Back to School Meet the Teacher Night is an exciting event, but it can also be a daunting one. Facing a roomful of new families, mountains of school supplies, and trying to manage it all can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
In this post, you’ll learn how to plan a successful Meet the Teacher Night and feel confident as you greet your new students, easily manage parents, and collect the information that you need. Whether you’re a brand new teacher or a veteran one, read on and find examples of how to make it all run smoothly! To learn how to plan a virtual Meet the Teacher Night click here.
How to Plan Your Meet the Teacher Night Open House
Make a plan for parents
Before you begin to plan, make a list of everything you need parents to do during your open house and decide how you want them to do it. Consider the length of your open house and what they will realistically have time to do. set up stations to tell them how to do it. Decide your priorities based on what you will need from parents and what information your school requires you to collect.
Set up parent stations
Plan what you need parents to do during your open house and set up stations that tell them how to do it. Most importantly, decide your priorities based on what you know you need from parents and what information your school requires you to collect. Set up a station for each to ensure they are met. I set up five simple stations for parents to complete that keeps things running smoothly.
- Parent sign in & email collection
- Transportation info/how students will go home
- Student information forms turn in
- Classroom supply management
- Meet your teacher!
Meet the Teacher Classroom Kit source
After greeting your new students and showing them their desk, guide their parents to start the stations. This ensures you get all the information you need completed if possible during the open house. Find editable station signs in this Meet the Teacher Kit. See how I set up stations and manage parents in this blog post.
Prep student information forms
Copy all the student forms you need parents to complete. You will need quite a bit of information from them so plan what is important and communicate when it should be returned. Copying each form on a different colored paper makes them easier to sort later. You can find editable templates for back to school parent forms in both English and Spanish here.
Important parent forms to provide at Meet the Teacher Night:
Parent sign in sheet-Set up a sign in sheet close to the door so parents see it when they enter. This enables you to immediately collect their email address. Later you can add all your parent email addresses to a group list for when you send out info to the entire class.
Meet the Teacher Classroom Kit source
Student Information form-Collect important student information such as birthdate, address, and parent contact info. Include a section for parents to include their child’s strengths, challenges, hobbies, family life, etc. I like to collect this during the actual event night but if time does not permit, they can return it on the first day of school. Take some time to read what parents have shared about their child before the first day of school.
How Students Go Home– Collect transportation info and how students will get home on the first day of school and going forward. I know many of my students will be picked up by a parent on the first day of school, but then after that they will usually ride the bus. This information is crucial for me to gather while parents are in my classroom so I know where all students should go after that very crazy first day of school!
Classroom Behavior Plan– Send home your behavior policies for parents to review and encourage them to email you with any questions. Let parents know where to see how their child’s day went and if there were any issues. One option is to include a daily behavior page in the student’s homework folder. It is helpful for parents to know that you do have a management and behavior plan in place from day one.
Volunteer Sign Up-We all know the importance of parents being involved in our classrooms. Provide sign up forms for parents to volunteer either from home or in the classroom. Many schools now require background checks so be sure to have that paperwork available too.
Editable student forms in both English and Spanish source
Classroom Information Packet– This usually contains a lot of information, so you may want to give it to parents to take home. I include information about myself, my contact info, the class schedule, homework routines, lunch and snack time, birthday treats, etc.
Student supply list-Place copies of your student supply list on each desk in case parents haven’t downloaded it from your school website.
Create a classroom wish list
In addition to student school supply lists, there are always other items that classrooms need. I shop the back to school sales and pick up twenty dollars worth of glue sticks, pencils, crayons and folders. In July, you can get bags full of these items for that price. I stash them in my cupboard and use them for new students and when we get low on everything in January. Parents will often pick up extra supplies while they’re on sale or ask you what they can send in to help.
Items you might add to your wish list:
- Hand sanitizer
- zippered storage bags
- Sanitizing wipes
- copy paper
- paper plates
This easy Giving Tree is a fun and creative way to ask for specific supplies. Click here to download the FREE Giving Tree templates. Click here to see how easy it is to make and how I use it at Meet the Teacher Night.
Create a back to school brochure
An easy alternative to an information packet is to create a handy back to school brochure. Include the most important classroom information and your contact info for parents. Make simple refrigerator magnets with your contact info or anything you wish.
Editable back to school brochure source
Write a meet the teacher letter
I love to tell parents a few things about myself because this may help us make a connection and it just lets them feel more comfortable when they know more about the person who their child will be spending a lot of time with! I also like to include pictures of my family because students love to see those! This newsletter is super easy to edit and customize to fit your needs.
Editable Meet the Teacher letter template source
Plan for supply storage
Many students bring school supplies on Meet the Teacher Night. Decide how you’ll organize community supplies now to save time on the first day of school. Personal supplies like pencil boxes, scissors, rulers etc. can go in student’s desks. Community supplies (glue sticks, dry erase markers, highlighters, etc.) will need a basket or bin. To save you time, place labeled containers on a desk near the door and ask parents to take a minute to sort any extra supplies they bring in.
Get plastic baskets and clear shoe box size storage bins from the dollar store. Label each one and place it out for parents. Once the open house is over, simply put the lids on the bins and put them away until you need them. Place labeled baskets of community supplies inside desks so they function as drawers. I’ve written a separate blog post with examples and more ideas for organizing your classroom.
Plan for all languages
Plan ahead for families that will need information in a language other than English. Speak with your district about having your documents translated or ask what they have that may already exist.
Parent stations and student forms in Spanish source
Create A Meet the Teacher Night PowerPoint
Some schools combine open houses and do a Meet the Teacher parent presentation. Many combine parent night/back to school night and Meet the Teacher Night all in one event. These often include a presentation to share important information so you can present parents at once. If your school holds Curriculum Night separately, learn how to plan it here.
Meet the Teacher PowerPoint template source
Slides to include in your Meet the Teacher presentation:
All about the teacher slides- Introduce yourself to new parents and students with an All About Me type slide. Share some pictures of yourself and your family, your hobbies, and even your pets. It helps students connect with you and they love seeing pictures of you outside of school!
Classroom information slides- Give parents and students an overview of your daily schedule, lunch and snack times, homework routines, volunteer opportunities, etc.
Websites and online learning platforms- Include information for any websites or online platforms your class will be using. Provide any login information parents may need to know so they are ready on the first day. Editable students login cards are available here.
Plan a simple welcome gift
Prepare a simple gift or treat to make students feel welcome. I love to put a Blow Pop or small bag of popcorn on each student desk with a little tag that says, “I’m so happy you popped in to see me”. It’s a nice surprise for students when they find their desk and it really does get them excited for the year.
Student welcome gift tag source
Begin building community
During your open house, help students connect with their new classroom by personalizing something in the classroom with their name. Make sure each student has a name tag on their desk. This makes them feel special and know exactly where to sit on the first day of school. Personalize a back to school bulletin board with each student’s name. This shows students they are a part of a classroom family and it’s fun for them to see who they might already know in their class!
This one was a big hit with students! I took quick, individual pictures of each student at recess the first day and glued them to a purple paper plate (from the dollar store) with their name on it.
Click here for more back to school bulletin board ideas.
Whether your school calls it Back to School Night or Meet the Teacher Night, planning ahead is key. Use these tips to feel confident and prepared and plan your open house like a pro!
For ready to use resources check out these Meet the Teacher Classroom Kits with everything you need in colors to match your classroom.
Click here to see all four Meet the Teacher Classroom Kits.
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