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Monday, September 7, 2015

Back to School: A Night to Remember

I have been one crazy, busy teacher with the start of school. Kids have been moved around, parents have tried to hang out in the classroom, and kids have been crying. This is all part of the chaos of starting kindergarten. 
I gave each student their own name tag which they were thrilled to have but I had to remind a few to stop sucking on it. I guess they were not feeling all that comfortable yet. 
My students are adorable but I have my work cut out for me. Many of them do not know their colors and can't write their name. Does that sound familiar?
The paperwork at the beginning of the year makes me crazy and on top of this our staff decided Back to School night should happen as soon as possible. Yup, you read that right and I was the only one waving her hand to say NO- NOT YET. I am so not ready for this. 
Why am I freaked out? I have NOTHING on the walls. My goal this week was to keep everyone IN the room and happy. This is no easy task with the bolters looking to escape if the opportunity presents itself! One tried at recess.
Anyway I have a Power Point but my old teacher partner is back with me (can I hear an AMEN) and with two new administrators some policies have changed. OMG now I needed to go back and revamp this to reflect the changes. I had good intentions but every night I would come home and crawl onto the sofa and collapse. I was so wasted by all the stress. I am way too old for this job girlfriends.

If standing up in front a million parents makes you nervous, create a PowerPoint. I include all my talking points and use photographs to support this. I try to include a few pictures of my current students to keep parents more interested.
Some topic that I include are:
1. Photos of the administrators: some parents are new to the school
2. Dress Code with photos to clarify
3. Absences and Tardies/ start up and pick up times
4. Our homework policy
5. Our classroom rules
6. Parent Volunteers
7. Skills are students should have when entering K (in a perfect world)
8. School Policies and Discipline Procedures (PBIS)
9. Explaination of CCSS and what students must master
10. Testing and Data
11. Email Info

These are just the big bullets but you don't wait this to take anymore than an hour. Keep it short and simple and you can even give them a note taking guide if you want them to remember key points.

This year I added on to this with a parent information pack:
I did not create this on my own (I am not that smart friends). I got it from a blogger who is much smarter than I am. Click here to see it. There are zillions of these for purchase but I bought this one because Learning In Wonderland provided a video and a lot of well thought out options. This lady rocks. Check out her blog and give her a round of applause for her skills. I am so grateful to her.

To keep this stress free I decided to take the masters to Office Max and let them do this. Smart, right? Wrong. So wrong. The girl took the pages out of sequence and had no idea what to do. She was so confused and kept insisting she could figure it out. She made a total mess out of it and I decided to go home and figure it out... flexible mindset. The video made it clear and once I figured out how to make my copier do a 2 sided page voila... my booklet came together.  Picking out the color palette was the best part of the project but not exactly difficult.
My husband is questioning my sanity since this took me most of the day. The poor guy does not see this as a masterpiece and a huge accomplishment. I do. I really love this but it would take a lot to talk me into changing it. Now I need a nap.
I better come up with a project for the walls. Fast.