Meet the Teacher is such an important event for our students and their families. It's so easy to get busy and miss someone or have a family monopolize our time. As teachers, we want everyone to have a good experience.
How do we make Meet the Teacher an event that makes all of our students and their families feel welcome, seen and comfortable in their new classroom?
Some of the things I have ready for families and students at Meet the Teacher are:
A Plan for Everything
Greet everyone at the door with a class list [check them off as they come in]. Hand each student a Meet the Teacher flyer and printed steps to complete in the room [a scavenger hunt, checklist or a map to follow]. Have a quick greeting ready that you'll say to everyone. This lets them know you are excited they came, get them on track and move them along.
Have an exit line. You have to prepare for excusing yourself quickly from long, personal conversations and monopolizers. I like: "I don't want to take any more of your time. OR I'll let you go get started on that list now."
Create a plan for wrapping things up and getting folks out the door on time. I set a timer for 10 minutes before the ending time. Know how you'll get everyone's attention and what you'll say. "Thanks so much for coming. I've loved meeting you all! We're in the last 10 minutes. Please finish your last tasks and get your checkout card to me quickly."
School Supply organizing. Labeled bins and directions for what to put in student's desk or bin. Extra supply lists [just in case].
I have a few sets of student books out and ready in one station. Families can look through them and get an idea of what will be covered. [Someone always asks about curriculum.]
About Me flyer, signup info and Student Info Sheet for families to fill out. (You can also send it as google form if you prefer.)
Class Library: Students choose 1 book and put it in their desk or bin.
A drop off for school forms they've filled out [and a few extra copies for those that forget them].
Choose your first day seat. Students take their name tag from this station and tape it on the place they want to sit the first day of school. [You can do a "find your seat", if you prefer.]
Volunteers: You can do a paper signup OR I do Signup.com. I have directions printed for how to get into that. I have our iPads in the room to use that day or they can do it at home. [another option is signupgenius.com] I also use this for parent teacher conferences, so I have everyone sign up even if they are not volunteering.
Notifications [Remind 101 text message service] Directions for getting signed up to receive reminders from me.
My Wish List
Typing station. I love typewriters, so I have an old electric typewriter available for students to type an answer to one question and put it in the provided bin. I post the question on the wall above the typewriter. "What's your favorite book?" "What are you MOST excited about for 3rd grade?"
"Photo Booth" w/ props for back-to-school pics. [This is last after they have turned in their form to me.] I hire a high school student to man the booth with my phone to take pics for me. Parents can take their own pics, if they want.
Students hand me their completed Checklist to get: a treat [So glad you "Popped" in!] , a ticket to the photo booth and a student "First Day Prep" checklist. You can grab [free] copies of all three here. [I buy a roll of tickets at the office supply store.]