Are you a new teacher? Do classroom parties leave you feeling overwhelmed or exhausted? Being a teacher is so much work.
When I was preparing for back to school night in September, my mother-in-law, (smart veteran teacher) asked, “Did you print out your party schedule?”
I said, “Party schedule, what are you talking about?” The next day she e-mailed me a print out. I have since modified some of the sections to better fit my needs, but the idea is the same.
If you want to rock your parties, you need help!
As a new teacher, I remember wanting everything to be perfect-ALL THE TIME, I was such a perfectionist. I’ve learned that perfection is not a place you can live in very long, at least not if you want to survive. Sometimes things just need to get done and the standards need to be met. Just because it’s not pretty, it doesn’t mean they didn’t learn something. Parties CAN be “pretty”, in their own way, without you, I promise! If you’re a perfectionist, you can do it!
1. Encourage Parent Involvement
If you want to rock your classroom parties this year, start by involving your parents. Even if you think your families are “too low-income” you would be surprised at how much they are capable of if you give them the chance.
When I was first teaching, I worked in a school that was considered to be “Title 1” and had about 72% free and reduced lunches. A couple years later, I worked in a school where that number was 87%. They were always able to contribute to our parties. I never had anyone forget.
Even if you are a little bit doubtful, I’d encourage you to give it a try and see what you think. It’s okay to have some back-up ideas, just in case you’re worried.
2. Plan at Back To School Night
This is a mistake many new teacher make, they try to plan the party a week or two before. Maybe you are one of these teachers. I was there once too. It’s okay, you didn’t know there was a better way.
At our Back to School Night, I have a kidney table with all sorts of information for parents to pick up and things to sign up for. I go over each paper I send home. One of the papers I have parents sign up for is the list of Classroom Parties. Some schools have room parents, these parents help organize and plan parties, I had very few parents sign up to volunteer on a regular basis when I was teaching in the classroom, so you could say my parent involvement wasn’t so hot.
If you have this same problem, I would suggest you plan your parties for the whole year at one time, when you have the most parents in the room! Back to school night has worked out the best for me, because most parents are excited to start the school year again and are willing to sign up!
Click here to download the Party Planning Sign Up Template.
Do you like what you see? Be sure to sign up for the Splendiferous List so you can receive more freebies straight to your inbox!
Before I have parents sign up, I let them know how we do parties in our room. In my classroom, even in Kindergarten, I had my kids plan their parties. I let parents know that if they sign up we will let them know 2 weeks before the party what we would like them to bring.
3. Plan the Party
Get your class together and have a conversation about your upcoming party. Discuss each category: Drink, Sweet, Salty, and Special. Brainstorm ideas for each section. Here are some examples:
Drink: apple juice, water, punch, etc.
Sweet: cupcakes, strawberries, brownies, grapes, rice crispy treats, oranges, cake pops, etc.
Salty: pretzels, crackers, popcorn, etc.
Special: stickers, coloring sheet, activity, etc.
After you are done brainstorming, vote on which ones they want the most. Depending on how many parents I have signed up for the party, I pick the top first and second choices.
4. Newsletter Notification
In your monthly or weekly newsletter have a little section talking about your upcoming party and how you are going to discuss it as a class. I say something like, “thank you to those of you who have signed up to help with our party. Soon we will be discussing what we would like to do! I will be sending a note home to let you know what we have decided we would like you to bring. Thank you so much for contributing!”
5. Send a Reminder!
Reminders are key! We all forget, so make sure to remind your parents several different ways. I put the list of who is bringing what to our party in our newsletter and I write a note to each parent that signed up to help with the party.
Example note: _________________, thank you for signing up to help with our classroom party! We are getting excited to celebrate. Our party will be on_______________________. We have decided as a class that we would like you to bring ______________________. Thank you so much for contributing!
Also, make sure to call and connect with each parent to make sure that the reminder actually made it home.
I hope your can rock your parties from now on! Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Your parents want to be involved, let them help you 🙂
What are some ways you’ve managed the party mayhem???