Monday, July 9, 2012

Meet Your Teacher

It never fails....every year Meet the Teacher starts out slowly. I see parents rushing down the hall to drop off their supplies and meet their child's new teacher but my room remains empty and I'm not quit sure what to do with myself.

It seems as soon as I settle myself into a comfortable spot at my desk parents and students and their younger/older siblings come in massive overwhelming waves and it can be a mad house. Kids (and yes sometimes parents) banging on instruments while I'm trying to introduce myself to a new family. Here are some of the things I do to try and answer everyone's questions while keeping hand drums from being completely destroyed! :)

Place Signs EVERYWHERE! 

Before our concerts last year I had students make me signs that said "Please do not touch the instruments.". I use these the night of the performance for instruments that are on the floor in front of the stage to deter little fingers but they are also great for Meet the Teacher. Place them all around the room.  Anywhere you have instruments, you should have a sign. 

Although the families at my school are very sweet and respectful, it is hard for just about anyone to resist striking a key on the piano or playing a glissando on the xylophone.  If you've ever been in a band room during warm-up you know what things can start sounding like.  For everyone's sanity, this is a must do! :)

Welcome Back Video 

Many of the questions parents and students have are about recorders and my after school groups. Since my room is sometimes a bit hectic, I thought a video with this information would be a great way for parents to get the information they need if I'm talking with another family. The video plays on a loop and I included some music advocacy and curriculum information in the video.  There is no sound because I have a playlist set up on my ipod that runs throughout the event but you could very easily add sound if you are making your own video.

This is the video I used last year. I have only made a few updates but you can see where I was going with it. I made this using Keynote. Once everything was the way I wanted I exported the file as a movie. I could either run it through my doc cam from my lap top or burn it to a dvd and play it that way. I'm sure there is an option similar to this in Powerpoint.

If you would like my blank template to use, please email me and I will send you a version you can just plug your own information into.  Keep in mind my template will only work on Macs.


There are many events in the first few weeks of school so I make sure to have copies of any forms/newsletters I will be sending home to help parents get a head start. Some of the forms I make sure to have copies of are: recorder order forms, information about materials, flyers announcing interest meetings for after school groups, wishlist, etc. 

I found that this helped a lot last year with recorder orders. I think I had at least 10 in the first week, which is not the norm.


This year I think I'm going to try adding an activity for families to do while they are waiting to say hi. I'm thinking something along the lines of "How was music a part of your summer?". I think I will get a big piece of butcher paper write the question in the middle and then set out crayons/colored pencils for parents and students to fill in their answer. This will be great to hang in the hallway for the first week of school.


  1. Is there a way to see the video. When I click it says it is "private".

  2. I played with some settings in my YouTube account and the video should work now. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  3. I would love to see a template of your video (activefingersgamailcom)! I am thinking of having stations in my room where students are able to play set patterns on instruments and the other instruments are put away out of reach. I like the idea of a writing prompt (common core standard!).

  4. I am a first year teacher and my first Back to School Night is next week. Thank you so much for posting these ideas! I'm definitely incorporating these in my classroom! Thanks again!

  5. Congrats on your first position! :)

  6. I would love to get a copy of your Keynote file. Our open house is 15 minutes per class period and I was just wondering how I'm going to fill all of that time!

    Brilliant!! I teach middle and high school band and chorus and so many of your ideas are applicable to me!

  7. Hi Ann,

    I have added my Keynote file to the Freebies section of my blog. If you click on it, I believe, google docs prompts you to send a share request for this file. As soon as I receive the request I will make sure you have access to this resource.

    I'm so glad that you are finding ideas for your program. Sometimes it seems like middle and high school are such foreign worlds compared to elementary music but I think we have more in common than we may always realize! :)

  8. Oh my goodness! I am laughing at how your "Meet the Teacher" goes. That sounds SO familiar. I think I may have to post an idea I tried on my blog. I started to type about it here, but after my page-long recorder comment I just made, I guess I won't take up so much of your space. :)


    1. I'll have to stop by your site and read up. The more I have in my bag of tricks the more smoothly things will run, at least in theory!

  9. Hello! I love your blog and am happy I discovered it. I would love the Welcome slideshow for 2013.

    1. I think I may have just emailed you. If not, please email me so that I can give you access to the Welcome Slideshow ( You can also request permission in the Freebies section of my blog.

  10. I would love a copy of your video template! I appreciate all your creative ideas on your blog!!


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