Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Flipping Back to School Night/EduWinner - new teacher, Nupur Sethi

Thoughts on Flipping Back to School Night

Welcome and welcome back. I'm hoping that each of you feel fully recharged after the summer and are excited about the upcoming year. One of the early events of the year is Back to School Night. After my first year, I always looked forward to Back to School Night (BTSN). I looked forward to meeting the parents of my students and having them begin to form a community. However, by the time I got them to sign in, sign up for all the committees, sign up for Parent Teacher conferences, and then run through the slide presentation, time was up and I’d barely gotten to know them.

Even though I’m no longer in the classroom, I’d been thinking about how I might do things differently now that there is so much technology in the classrooms. While I was at a PD workshop this summer, a teacher mentioned flipping BTSN. Perfect, I thought. I’d used the same slide presentation, only tweaking it with current field trip dates, etc. It had way too many words and information to be an effective presentation, and it didn't seem right for a parent who has already had two students in my class to have to sit through the same thing yet again. I started thinking, “What if I sent presentation home ahead of time?” Then, I’d have the time to show off some of the great digital tools I’m planning to use and have a chance to build community.

I’d take advantage of the (mostly) one-to-one devices and have the students leave the Chromebooks on their desks. Parents can use them by clicking on “Browse as a Guest” in the bottom left-hand corner.

The first thing I would do is use a Google Form to collect information, making sure that when I create the Google Form, that I unchecked the box that requires an credential to log in. I always found Google Forms easier than trying to decipher parent handwriting. I might also include three questions that asks for a word that describes how students or parents are feeling about starting school or about entering the new grade. I’d use those words to create a word cloud, either on the fly or to include in my newsletter.

Then, I’d use Kahoot! to reinforce some of the things that are in the BTSN presentation I wanted to make sure everyone got, like critical school or class rules. This way, even parents and families who hadn’t had time to go through the presentation would get the important points, and it would give me a chance to address questions. Near the end, I’d add a few getting to know you questions like, “How long have you been a (insert school name here) family?” or I might use Print-Bingo to create bingo cards and have parents up, out of their seats, and meeting each other.

Now, I would have time to demonstrate a lesson. With all the talk in the media about Common Core and the new math, this would be my chance to calm parents’ nerves and answer questions.

I’d finish up the time with having parents sign up for Remind so I could keep them informed with a quick text reminder throughout the year. For example, I was a third grade teacher and posted the weekly homework on my website. If I decided we’d worked hard enough that day, and wanted to give a homework free night, I’d use Remind to let the parents know.

I’d also have a YouCanBookMe calendar set up so parents could begin to plan to meet for Parent-Teacher conferences.

I know that Back to School Night is only a few days away, but the Tech ToSAs are here to help in any way we can.

Introducing the Instructional Technology ToSA Team

You may notice that the name of the blog has changed. Nicole Dalesio and Genevieve Pacada have joined me as Instructional Technology ToSAs. In addition to helping you with planning a lesson, learning to use a new tool, or working with you and your students in your classroom, we’ll all be writing to give you tips and tricks to use as you continue to integrate technology into your curriculum.

Along with the renamed blog is a newly created website, USDLearns. So far, we’ve created and put information on how to setup and use all the new media tools the Tech guys have worked feverishly to install in classrooms over the summer. We’ll be using this new website to house howtos and informational resources. You might like to bookmark it so you can refer to it. If you have a question that isn’t answered on either the blog, the new website, or last year’s HowTo site, just e-mail us. We can be found at,, and

Twitter Hashtag

We are so excited to see that every principal and many teachers have begun promoting the wonderful things happening at their sites and classrooms by using Twitter. Please remember to add the #USDLearns when you tweet about all the great learning students are engaged in here at USD. Thanks to Kristy Chia at Carlton for this one:

EduWinner/ new teacher, Nupur Sethi

Nupur Sethi, a new fifth grade teacher at Lietz, is excited and ready to start the school year. To introduce herself and to keep her students’ families informed, Nupur worked last weekend to build her class website using Google Sites. Welcome, Nupur, we can’t wait to see how your enthusiasm creates a dynamic learning environment for your students.