The time has come… 🥳 your classroom is set up, copies made, student seats ready, and lesson plans prepped. It is time for Meet the Teacher Night!!! This event is super exciting for all of us, students and teachers. But it can also be stressful… parents to meet, kids running around your meticulously prepped classroom, and paperwork to pass out and collect. 😩
How do you put together an amazing Meet the Teacher Night without experiencing all of the stress?! We asked a TON of veteran teachers that have done this a time or two for their secrets to creating a well-oiled Open House. Tip #9 is one I am definitely going to start doing ASAP!
Meet the Teacher Night tends to set the tone for the rest of the school year. We get to meet our new students, and their families, and get them on board with what the school year brings. I’m always nervous about the kind of first impression I’m going to leave them with. Will they be excited to come back to our classroom? Or did I scare them off? LOL
Let me give you a quick first impression of a yearlong tip I know you are going to want to use… Join the leading primary printables membership, Education to the Core Premium, and say goodbye to the late nights and weekends of lesson planning and prepping. You will have access to ALL of the activities below for Meet the Teacher Night, plus thousands more that will support you all school year in all subject areas.
Meet the Teacher Tip 1.
Set up a Classroom Scavenger Hunt
Meet the Teacher Night can be a little hectic with parents and families coming and going open house style all afternoon. How do you make sure that they all get the same information?
Create a Welcome to our Classroom scavenger hunt. Ask your students to locate their desks, homework baskets, personal paper cubby, supply drop-off spot, and any other important areas you want your students to become familiar with before coming to school. I think that this is the cutest idea, so we have created a Meet the Teacher scavenger hunt just for you!
2. Give Parents Their “Homework”
Those first few days after returning to school, you get the rainbow of paperwork that parents need to sign. Medical information, transportation information, student registration verification, and a whole lot more! How do you keep track of it all?! 🤪
You can put it in a folder and place it at each student’s desk. I make sure to ask parents to fill it out that night and leave it in the folder. Or, you can staple it together as a packet that parents can complete that night or take home and return. Either way, make sure parents know this is important information they need to complete.
3. A Little Treat to Welcome Your Students
There are so many really cool sayings and treats you can leave at each student’s seat to welcome them to your class in a special way. Here are just a few…
- “You are going to SHINE this year!” paired with sunglasses 😎
- “I’m so LUCKY to have you in my class!” paired with a baggie of Lucky Charms
- “I’ve been bubbling with excitement to see you!” paired with a small bottle of bubbles or bubble wands
- “You are going to shine in ___ grade.” paired with a glow bracelet or necklace
- “I’m ready to get this school year poppin’!” paired with a bag of popcorn
- “O-FISH-ally a Kindergartener!” paired with a bag of goldfish
- “Let’s Squeeze the day every day!” paired with a Capri Sun lemonade 🍋
Meet the Teacher Tip 4.
Create a “Supply Drop Area”
Do you send out a school supply list before Meet the Teacher Night? It’s a good idea to have parents bring those supplies to this event, instead of having to sort them and carry all of those bags on the first day of school. I’ve even seen some teachers have multiple baskets (one for each supply) set up, so the parents and students do the sorting for them. 😉 (It’s a little genius if you ask me!)
Set up an area in your classroom where parents can “drop off” those supplies and then check their names off of the list. 🤞 Hopefully this will cut down on some of the chaos that first day.
5. Parent Presentation
Some schools have a more formal Meet the Teacher Night event. Parents come for a set amount of time and you present information about the ins and outs of your classroom. Some possible things to include in your presentation:
- Specials schedule
- Potential daily schedule
- Drop off procedures
- Pick up procedures
- All about you (the teacher)
- Class expectations
- Homework expectations
Other teachers have a slide projected with a checklist for parents and students to complete during Open House. You may want to think about adding these pieces to your TO-DO slide:
- Fill out the student information sheet
- Complete the “going home” form or tag
- Fill out the emergency medical form
- Drop off supplies
- Sign the parent compact (their part in doing homework, communication, etc.)
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6. Create a “Selfie” Station
Meet the Teacher Night is a perfect time to take those “first day of school” photos before school actually starts. Set up a small area in your classroom as a “perfect picture” spot. You can hang a sheet or tablecloth as the backdrop, get a large balloon of the grade level number or letter K with a couple of other small plain ones, and add some books or other props in the foreground.
This way, parents can take a picture of their child in the classroom at Open House and not on the first day of school. You can even use these signs for students to hold when they take their pictures. (Note… you may want to hang around this area, as many parents are probably going to ask you to be in the picture also. 😉)
Meet the Teacher Tip 7. Create a Donation Tree
Usually, the school supply list has generic items for your entire grade level at your school. But maybe you have a few specific items that you would like just for your classroom. 😍 Create a small donation tree and put it up in your classroom. This way, parents can grab those other items for you and bring them during the first week of school.
8. Set up a Designated “Play Area”
Your soon-to-be students may be walking around the room and checking out their desks, but many times their younger siblings come too and are not so interested in doing those things. Set up an area where they can sit and play. This way, you get to control the items in the classroom that they touch (which they definitely will do that 😂) while keeping the chaos at bay. Some items you could have in this play area include puzzles, building blocks, and other activities.
9. Have a “Digital Sign up” Station
This one is brilliant and I’m adding it to my list of parent to-dos this year during Meet the Teacher Night! Have a couple of iPads, laptops, or desktops set up where parents can come and sign up for any digital communication platform you use. If you communicate using class DOJO, have parents enter their code and join your class during Open House. 💻
Assigning homework through a digital classroom? Have parents log in and play around a bit so they know what to expect when their child has to complete their digital schoolwork.
Meet the Teacher Tip 10. Parent Station Rotations
Another way to get all of the things done during Open House is to have parents rotate through stations set up around your classroom. For example, Station 1 could be filling out transportation information, Station 2 could be completing the medical form for the nurse, Station 3 might be sorting their school supplies into bins, and so on. There are many ways you can organize your room so that your parents and students complete everything that needs to be done that evening.
11. Decorate a Bulletin Board
While parents are filling out all of the necessary paperwork, what are your students going to do? You can have a craft that they can complete and add to a designated bulletin board. This gives them the feeling of belonging to the classroom right away. They get to create something and add it to the classroom decor, and you get one of your bulletin boards completed before school even starts! Win-Win! 🤩
12. Send out an “All About Me” Letter
You can do this one in two different ways. If you work for a school that has class lists pretty finalized well in advance to Meet the Teacher Night, you can mail a letter or postcard to your students with some fun facts about yourself. Or, you can create a friendly letter that they can read the night of Open House. Students, and especially their parents 😉, like to know a little bit about the teacher before school starts.
Meet the Teacher Tip 13. Book Box Picks
Will your students have book boxes to read through during literacy centers or if they finish their work early? You can have them choose a few “just right” books for their book box during Meet the Teacher Night. Prep this ahead of time and make sure that the books you have out for them to choose from are at appropriate reading levels. You can always add more books to this once school starts, but this way, your students have a few in there to read during the first week or so.
14. Ask for Parent Volunteers
Along with the donation tree, you can have volunteer sign-up sheets. Have a variety of ways for parents to help out. If they are able to come into the classroom and help at a literacy or math station, or maybe they can make copies for you? Possibly prep your decodable readers for the year?
For those parents who are unable to come to school, you can have volunteers who cut out lamination or sort and staple packets for you. Maybe each student is getting a binder of materials and you need help putting those together. Don’t feel bad about asking for help. Many parents want to be involved and are willing to help in any way they can.
15. Assign “First Day” Homework
If you want to be one of “those” teachers… 😂😂😂 You can assign some first-day-of-school homework. Now, I’m not talking about reading, writing, and math type of homework, but something a little more fun. You can have your students bring something special from home for a class Show and Tell, or give each one an “All About Me” page they can share with the class during the first day or week of school.
Meet the Teacher Tip 16.
Make Sure Your Room is “Ready”
Now, I’m not saying that your room has to be “Pinterest” ready, but parents and students want to see an actual classroom. Make sure that desks are set up, your library is ready, the walls have information on them, etc.
One note of caution… if your school tends to have a more transient student population, you may not want to have all of your cubbies numbered and labeled, or nametags all taped down on desks. This will save you time doing it over and over again as students are transferred in and out of your class.
17. Greet Everyone
Last and definitely most important, make sure that you greet every student and their family during Meet the Teacher. Some teachers choose to stand by the door and welcome everyone into the classroom, while others walk around the room and mingle with parents as they take a look at everything. However you choose to run your Meet the Teacher Night, that first impression is an important one. 🥰
Meeting your students for the first time is super exciting. Hopefully, with these tips for Meet the Teacher Night, any stress, anxiety, or questions you may have are out the window. 👋 No matter what you do, your students are going to love entering their classroom for the first time, checking out their home away from home, and meeting that special someone who is going to lead them in their educational journey for the year… YOU!!! 💙💛🧡
Written by: Janessa Fletcher
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