Master Meet the Teacher & Conquer Curriculum Night

Just the mention of Meet the Teacher or Curriculum Night makes most teachers break out into a cold sweat. Why is this? We speak in front of people all day, every day, but the difference is their age. Children will still love us if we make a mistake, get nervous or act silly (they especially love when this happens). Adults by nature are more judgmental and harder to win over. Stop the dread and take back control with these easy tips:

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: Plan your handouts and student activities at least 2 days before the big event. Don’t wait until last minute–that’s when the copier breaks or the computer runs out of ink.  Not sure what to say at Meet the Teacher and Curriculum Night? Download our Welcome Back to School Parent Packet for several important customizable letters and forms.

meet teacher paperwork

2. Post directions & agenda for the night: Write specific directions for parents to read as they come into the classroom. Make sure they know they must fill out transportation form, room parent slip and student information card. Plus it gives them something to do (other than staring at you) while waiting for the presentation to start. Many parents must attend more than one Meet the Teacher on the same night. Help these parents by posting an agenda (with times) for the night so they can determine the best time to quietly exit and go to next session.


3. Serve refreshments: It is polite to serve refreshments for guests in your home and the same etiquette applies in the classroom. I purchase inexpensive cookies (from Target or Walmart) and place on serving trays. Add decorative napkins and flowers as a finishing touch.


4. Provide engaging activities for students: At the beginning of the night, I need to address just the parents and don’t want students talking or running around the room.  While parents are completing necessary paperwork, I gather students (and their siblings) and bring them to the carpet area where I give them a word search, pencil and white board. I explain directions and set expectations for their behavior. I also pass out lollipops to eat–this keeps their mouths busy while I am addressing parents. Be sure to put a garbage can there as well or you will have wrappers and sticks all over the room.

word search

word search meet teacher

After I speak to parents, I give the kids a scavenger hunt with 9 boxes of items to find in class. I glue small, round stickers to each scavenger sheet; students place a sticker on the box after the item is found. When students are finished, they get to help themselves to refreshments (I set a limit on number of cookies or you will have a couple that will try to take the whole tray–trust me, I’ve learned from experience)

5. Create suggested supplies visual: Each year students come in with random bags of supplies and rarely want to share them with the rest of the classroom. To alleviate this problem this year, I listed specific supplies I wanted to students to bring and then created a visual of what the supplies should look like. I simply purchased a medium-sized pencil case and glued the requested supplies inside and showed it during the presentation, reminding parents to unwrap items and place inside case as shown. This year all the students brought their prepared pencil cases just as I had shown and it was a HUGE time-saver! They simply put inside their desks and we were able to move on to other procedures.

suggested supplies

6. Make a Giving Tree: Parents love to donate supplies at the beginning of the year, so write down each item on an apple and post on a Giving Tree. Remind parents to pick an apple or two before they leave for the night. They return the apple with donations during the first week of school.


giving tree

giving tree 2

Most importantly, remember to smile, breathe and believe in yourself! You’ve got this!

jake at meet teacher

Your 2014 Fresh Start

These 5 easy tips are guaranteed to recharge your classroom and start your new year off on the right instructional foot.

  1. Get organized: Purchase inexpensive book boxes to store center games, house student work portfolios and hold daily work. Target has several cute prints and patterns in a wide variety of colors. Print labels for easy organization. DSC_0432 (2)Revisit rules and procedures: Students need time to get back into school routines. Review rules and behavior expectations. Practice daily procedures such as lining up, walking quietly in line and transitioning from one activity to another. Turn this procedure practice into a game by timing class, encouraging them to beat previous practice times. Check out our Routines, Procedures and Transitions Toolkit for additional ideas on how to teach, model, practice and reinforce important systems and routines.
  2. Encourage parental involvement:  During the first week of the new quarter, invite parents to help at school. This could be working with small groups, filing paperwork or prepping materials at school (or home). Work schedules often change after the holidays which can lead to new opportunities for parental involvement. Grandparents (and other relatives) often love helping in the classroom as well.
  3. Planning ahead: Instead of waiting until Sunday afternoon to plan lessons for the week, use a planning template to create an overview of upcoming units, standards and activities. The template should serve as a working document, easily modified to accommodate instructional needs that might arise. This will save you endless hours of last minute preparation and put an end to stressful Sundays.
  4. Work-life balance: Teaching can be all-consuming. Be mindful of your work-life balance. Schedule daily down-time into your calendar. This could be as simple as a bubble bath or 30 minutes of leisurely reading. Relaxation is critical and makes you a much happier, productive teacher.



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