Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
Have you ever wanted to do more with your back-to-school night? What if rather than dreading it, you actually looked forward to it?
Well, breaking news… it can be done!
If you’re a fan of flipped learning, then it only makes sense to flip your back-to-school night, too. It’s the perfect introduction to flipped learning for your students’ families, especially if it’s not a school-wide methodology.
We’ll walk you through the steps to flipping your back-to-school night to engage your students’ parents and guardians and start your year off with good vibes and everyone on the same team.
Step #1: Figure out how to communicate with your students’ families
This is first-day-of-school 101. The first step in flipping your back-to-school night is figuring out how you’re going to be communicating with your students’ families, and you have several options.
Collect key contact information like emails and cell numbers from your students’ families to ensure you have fluid communication going forward. You can gather this information online using a platform like Google Forms, or if you’re not comfortable going paperless, use the index card method and store them in a small box.
You’ll also need to decide how you’re going to be contacting families, making sure it’s in alignment with your school’s policies. Most likely, it’ll come down to one of three ways:
- Through your LMS
- Via an app like Remind
If your school doesn’t use Remind, you might want to check it out. It allows you to send texts to your students and their families, all without having to share your personal phone number!
Once you’ve got this priceless info, make sure to organize it well so it’s easy to reach out to families individually or contact all the parents in your class at once. Then it’s smooth sailing ahead!
Step #2: Create your videos
Now it’s time for the fun part – creating the videos you’re going to use to flip back-to-school night!
The idea is to do it exactly like you’d normally flip one of your classes – essentially, having families watch the videos introducing the concepts at home and then using “class” time for discussion and activities.
While you don’t want to overwhelm your students’ families with too many videos, you do want to make sure to cover all the important points.
You can use Edpuzzle to find ready-to-go video lessons on the flipped classroom methodology, like this one:
Make your own videos explaining class rules, your course syllabus, school policies, etc. so your students’ families can “meet” you before they ever set foot in your classroom!
If you’re looking for a real wow-factor, you can get your students involved in these videos – a surefire way to keep the parents engaged ;)
Step #3: Send your “homework”
Once you’ve got your videos ready and you have your contact information, it’s time to send them off!
Make sure to include an introductory note or email explaining what you’re asking them to do, along the lines of:
*Dear parents and families, I’m Mr./Ms. ………., your students’ ………. teacher. I’m sending you a few videos to watch and complete before back-to-school night to show you how I’ll be using the flipped classroom methodology with your children this year.
That way, on back-to-school night, I’ll be able to answer your questions and personalize our session based on what really matters to you. * If you have any questions at all, you can reply to this email or reach me at ……………… Looking forward to seeing you on back-to-school night!
If you’re using Edpuzzle, make sure to add some open-ended questions to your videos so families can write down all their questions, and you can have your answers prepared when they arrive.
This is also a fantastic way to keep parents in the loop who can’t attend back-to-school night. Starting the year off by making sure everyone’s included is guaranteed to keep the parents happy!
Step #4: Show off the flipped classroom in action
Now it’s time to shine… and time for your students’ families to see the flipped classroom in action! You’ve got plenty of options to dazzle parents once they’ve arrived in your classroom for back-to-school night. Here are a few ideas:
- Use Live Mode in Edpuzzle to project a video summarizing the ones you sent home. Parents can join by using their smartphones so you can make sure everyone’s on the same page! It also feels like a game, so it makes back-to-school night a whole lot more dynamic.
- Read and answer the questions the families wrote down as their responses in the videos you sent home. Get right to what they want to know!
- Set up a station-rotation model like you would normally do in class. Have one station with the videos for review, one station with you, and one or two stations for activities (we love having parents write a motivational note or record a video for their kids that you can show your students when they need an extra boost).
Your goal is to keep families engaged and actively participating rather than just listening to you talk… everyone wins!
Step #5: Enjoy your back-to-school night!
With the less formal atmosphere of the flipped classroom and more flexibility for you to float around and engage with all the families, you can really make this a fun meet-and-mingle that parents will remember.
Play some music, put out some snacks, show off any videos you and your students have made, and just spend the time getting to know the families on a more personal level.
Where your students are concerned, everyone needs to be on the same team, and this is a great way to get the team together.