Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School Night--SUCCESS!

Oh, the crazy time we teachers call Back to School Night. It can be fun. It can be exciting. It might even be frightening to some. It's that reality that summer is over and school is here. Yes, the BTS ads have been out for a month, but now it's really happening. I have read so many different ways that BTS night can be done. I decided to combine a handful of my favorites and create a plan to test it out. I survived BTS night and I can live to tell you my plan worked very well! I figured it would either bomb or go extremely well. Just like a new, exciting lesson that you have been planning for weeks; it can go terribly wrong or can go magically right.

The first thing I wanted the parents and kids to do was sign in. The parents had their fancy sign-in paper, so the kids needed the same. This is extremely helpful and it gives you a great idea of where some of your writer's might be!

My parents' first job was to grab their child's folder out of the bookshelf. I made sure that it stated that they could fill out the paperwork now or bring it back to me the first day of school. Station 1 was grab paperwork. Station 2 was finished paperwork and classroom volunteer sign-up.

Station 3 allowed parents to sort their child's school supplies. In each of the black baskets, I placed a 'mock' school box full of exactly what they would need on the first day. It is not worth the battle fighting everything that would have went in those school boxes on the first day, nor is it fun to unwrap all 80 glue sticks on the first day of school. It is much easier to have the parents sort everything on BTS night. I placed two labeled baggies on the table. One baggie was for their extra school supplies and the other was for their headphones. I made it very clear that everything needed to be labeled with the child's name on it. To make this easier, I placed permanent markers in a small container next to the mock school box just in case.

Station 4 was for all the extra school supplies. I labeled tubs for headphone baggies, extra school supplies, and student folders.

Station 5 was the sweetest! ;) I used this last year and it has worked so well. I simply type on the cupcakes exactly what our class might need and my parents have been so incredibly gracious! I am so thankful for their sweet donations!

The sixth and final station was another sweet treat. I always want to make sure that they have something to take with them that lets them know that I care about their child and their support. I saw this absolutely adorable idea from Reagan Tunstall's blog and just had to use it! How cute are these parent water bottles and student glow-in-the-dark pendants?! The kids L-O-V-E-D these! I did make sure that my sixth station told the parents to come visit me before leaving to say hello/goodbye, grab a magnetic teacher contact card, and to let me know about first day transportation. That was crucial the first day of K because transportation might be the most difficult part of the month first day!

In all the craziness of this short time and while the parents are working and I am mingling around the room, I had a PowerPoint rolling with basic school information, policies, class schedule, facts about me, etc.

What are your tips and tricks for a successful Back to School Night or Open House?

**Classroom Reveal**

My long-awaited classroom reveal is HERE! We have been in school 4 days. Yep...count 'em...FOUR days! We have successfully learned a lot of procedures and we have even used our glue bottles. #Accomplishment We still have A LOT to do, but I am so proud of these kindergarteners. They are so full of life and they are so sweet. When I was taking these pictures, I was thinking these are not the most pleasing pictures to look at, but then I took a step back and realized that this is what real life looks like. Things are not picture-perfect in a 5-6 year old's environment. Bulletin boards are mostly blank. Shelves have boxes that no one wants has time to make look pretty. Some things have to wait and some things have to come when the time is right. I am a firm believer in making a classroom authentic. I cannot wait until student artwork is hung from the grid clips (FYI best invention ever...look them up! You will thank me later if you have tile ceilings) in my room and we have numbers 1-20 decorating our cabinets. There is so much value that comes from students taking ownership and seeing their own work or learning up on the boards. Okay, blah blah blah. I'll stop talking. :) Here is my where my Kinder Crew in Room 32 laughs, loves, and learns.

This is my iPad cart. Obviously I had to figure out some way to make it cute! :)  

 Guided Reading Area

Hallway bulletin board

 Our kindergarten hallway!

 Just had to show this! How adorable is my mentor's bulletin board?! #SoCute

What is an absolute necessity in your classroom this year?

For the complete tour, visit the Peek in my Classroom section on my homepage!