Welcome back to school! A new school year is a new opportunity to build relationships with your students and their families — and set the tone and direction of your classes. Where do teacher-parent relationships begin? For many of us, they begin on Back to School Night. It’s the perfect time to show parents the kind of classroom experience you want to give their children, and to let them see how you teach and what their children will learn. As we approach this crucial milestone, I wanted to share how I moved beyond simply presenting my syllabus on Back to School Night and started using Adobe Spark to build relationships with parents and families.
“Flipping” Back to School Night
Last year, I taught a high school course called Personal Branding and Digital Communication at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. I wanted to find a better way to connect with parents on Back to School Night, but I knew I only had 10 minutes per section to do so.
Then I had a stroke of genius — I decided to use Adobe Spark to “flip” my Back to School Night. Instead of standing in front of the room and talking at each group of parents for 10 minutes, I’d present my syllabus, contact information, and essential course question in the front of the room on a web page I’d create with Adobe Spark. And I’d further showcase my communication skills (really important for a digital communication class!) by using Adobe Spark to create a fun “All about me” video to post on my web page.
The flipped model worked incredibly well. Having my page and video ready ahead of time allowed me to focus on getting to know parents, having open conversations, and learning more about my students. It was a win-win — parents got to see the syllabus and learn about me, and I had time to learn more about my students and their families. You can check out my high school Back to School Night page here, or look at an elementary school example here.
Want to Flip Your Back to School Night? Here’s how to get started:
- Create your web page using Adobe Spark.
- Make your “All about me” video using Adobe Spark.
- Want to go the extra mile and have your students contribute? Ask them to use Adobe Spark to create graphics describing who they are and what they’re excited about learning this year. Then print or digitally share the graphics with your students’ families on Back to School Night!
More Tips for Flipping Your Back To School Night
– Your video should paint a picture of who you are, how you approach teaching, and what excites you about your class. Keep your video lighthearted and short — two minutes or fewer, if possible.
– Pass out index cards and ask each parent to write something they’d like you to know about their child. (Cards will be for your eyes only). This is a great way to learn more about your students from those who know and love them the most.
– Send parents and families the web page link after Back to School Night so they can refer to it throughout the year. (Bonus points if they bookmark it!)
I hope these ideas help you create an amazing community with your students and parents this year! Have you tried flipping your Back to School Night before? How did it go? What lessons did you learn, and what tips do you have for other teachers looking to make the most of Back to School Night? Let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #CreateEdu or tweet me @TanyaAvrith.