Saturday, September 3, 2016

Flipping Back To School Night

This year our 6th grade team decided to take a risk, and try something new.... We Flipped our Back to School night! And it was a huge success!

Our rationale for doing a "Flipped" Back to School Night (BTSN) was to have parents watch our usual presentations at home, before they came to BTSN. Then, when they came to our classrooms on the actual night, we would have time to engage and interact with the parents - build relationships and have conversations that revolved around their kids, our passion for teaching, and the expectations for learning this year. It would give us the chance to get to know parents, and make those connections with them as partners in their child's education.

And it was awesome! Here is how we did it.

First, we are not tech gurus. None of us have savvy video production skills. So we used our Google Slides Presentation and Screencast-O-Matic to record ourselves narrating our slides. To make it easier and more manageable, we divided up the slides between us and each of us wrote the script for those slides. We recorded them individually, and then posted the videos to YouTube. From there, we were able to create a playlist (using our Teacher GAFE accounts) and add the videos to our own, individual playlists. We emailed parents the link to the playlist about 4 days before the BTSN and asked them to watch the videos in advance of coming to the classrooms. Here is what mine looked like.

Next, we had to figure out what to do when the parents showed up. This is where we diverged a little bit (I don't see anything wrong with that, by the way). Some of the teachers in my grade level choose to play a Kahoot with the parents, to review some of the most pertinent information from the videos. That was a huge hit! I decided to have my parents work on a collaborative slide deck and leave selfies for their kids. That was very fun, too! All of us chose to do a short presentation about ourselves using either slides or Smores since we did not include personal information about ourselves in our videos. We also had sign ups for Fall Conferences and Volunteers. 

I did "present" to parents for the first 15 minutes. But after that, I had the parents work on their selfies or sign ups while I started walking around.  The best part of flipping the BTSN was that I was able to walk around and talk to parents. Shake hands, mingle, get to know the parents a little bit. Give them an opportunity to ask me any questions. And just chat. We had the opportunity to build those positive relationships that are so important at the beginning of the year. I got to talk to most of the parents in my class. And I actually stayed longer than the allotted time just to be able to talk to parents. Instead of ushering parents out at the end of the night, the principal had to tell ME to leave!

After doing this Flipped BTSN I can't see going back to standing up in front of the parents for 40 minutes, reading my slides, and talking at them. It's too passive. It's boring for parents - and me. I would like to continue to work on finding ways to engage them during the BTSN and of course, having time to just walk around and get to know them better while building positive relationships.

Have you tried Flipping your BTSN? If you have, what did you do during the evening?

If you end up trying it, let me know how it goes!

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