Saturday, August 22, 2015

Back to School Night

Each year the night before school begins we host a "Unpack Your Backpack" night for our students and their families.  I love the meeting the kiddos...but have always felt a little chaotic with the organization of the night.  You know what I mean, kids are tugging on you to get your attention, parents seem confused, and you're left with HUGE piles of school supplies to clean up!  This leaves me exhausted before school even begins!

This year, I did things differently and I'd love to share my sanity saving tips with you!

1.  Have a temporary name tag on the students desks.  You can buy these from a dollar store or even the Target Dollar Spot.
Students may want a nickname on the name tag, you may get new students, or loose one you thought was coming.  Let's face it.  Name tags are EXPENSIVE!  This year, I had two Gabriella's.  One wanted to go by Ella and the other Gabby.  Perfect!!  I can change how their name is written without cringing inside.  Then after the first 6 days of school I can switch them over to the heavy duty, alphabet sporting, cadillac name tags!  (Click on the picture to purchase.)

2.  Have some sort of gift for the kiddos.  I was so excited to find these cuties!  Simply go to your local dollar store and buy some glow sticks.  I found these 8 for $1!  I was able to supply one for each student in my class for $3!  Yippee!  You can find the tags here for free!

3.  This next tip I got from the sweet Megan Wheeler who is author behind Mrs. Wheeler's First Grade.  Have a clip board ready with four columns...student name, parent name, how they go home, and notes section.  I was able to call the students and parents by name and ask about plans to go home after school.  Then make sure you write it down.  Use the notes section for all the little tidbits parents pass along on the first night.  I never could remember who said what and which child was theirs!

4.  Have important papers on student desks for them to take with them.
Since I teach first grade, I include a list of the kindergarten sight words, first grade sight words for the year, Student information sheet, Social Media Release, and a Parent Handbook!  (Click on the links to see where to get these products!)

5.  Have a display on your smartboard, elmo, or whatever you use!  Give parents directions on where to put their supplies...some will still ask but it eliminates a lot of questions freeing you up to introduce yourself to parents/students!

6.  Have a clearly marked place for supplies!!!!  This will save you hours of work afterwards.  After Backpack Night, I simply place the containers in the cabinets where I store them and that's it!  Clean up is finished!  The stands holding the signs are from IKEA.  Click here to get your copy of the school supply pictures.

I hope you have found some of these tips/freebies useful!  I would love to hear more open house tips in the comments!  I am always striving to be better!!

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