help parents be aware of the fact that a newsletter is being sent home. In addition, I try to help them realize how important it is to read the information. When sending a newsletter, it is important to choose a method that works for you and be consistent. 

Tips for Choosing a Type of Newsletter
  1. Go Digital - In a day of desktops and iPhones, a digital file can be a highly desirable means for receiving a classroom newsletter.  Parents are on the go!  With a digital file they can open the attached newsletter any place they have access to email. Clearly mark the subject line of the email with 'important classroom newsletter', so it reminds parents to take time to read.
  2. Paper can be a Plus - Parents might be able to read the digital file on the go, but they don't always have access to a printer.  The newsletter might be read by the parents, but the information might also be forgotten.  With a paper copy, parents can stick it on the refrigerator or hang it on a bulletin board. Having it visible gives daily reminders of upcoming tests, curriculum being studied, or events happening in the near future.  
  3. Digital and Paper - I prefer to send both digital and paper classroom newsletters. You know the saying, 'two is better than one'. Well, using two methods of sending home the newsletter increases the chances parents will read it and stay informed. I have found it is worth my time to attach it in an email, as well as send it home in a weekly folder.
  4. Link Up the News - Another way to keep parents informed is to save the newsletter and upload it as a Google document. Add a link to the document on your class website.  Parents can then reread the newsletters any time they want. They can also print a second copy if they lost the first one.  It's convenient for parents, because they have access to all newsletters throughout the year.  With this method, there is no excuse for not knowing what's happening. 

newsletter templates for the classroom

Planning to go the paper route?
    • If paper is what you choose, let parents know from the get-go that a paper newsletter will be coming home. Meet-the-teacher day is a great time to let parents know you will be sending home a weekly or monthly classroom newsletter. You might even want to have an 'introduction to the newsletter' example on hand to share. This allows parents an opportunity to see it and become familiar with it from day one. They will recognize the newsletter when they see it in their child's school folder. They won't mistake it for something random they can dismiss.  If you can't share an example newsletter when you first meet the parents, curriculum night is a great time too. You can hold up an example and tell them what to expect. 
    • Send the newsletter home the same day each week, such as in the students' weekly folders on a Friday or Monday.  Consistency is important.
    • Try to use the same newsletter template format each time you send it home.  It creates uniformity, so parents know what to look for.  You can change the images or background on the newsletter, but keep the information in the same locations. They will know right where to look on the sheet for upcoming tests and important events. 
    • Print the newsletter on bright paper. If the parents are financially able to make donations, ask them to donate a pack of colored copy paper at the beginning of the year.  You can change the color each week while keeping the format the same. It will stand out in the weekly folder among all of the school work. You could also choose one particular color. For example, parents would know the pink paper is the newsletter.  
When it comes to class newsletters, choose the method that works best for you. Remember to set a precedent from day one, and stick to it.  With consistency on the teacher's part,  the parents are sure to get in the habit of looking for and reading the information. It makes for a smooth school year.  


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