Making Over Third Grade!: Back to School Night & Family Connections
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Back to School Night & Family Connections

Back to School Night (B2SN) at my school takes place on the 10th day of school but as a teacher with 1:1 devices that go home I needed to do mine on the first day so that parents could sign out their child's devices. Since we just finished the 18th day of school I am more than a little late with this post. (Oops! Sorry! But you year...same time constraints. I really need to get better about that and posting more. But I digress...)

Since there are three classes at my site that send their 1:1 devices home we all had our parent night on the first day of school. Letters went home well before this date so that parents could arrange to be there, but life being what it is, I knew that there were going to be many who missed the presentation.

I teach at a Title 1 site where class turnover can be an issue and losing/gaining students throughout the year isn't unusual. Keeping new parents in the loop and letting them know all that is going on can be difficult when they miss the "beginning of the year" activities.

Every year I strive to have an open communication with my parents. I have a B2SN booklet, weekly newsletters, and email updates but as my class has changed with the influx of 1:1 devices I feel like the information coming from our class shouldn't just be coming from me as newsletters. I have so many ideas for how I want parent communication to be different this year. So I started by changing how I approach my B2SN.

This year, with my B2SN occurring on the first day of school I decided I wanted to film it for future use and so that I could send it to parents who missed the presentation.

I got the idea that I would share my B2SN with families via Google Hangout, a member of my PLN on Twitter suggested I use Periscope which was an idea I loved since over the summer I became interested in obsessed with Periscope. In the end, a friend of mine came over to help by filming and we were unable to get Periscope to work in my classroom so she just recorded the video on my phone for later use.

Now with the video cleaned up and with section titles I can share the video with parents via email, our class website, or some other means. With this video, students and parents can rest assured that they are not missing any information. Additionally, parents can go back and view the presentation later if they want to review any information that was addressed prior to contacting me regarding how our class is set up or the basic expectations that have been established for our year together.

While I was nervous about being videotaped, I soon forgot my friend was there. It was much less nerve-wracking than I imagined it would be, and my B2SN nerves were not as bad as they usually are (yes, even after 12 years, I still get those B2SN butterflies). I am excited about the use of this video and have already thought about how I might be able to use the video concept as an introduction to families even before the school year starts.

Have you ever thought about using video as a means of parent communication? Do you already use videos? If so how has this changed your parent-teacher communication?

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