Meet the Teacher – COVID Edition
These are crazy times. School’s reopening plans are either that they’re not opening, opening in a hybrid way, going completely virtual, or are going back “as normal”. So much is up in the air but one thing is for sure, we have to plan for our future kiddos. And meeting YOU, the teacher, is going to be a highlight of this year- whether in person or digitally.
Building connections, helping our families feel supported, creating an exciting learning environment for students, and above all else this year, making students feel safe are huge priorities as an educator. Meet the teacher night is crucial in upholding these principles with families. And this year, if you are going digital, holding a virtual meet the teacher is really convenient for families who can’t take extra time off and this could lead to increased participation! But how can we connect digitally with our families on a day we’re so used to hanging out in our classroom? Let’s get into some fun engaging ways we can do that!
Who doesn’t love getting mail- especially kids?! How special would your students feel getting a postcard from their brand new teacher whom they have yet to meet! They are a great way to help students feel welcome at a distance. They are easy to use and can be personalized for each student. As a subscriber, you can grab these super cute postcards for FREE!
Zoom has become a very popular way to connect digitally. There are a number of different ways you could set up a digital Meet the Teacher with Zoom. You could print the link on a postcard letting them know the date and time of the event. You could use a virtual invitation found HERE! If you wanted a record of best times for families to meet, a mass email containing a Google Form survey to complete is a great idea. An alternative but similar idea is SignUp Genius. I used them all last year with student conferences and it was such a great and easy way to collect and store their data… and it’s FREE! As far as the actual Zoom event, you could have a time for each family or do it in clusters as a meet and greet for the schedules that meet up.
Maybe you’re not too fond of being behind a webcam? That’s OK! You have to do what works for you and what makes you comfortable. If you want a way to share important information and let families get to know you better, you could create your own presentation to cover these items. You could even host a chat room or conference call while sharing this presentation with families to allow them to ask questions. You can even embed a link to your virtual classroom or a video tour of your actual classroom for families to explore! They will have a blast and be able to get to know the room at a distance. But of course the thought of creating a whole presentation just adds on to the multitude of things to do right?? So, I’ve created a completely customizable presentation for you to edit to take off that stress if you so choose that can be customized in Powerpoint or Google Slides! If you’d like to access that, go ahead and click HERE! 🙂
Get to Know You Activities!
This can be a fun take on an old school social Meet the Teacher/ Meet the Student! Another great and easy way to connect with families is by sharing a digital meet the teacher newsletter for families to get to know you. What’s even more fun is sharing a template for a “Meet the Student” form for students to complete and share! These forms contain slides for students to fill out where they can put a picture, facts about themselves, and so much more. You could also have students comment on each other’s post about one thing they have in common or what they would like to learn more about. Both of these activities are available HERE! The meet the student forms can easily be shared on Seesaw or Google Classroom depending on what platform you use. After they are turned in, students can scroll through their ‘feed’ to meet all their new classmates virtually!
Another Positive Note!
Let’s face it, even without Covid, storing things digitally is much more convenient and less wasteful than paper. To help you organize student information, I’ve created some digital forms for families that can be shared in person or virtually. These forms can help you easily gather student/family information and student interests. You can grab these forms HERE! Another great way to provide information to families easily is with an interactive flip book. These Back to School flip books, paper and digital versions, are completely customizable to meet your needs. These interactive documents can help families understand the important parts of your classroom. From covering Zoom time expectations to your daily schedule, these editable flip books are available HERE!
Schools Opening “As Normal”
I know a lot of schools have even more risks when it comes to starting the year off as if this pandemic isn’t still happening. However, I’m confident in the fact that you can still throw a super fun, socially distanced, meet the teacher shindig. Not only will you be promoting safety, but also you’ll provide families with a long deserved fun night out with their kids. In addition, they’ll leave feeling supported and confident in the fact you’ll be there caring for their child’s education throughout this school year. So let’s take part in this equation- a lot of families plus a little social distancing equals a perfect night to remember!
So you have your classroom set up, you have labeled ALL the things with student names, so what’s next? You’re ready to meet your students! I know they are SO ready to meet you! I don’t know how you feel, but this is one of the most stressful and exciting parts of the whole year. You get to meet a lot of your kiddos and usually their entire family! I hope that after reading this, you feel more prepared and excited about meeting all your sweet littles, while also keeping everyone safe!
This set up is designed to deliver a fun and engaging evening for your families that they are sure to remember. I will help you have an organized and successful event that will help you to build connections with your families in an exciting way. These stations can easily be used in social distancing situations! A few years ago I asked myself how could I make this overwhelming time special while at the same time, take some of the pressure off? I came up with one word: STATIONS! Families had such a blast and it gave me so much more time to go around and meet everyone and talk to them while they all had activities to do! Parents were equipped with a checklist to make sure they made it to each of the fun stations! Here are some we set up!
The Photo Booth Station!
This station was a hit! They had such a blast with the back to school props and shared pictures that were hung around the room. This was such a fun way for families to have fun together and create some great memories in their new classroom. I LOVE using the props from Teach Create Motivate. Below you’ll see some examples of them. In order to ensure proper sanitation, I would recommend having families use their own device to snap the pictures and providing some sort of cleaner for them to be sprayed off after each use.
The QR Codes Station!
Another station my parents adored was a station where they could grab a QR code that was a video of me reading The Night Before First Grade to my students. I told them to listen to it the night before school started. When parents dropped off their students the first day of school, I had SO many parents tell me how much they loved that I did that for their child. I also had so many students that ran up to me telling me how excited they were that they got to see me read to them! I love using these editable tags from Missing Tooth Grins. Below you’ll find a picture of the station.
The Ready Confetti Station!
My students loved this one so much. They got to take home a bag of confetti so that they were “ready” for school to start. This is such a fun FREEBIE from Miss Hellen’s Hippos that was pretty easy to assemble. I bought some confetti from Michaels and put it in a plastic bag. Then I just stapled the tag to the top and that was it! Super easy inexpensive gift that the kiddos absolutely loved! See them picture below.
The All About Me Bag Station!
The last station I want to tell you about is a great get to know you activity that makes things super personal. You get some paper bags and have students put 3 things in it that represent them. Then they bring it back to school when school starts and they can share their items with a friend. It is such a fun way to get to know your kids and a great soft activity for the first week of school. I even did one too so my students could see my interests. If you subscribe, you’ll receive a cute directions tags to add to your bags for FREE!
These are just some of the fun station ideas you’ll find in my Editable Stations Resource. Not only was this a fun and exciting experience for everyone, but it was a great way to start building connections right away and took some of the pressure off at back to school time! You’ll find my Editable Meet the Teacher Stations HERE.
Not only are these stations a BLAST for families, but it is also perfect for social distancing. These stations can be organized around the room to keep families at a distance. You can set limits of people at a station at a time and be sure to keep 6 feet away from others. You can set the requirement of a mask if you want to or not and provide hand sanitizer at each station. Remember, do what is best for you and set the expectation you wish to carry through the school year.
Meet the Teacher is one of the best ways to kick off the year with families. I hope that this post helped you feel a little less overwhelmed about the unknown and a little more excited about what’s to come. Whether you meet your students virtually or in person, you are going to have a GREAT year with your families. These ideas can help you connect, have fun, and save you time! If you have any more wonderful ideas to share or are looking for something else to make life easier, please share in the comments below!
There are so many different ways to make this digital event special with families! Have more ideas? Please share them below in the comments. We are all a team together and we need each other now more than ever.
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