If your school district has already planned to have a virtual meet the teacher night, you might be a bit frazzled trying to figure out what to do. I get it – we normally use meet the teacher night to start putting together names and faces and get a pulse on our students for the year. We can still do just that, but it will look different. We can still give and collect important information for a successful start to the year.
Meet the Teacher Night is Important
For many families, getting a chance to meet the teacher calms parents’ and students’ nerves some before school starts. Students can start visualizing where they will go and who will be there. You also get to start gaining confidence and support from parents, learn how to communicate with them, and start establishing a relationship with them.
Even if the doors to school have closed for now, don’t give up a meet the teacher night.
Your To-Do List to Prepare
Your to-do list for a virtual Meet the Teacher Night won’t be too different than a regular one because the goals are still the same. We want to:
- Meet and connect with our students and their parents.
- Collect information from families.
- Share important information with families and teach them where to go for more information about different topics.
- Have students make a positive connection to the classroom and get to explore it, even if it’s virtually.
Send Out Forms In Advance if Possible
First, gather the forms you need to be filled out by parents (or students or both) and make them digital if possible. You can also send parents a pdf form to print at home and scan it back to you (or snap a photo of it to send you).
If you want to skip the hassle of coming up with your own forms, you can find mine HERE. They come in two versions: one that parents can type directly into and a PDF version to print and send home.
Some forms to consider including might be:
- Communication information forms (best ways to contact, emergency contact information, etc.)
- Transportation forms
- Technology access survey
- Student information form – I liked to include a pretty open-ended student form with general questions so parents can share as much or as little about their child, family, and home life.
Prepare Information Letters and Handouts
Second, just like information forms, try to digitize handouts too so you can easily email them to parents. You could upload them into your virtual classroom or learning platform or just save them as a PDF to email out.
Some informational handouts you might consider including are:
- Parent letter with classroom and school policies
- Reading at Home letter (FREE)
- Grading and attendance policies for both in-person and virtual learning
- Document with everything they need in one place for their child’s online learning platform and online resources (website names, login information, a brief description of each website, etc.). Remember, some parents will have multiple grade levels of distance learning. Having everything in one spot can make life much easier! Check out this EDITABLE ABCs of School!
Tips for Hosting a Virtual Meet the Teacher
There are several different ways you can host a virtual Meet the Teacher Night. I wanted to walk you through my favorite options to give you some great ideas to run with. One benefit of a virtual Meet the Teacher is that you could break it up into a parent section and a student section.
For any option, use a presentation just like you would for an in-person night. I created one that you can check out HERE!
Parent Option 1: Send a Loom video recording for the whole family.
For this idea, I would create a Loom video (or whichever screencasting platform you love) with the parents and students in mind, just like your in-person Meet the Teacher Night.
- Introduce yourself and chat about your interests.
- Give a tour of your classroom (virtual or in-person or both!).
- Walk through everything parents need to know about virtual learning and the platform. Even though it’s in a handout, show them anyways.
- Record your screen and demonstrate what they need to know about signing in to the learning platform and how to use it.
- Tell parents how to best contact you and when to expect replies.
- Discuss what to expect in a virtual classroom and in an in-person classroom, including safety measures for each.
- Let parents know you’ll be meeting with each family for a few minutes for some one-on-one time.
Email the video out when you’re ready for parents to see it on your Meet the Teacher Night.
Parent Option 2: Host a live meeting on Zoom for parents.
Use Zoom to host a live Meet the Teacher Session where you screencast your presentation for parents. You might offer two different sessions so you can get the best attendance rate possible.
You can go through the same things that I mentioned in the Loom version, targeting the parents. Then, leave some time at the end for a general question and answer time.
Thinking on the bright side, I think participation rates might be higher because parents can participate from the comfort of their homes.
Students Option 1: Have individual mini-meetings with each student and their parents.
By meeting with each family after the Loom recording or Zoom meeting, you’ll be able to answer any specific questions they might have and chat with the student. To help you make a connection, you might ask the students questions like:
- What is your favorite book?
- Did you get to do anything fun this summer?
- Do you have a pet? Can you show me?
- What do you like to do for fun?
I’d recommend keeping this brief (5 to 10 minutes) and scheduling them every 15 minutes so you have a chance to meet with everyone.
Students Option 2: Host a small group meet-and-greet for a few students in Zoom.
Use SignUp Genius to have four or five students sign up at a time for a small group meeting. This might work well for younger students who might feel shy or intimidating by a huge group of peers in one meeting.
Introduce yourself, show students around the classroom (physical, virtual, or both!), and tell them some of the exciting things they will be learning this year.
Next, try to implement a get-to-know-you game or icebreaker for the group.
- You could throw out some statements and have students raise their hand if it’s true for them (I went on a trip this summer. I have a pet. I like to read. etc.)
- You could have them complete a scavenger hunt and let them share the item(s) they find (rhymes with blue, is your favorite toy, etc.)
- Play a simple game like Charades or Would You Rather
The goal is for students to get to know you, become more comfortable with you, and make a connection to other students in the class.
Student Option 3: Host a whole-group Zoom meet-and-greet.
If you’re short on time, you can do a whole group Zoom meet-and-greet. Similarly to the small group version, introduce yourself. Share something fun and unique about you, your family, or your interests.
Then, have students do some sort of activity to break the ice and build connections. In my 4 Ways to Celebrate the End of the Year on Zoom post, I shared some activities and games that would also work well here.
For example, you could play some Minute to Win It Games like:
- A physical challenge like one minute of balancing on one foot and progressively making it harder (add hopping, spinning and hopping, etc.).
- Play the Cookie Face game. If students don’t have a cookie, they could use almost anything: large pretzel, cracker, goldfish, etc.
- Play Pencil Flip: Hold your hand out and place a pencil on the back of your hand. Quickly flip your hand over and catch the pencil. Add a pencil each time you flip and catch. Whoever has the most after a minute wins.
Check out THIS POST for some inspiration on Zoom ideas for the whole class!
Meet the Teacher/Curriculum Night Made Easy
If you want to be totally set for Meet the Teacher and Curriculum Night, check out my Meet the Teacher resource. It has everything you’ll need to be prepared for these important events in a snap! While they’re designed for virtual meetings, you could also use these resources for in-person events, too! This resource includes:
- Editable PowerPoint in Google Slides that walk you through customizing your presentation from start to finish. The slides cover everything for both in-person and virtual learning.
- Editable Student Information Forms
- PDF Version of Student Information Forms
Friend, I know a virtual Meet the Teacher Night probably never crossed your mind until this summer. It won’t be the same, but I truly believe we can still make this time valuable.
If you want to chat some more about this, come join my Facebook group. It has tons of literacy-loving, collaborative teachers that love to bounce ideas off each other. We’d love to have you, too!