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Back to School Night Activities

Blog Posts, Fall, Other/Misc, Seasonal, Special Events, Teacher Tips

Written by: Krys Warstillo

Dust off your teacher wardrobe and paste on your biggest smile because it’s time for some Back to School Night activities! If you’re a veteran teacher you know the drill well. This is a night of meeting and orienting the adults that raise those cute faces that fill your classroom. If you’re a new teacher, this night can bring a lot of jitters. Not to worry! Seasoned vet or fresh and new, this post will give you some great ideas for Back to School/Meet the Teacher Night. 

back to school night activities and ideas

Back to School night can be very different depending on how your school structures it for parents. In some schools Back to School Night is more of a hop from one classroom to the next at your own pace situation. At others there are blocks of time for each teacher so they can present information to parents all at once. Check with members of your team to learn how yours is structured and use the following tips in a way that works for you and your school. 

Back to School Night Activities: Goals

First, let’s set goals for the night. What do you want the adults that visit your classroom to leave with? What information will they have left with you to make the first days of school run smoothly? You’re definitely going to want the following information. 

  • What is the best contact information? 
  • Who has legal custody of the child? With this, you will know who you are allowed to communicate with. 
  • What language is spoken by the adults you will contact? This is good to know in case you need a translator for home phone calls.
  • Does the student have any allergies or health concerns you should know about?
  • How will the student be getting home on the first day?
welcome station for back to school night
Photo Credit: Heather Rathman

Knowing these basic pieces of information will be so helpful when beginning your year. Some teachers send home questionnaires with parents but I’ve found that getting them back isn’t always easy. Gathering this information while adults are physically in your classroom guarantees you’ll have it when you need it 

Back to School Night Activities: The Set-Up

One of the expectations of Meet the Teacher or Back to School Night is that you’ll form connections with the families of your students. Just like in class, getting one-on-one time requires everyone else to know what to do and being able to do it independently. Setting up stations around your class can make this easy to accomplish. 

back to school night classroom set up ideas
Photo Credit: Andrea Rust Silva

Station 1: Fun Activity for Kids

Have a station dedicated to an activity that kids can do on their own. This will keep them occupied while you talk to the adults. Keep in mind that some families bring along younger/older siblings to each classroom. Some good ideas that appeal to a wide range of ages are coloring pages, manipulatives like pattern blocks, or legos. 

get to know your new teacher scavenger hunt for kids on back to school night
Photo Credit: Wendy Berenice Alanis

Station 2: Sign In

With the kids busy, adults can now focus on completing their sign-in sheet. This is the short form I give them that asks for all the information mentioned above. Remember that part of Back to School Night is making everyone feel welcome in your classroom. Having copies of each form in the languages that are commonly spoken by the population serves you in this mission.  

Station 3: Supply Drop

If possible, ask adults to bring in supplies during your Back to School Night activites. It makes the first day of school SO MUCH less chaotic. Create signs telling adults or students where to put everything and you’ll have organized piles created for you! 

supply drop off station for back to school night
Photo Credit: Heather Rathman

Station 4: Digital Check-In

This is a station I ALWAYS include in my Back to School Night. Getting caretakers connected to whatever online portal your school uses is important and can be a big hurdle for some. At this station post the directions for how to download any necessary apps and have login information ready. Help any families that are struggling to connect and quickly show them how to use the app. Most education portals have instructions ready to print in multiple languages. Make sure to have options available depending on your population. 

Station 5: Take Homes

This station is a good place to give parents a folder with all the information they’ll need for the year. These folders can include an About Me page, class rules, procedures, and login information for any online portals you use. Including a more detailed questionnaire in these take-home folders for adults to fill out at their convenience can be a great way to gather more detailed information on your students. This can include information like goals for the year, academic expectations, and likes/dislikes.

take home ideas for parents on back to school night
Photo Credit: Jordan McKinney

Many teachers in our Facebook group suggest giving out small gifts to students to get them excited for the first day. The gifts aren’t required but add a sense of excitement to a day that makes so many kids nervous. One teacher said, “I give students a back to school gift which is a QR code of me reading a story, jitter glitter (to put under their pillow the night before school), and a snack with a cute card attached.” What a fantastic idea!

its going to be a beary fun year student gifts for back to school night
Photo Credit: Melissa Meyer McCoy

Here are some more ideas from teachers in our community.

  • Supplies like bookmarks, erasers, or pencils that match your class theme
  • A friendship bracelet to create a sense of family on the first day
  • Small snacks with cute sayings welcoming them to their new grade 
  • A glow-in-the-dark star to hang from their bedroom ceiling to make a first day of school wish on

Back to School Night Activities

Don’t let Back to School or Meet the Teacher Night psyche you out. Remember, keep the big goals of this night in mind to ensure that your families are getting everything they need.

Looking for more back to school prep ideas? Check out this post for some practical ways to set yourself up for a smooth transition into a new school year.

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back to school night activities and ideas

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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