Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Want more parents at parent/teacher night and more?

I just finished reading The Ten Minute Inservice by Todd Whitaker (love his books; quick timely reads) and Annette Breaux.  This book is more for administrators, but I found five things I could do myself that I loved.  I've tweaked a few TLAP (Teach Like a Pirate) style.

Inservice #17 was about getting parents involved.  Whitaker suggests personally calling parents and inviting them.  In years past, I've suggested this to my teammates to make phone calls home to personally invite parents in to our conferences night.  We broke down the students by homeroom.  If we couldn't get in contact with a parent, we left a message and/or sent an email.  We did see some increase in the attendance. I plan to do this again, but we will entice them to our P/T conference as if it were a CARNIVAL.

This year I want to get even more parents to visit. Whitaker suggests door prizes and food.  Since my team is all together in one corner of the floor, I was brainstorming how I could TLAP (if I can make that into a verb) our P/T conferences.  We have tables in our rooms.  If we brought them into the hallway, we could have a craft table, a popcorn/coffee/pizza/water table, and a family photo booth (a take on my first day of school idea and I can reuse all the work I did).  I found some great crafts on Pinterest that would not cost much and are easy to do.  Also just having some coloring pages and crayons for younger siblings is great.  This way we are entertaining them while they wait and learning at the same time.

Pipe cleaner Ninjas
Monster Bookmarks
For Younger Siblings
For a door prize, we would make a basket of games for a family game night or a movie theme for a family night at the movies.  We would create a scavenger hunt or reward card for visiting each classroom.  The students could turn them in once complete or in school the next day for a raffle ticket for a gift card.

For the food table, we would have a popcorn container (or maker) with small popcorn bags for self-service, a coffee urn, and small red pizza slices (You have to be from RI to know how good these are!!!) along with water.

Unfortunately my district doesn't have a Back to School night at the middle school level. It's conference-style where we meet one-on-one with students' families.  This leaves many waiting quite awhile to see all of us.  We've tried many ideas to see parents faster, but have yet to find a great solution.  If you have an idea, I'd love to hear it.

Inservice #21 is creating a Student Appreciation Week! We celebrate everyone else in school why not the students! Since I co-chair our school improvement team, I know I can bring this up to our Culture and Climate Committee (CCC).  They will love the idea and create unbelievable things like they always do.  My favorites of Whitaker's ideas are a different student each day get the comfy teacher's chair, ice cream in cafeteria, no homework all week, signs of appreciation around the school, teacher announcement on why they appreciate the students, raffles in teachers' rooms, and thank you notes to students.  It would be the best week ever if we could have all the teachers who join my TLAP book study to do a TLAP day during that week.  We would rock it pirate style!

Inservice #23 is the classroom makeover.  Again our CCC would help tremendously by creating a contest for the teachers to makeover their classroom and win a gift card.  Whitaker notes you need only four criteria to get a ticket:  signs of welcome, basic organization, display of student work, and color.  This would get our entire school to be a more pleasant, welcoming environment for out students.

Inservice #25 is positive communication with ALL parents.  Since the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system in our state, we need a Professional Growth Goal (PGG).  Last year, almost all teachers, including myself, created our PGG around calling more parents.  Like me, most did not state if they were positive or negative calls/notes home/emails.  I would like to do more positive ones than I was able to do last year.  You can get the one I made for my school on my Freebies page.  It's in .docx format, and you can just add your school's logo or a picture.

Inservice #26 is a teacher report card.  I always do this at the end of the year for the following year, but I like Whitaker's idea better. Do it at the end of each quarter.  Duh?!? This makes sense so that you can improve and change it up for the students you have now.  This way they get to benefit from giving you the feedback.  Just like Whitaker says, I have the students fill them out just like you do after taking a college course.  No names and one students puts them all in the envelope for the teacher.  Visit my TPT store to download it for free.

I have so many other TLAP ideas that I've worked on all summer that I'm "dying" to tell you about, but I'm trying to wait to write about them until I implement them starting with my first two days which is still 15 days away!  Thanks for reading!


  1. Tonya,
    Thank you for the great ideas. I am going to read Whitaker's book now too! I am your newest follower :)


  2. You're very welcome. I think you will really like the book. It had a lot more ideas that I didn't share. Thanks for being a new follower! I'm now following you, too!