Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: Start the Year Off Right With Back to School Curriculum Night

Start the Year Off Right With Back to School Curriculum Night

Use these tips to plan a back to school curriculum night! The post includes a free PowerPoint!

Teacher communication is a vital part of a classroom's success. A perfect way to start this line of communication at the beginning of the year is at Open House or Curriculum Night.

Every school has a different name for this event.  I am NOT referring to Meet the Teacher, when you open your classroom doors, and meet your students for the first time.

Let's face it, that event can be a little chaotic for families and teachers!  At my school, I felt overwhelmed when a rush of over 40 parents and students, that I did not know, came streaming into my classroom. I am sure that I had families go home exhausted from that event as well. There are lots of ways to prepare for this event in order to feel more organized. To read more about Meet the Teacher ideas, click HERE.

Today, I want to discuss how you can start the year off right with Curriculum Night.

Why Should I Offer Curriculum Night?


Curriculum Night is an opportunity for teachers to explain their expectations, procedures, and curriculum for the year.

I love how Curriculum Night forced me to be organized as well. I had to think through my expectations and procedures in order to have this information ready to present.

This is an opportunity for you to build a relationship with your classroom families. Parents appreciate that you as a teacher are willing to meet them in the evening to discuss the upcoming year. It gives parents an opportunity to ask the questions they may have about your classroom.

True, you might only have four parents show up. Don't get frustrated if this happens. Instead, think of it this way- that will be four families that you will get to know a little better and build a relationship with right away. These might be the four families who are willing to volunteer for you, or send in items for you. Offering this time for them, shows these families that you are dedicated and committed to their children's learning.

What Should I Discuss?


Parents always want to know what the big topics are for the year. This is a great opportunity to tell them what the important standards are for your grade level and what curriculum you will be using to teach it.  Keep it simple, you do not need to mention every standard. That would be long and likely boring. I just mention the big ideas for each quarter.

Parents will also want to know what your homework policy is. This is where parents usually help the most, so lay out your expectations for nightly homework at this time. I also mention websites, apps, or games that families can play at home to help their child be more successful. They may never go to these websites, but at least I offered families a resource!

Another topic I always prefer to discuss at Curriculum Night are my classroom rules.  I want parents to know what my behavior policy is, and what steps I went through before their child was sent home with a behavior note. I also discuss my classroom and school-wide rewards at this time.

Other topics you might include could be your daily schedule, planned field trips, classroom and at-home volunteer opportunities, contact information, communication platforms (Remind, Bloomz, ClassDojo, ClassTag, weekly emails, etc.) and some important notes from your specialist teachers.

How Should I Present This Information?


First, it is important to remember to respect their time. Start when you informed parents you would, and end when you said you would. Let parents know that you value their time and that you prefer to hold all questions until the end, but that you will be available to answer any questions when you are done.

Next, I use a slide show to present my information. This keeps me on topic and reminds me what I wanted to explain. There is nothing like forgetting what you wanted to say in front of a crowd!

Free back to school PowerPoint template!

I don't print anything out for Curriculum Night. Instead, I inform parents that I will email the slide show to everyone later that evening. This way, families that could not make it, still have the information you presented.

I think it is helpful to ask if young children be kept at home if at all possible. If it is not possible, I like to keep out some coloring pages or word searches for children that need to come along. (Search Pinterest for some free ones!)

It is also a good idea to keep out some pens and sticky notes in case parents want to write down a question to come back to at the end. 

Don't forget to thank your families for coming and sharing their children with you for the year. Let them know that you are excited about the new year, that you have loved getting to know their children in the last couple of days, and that you can't wait to see how much growth they will make by the end of the year. Parents love to see the excitement you have for their children. 

Would you like a FREE slide show to help you prepare for Curriculum Night? Click HERE!

Use these tips to plan a back to school curriculum night! The post includes a free PowerPoint!


Have a Not So Wimpy Day!