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Back to School Night
Old 08-20-2009, 06:58 PM
 
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Hi Everyone,
I need some ideas desperately. I want to do our back-to-school night (we call it Parent Information Night, because it is only for adults) in a Morning Meeting format.
I hate the traditional speech format with PowerPoint that our school does. I thought this would be a great way to introduce Morning Meeting to our parents because none of the primary teachers have done Morning Meeting in our school.
So, any idea on what greet, share, and activity should I do to have the parents get the essence of Morning Meeting best?
Any other advice?

TIA!!!


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Old 08-20-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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I think it's a great idea but you're going to run into a few problems:
1) Not everyone is going to arrive at the same time
2) Morning meetings take all year to build a certain level of trust and you're going to have a hard time getting parents willing to participate in such a short time.

What you can do is set up the classroom in morning meeting-maybe put the desks in a circle rather than in groups or in rows and have a list of topics that you can discuss (such as things they can do to help their kids succeed in school, expectations for 1st grade, morning meeting format, benefits of morning meeting).

You may not get the participation, but it will give them an idea of what to expect. I think it's a great idea and very inventive!

Good luck,
GG
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:32 PM
 
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So I read Parents and Teachers Working Together (okay, so I didn't read it ALL yet) and here's what they suggest:

  • Set up chairs in a circle
  • Greeting: Interview Introductions; "This is Pam. Her son is Kevin and he likes reading."
  • Sharing: Around the circle share--Share one thing you like to do for yourself
  • Activity: Table for... I posted about this below.
  • Message: Welcome Parents! Thank you for coming today. While you are waiting feel free to look around our room until we're ready to start. If you have a question please write it on a sticky note and put it here -->
Questions:
  1. Yes, what about parents who arrive late?
  2. What about having enough chairs? (I have a ton of parents come!)
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Old 08-21-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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I think these ideas are great! I like the ideas posted by happygirl444. I really like the idea of having everyone introduce themselves. Then it's not just me talking at them all the time. Would probably build much more of a community for the parents!
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Do it!!!!
Old 08-22-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
1) Not everyone is going to arrive at the same time
This is a pretty easy fix... Tell them what time to arrive! Send home a note and ask them to be prompt. Tell them why... "I am excited to change my Open House presentation this year. This year, I'd like to offer you the opportunity to participate in a Morning Meeting, just like your child does every day! We will begin promptly at______. Feel free to come a few minutes early to grab an informational folder and a seat in our Meeting Circle! I look forward to seeing you there!" You should also have an interactive piece on the Message for them so as they come in, they can read the Morning Message, answer the question, walk around the room (sight see!) and find a seat. Last year, I placed a folder on each chair. In the folder, I had all the info that I wanted parents to have. Each folder had the child's name and photo on the front. It helped when parents introduced themselves to match a name and face to each child/parent.

Quote:
Morning meetings take all year to build a certain level of trust and you're going to have a hard time getting parents willing to participate in such a short time.
This one just needs to be frmed differently...

Our children come into our classroom in much the same social and emotional state as our parents will on back to school night. Just as we begin MM in our classroom with low-stress (or safe) activities and greetings, we need to do the same for the adults. We should be mindful to pick "safe" greetings and activities that don't put our parents in any kind of social discomfort... after all, that is kind of the point of Responsive Classroom! To take care of our children emotionally and socially... we should obviously do the same with our parents! If you are careful to pick greetings and activities that are non-threatening, it will be fine.

I can tell you that I have given 16 Open House presentations...from Power Points to co-teaching presentations to finally Morning Meeting Style and last year was the FIRST time I received applause at the end of the Morning Meeting...applause! It was amazing.

Parents were so responsive, appreciative and engaged. There were no "glassy-eyed" parents in the house. They loved it and I loved it.

Please try it.

Set the chairs up in a circle.
Have your Morning Message ready just like you would for a Morning Meeting. I added "What one burning question do you hope I answer tonight?"
Greeting: "Please stand up and greet as many people in the circle as you can in one minute." (One Minute Greeting).
Activity: "Please turn and talk to the parent next to you. What is the one most important goal that you have for your child when he/she graduates from High School?" Then you have the parents report out about each other's ideas. You record them. Now, when you review them, you will notice that all of the goals pertain to being well-rounded, a good person, kind, caring, happy... Tell the parents that you hope to achieve this through the RC approach as well as your District's Curriculum Goals and Standards.
Now you can launch into your "speech" or main ideas that you hope to get across for the evening. Finish up by thanking everyone for coming and then you can talk and mingle as needed.

Good luck. It was the best thing I ever changed about my Open House!

Mrs. R


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Parent Morning Meeting
Old 08-22-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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I was recently at an RCII course and our leader suggested that you should prepare the parents prior to coming to "information night" that they will be having a "morning meeting". You could do this by asking the children to teach their parents the greeting and activity that you would be using at the meeting. If you teach the kids first and they practice it, they will become experts and be able to teach their parents. This way this kind of format will not be a surprise for the parents.

The morning message for the parents could include a message telling a little about yourself and responsive classroom. At the bottom of the message you could ask parents to write on a sticky any questions that they have for you. Make sure that they put their names on the sticky.

The last part of the meeting could be used for answering the questions. If you run out of time, you can tell the parents that, because you have their names on the sticky, you will email them with an answer to their question(s).

Oh yeah, she also said that ahead of time she made a packet up for parents that they could take home and read. This packet contains info about classroom procedures and responsive classroom, etc.

I hope I've helped. I am planning on doing this for my open house, too, and it will be my first time doing so. I haven't even begun school yet so I have time to plan for it. I hope I've helped.
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Looking for a PPt presentation
Old 08-22-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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These are such great ideas! I would love to include a short power point pres. as well. Does anyone have any ideas or maybe even one I could look at?? I teach pre k.
THANKS!!
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Question
Old 08-22-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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What about all of the nitty gritty? We have ours before we come back to school to ease the transition because a lot of parents are new or it is their first experience with whole day school (and therefore a lot of the procedures). I'm going to do it MM style BUT I'm thinking of all of the stuff I have to go over...curriculum goals, arrival procedures, snacks, lunch, etc. I feel like I will have this great MM presentation and then it will all go downhill as I talk on and on about all of the procedures and curriculum I need to cover. Any suggestions or is that the way you guys and gals generally do it?
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I type it all out
Old 08-22-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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and staple it into 2 booklets for the parents- one with procedures and one with philosophy/curriculum. then after the MM I make sure everyone has the booklets and I explain what it is. then I just run through it highlighting a few particularly important items, and answering questions as they come up!
BUT...I'd really like to do it this year as a quick power point presentation... I don't think I'll have enough time to get it together. next year (sigh)
hey, instead of talking on and on about procedures, you could always sing it got enough music in your MM??
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Happy!
Old 08-23-2009, 05:46 AM
 
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My question is... are you required to go over all the routines with the parents? You'll be teaching the children those routines in-class, so I'm not sure why you feel that you need to tell the parents about arrival procedures, snacks, lunch etc.

I put all the information into a packet as well (how to order lunch, bring in a healthy snack, where to meet before school starts each day) in a packet and mail it out with my welcome letter as soon as I get my list for the year. Then I just put the curriculum information in a packet for the Open House.

I hear what you are saying about having this great MM and then going into a whole thing about lunch, snack etc... but if you have to do it this way this year, just make some notes for yourself for next year. Always remember this is a learning process and a little RC is never wrong! Do what you can and fix it to do more next summer!

Oh! This just came to me. What if you typed up a sheet with that infor about snacks and lunches and sent it home on the first day? What if you tell the parents that that information will come home the first day of school and to be on the lookout? It may not be ideal, but it will allow yout ohave less of that stuff to talk about at the Open House...


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Old 08-23-2009, 06:06 AM
 
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Well, now I'm not sure if I need to go over it all. The procedures are things that parents must do. School lunch accounts, emergency closure information, drop-off and pick-up procedures, dress code, allergy snack restrictions, etc. It's mainly "main office stuff" that takes up so much time.

I guess I don't need to go over everything. Do you think it would be okay to say, "Skim through this page for 30 seconds and see if you have any questions"? Then I'll highlight what is important and see if they have any questions. It IS all in writing already and then I'd have time to go over the stuff I think is important--curriculum, reading strategies, and how they can help their child.

P.S. I'm SO excited about doing MM with them! My teammates might not be happy so I'll have to think of a way to break it to them...
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:12 AM
 
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Also, you should be able to have a mentor for at least three years!! Obviously, I still need one. They should just give me the money and I'll pay it to you guys! Thanks for the help!
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:52 AM
 
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Yes, I'd love to go to the training too! I was also planning to put all the routine stuff as a class handouts.
My back to School (Parent Night) is about 2 weeks after school starts so it's almost too late to talk about procedures, but that's how it was done for eons until this year!!
Parents get glassy eyed when I keep telling them on and on about procedures, curriculum, etc. I write a letter to my students at the beginning of the year and tell them about curriculum anyways. Plus my kiddos are in fifth grade, so it's the same old thing.

I'm so glad that I can come here for advice!
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Glassy-eyed...
Old 08-23-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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It is so true!

Does your school have a handbook that has all that "stuff" in it?

Here's another thought. What if you create a Scavenger Hunt about the things in the Handbook that you'd like parents to really read? Maybe you can give it as a Parent Homework Assignment and have a "prize" for each parent that completes it. Make up your own prize (I'll give you a couple options; a No Homework Pass for their child; RC "goodie" like an article you can print for them to read...) Or is that too corny and too much work for this????

Beagles: We have Open House on Sept 30th this year! It is so way late... too late in my opinion. But for some reason, they scheduled it that late. I agree, it is too late to go over those procedures that already have been happening. I am glad I am holding Hopes and Dreams Conferences before school even gets started this year!
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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My school gives out a spiral bound school calendar with school procedures. But I prepared them my own class routines and things like that. We don't have a school-wide discipline plan, and we are required to create one each year and send them home to the parents the first week.
I have to think how I can put 27+ chairs in a circle!
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