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Back-to-School Night Coming Up? Parents Will Flip Over These AP® Teachers’ Solutions

Ken Back-to-school events for parents are more widely attended than ever before. Every September, parents fill classrooms at their children’s schools for the opportunity to get face time with faculty.  To find out the latest parent management strategies, Learningpod turned to some veteran AP teachers. Here are some ideas they use to make the annual meeting a win-win.

Flipped Back-to-School Night

AP® teachers Frank Franz and Ken Halla from Fairfax County, Virginia, implement the latest teaching trends in their classes. Very pleased with the success of flipped classroom techniques in AP Micro/Macroeconomics and AP U.S. Government and Politics, they now turn Back-to-School night upside down. Before the big night, students text mom and dad with a URL. The link connects them with a video on which the teachers delineate key content areas, showcase e-books, and explain their homework-reminder systems. This year, Ken, who teaches at Hayfield Secondary School, included a clip from an actual video lesson, while Frank, on the faculty at James Madison High School, shared his standards-based student grading.  In addition to watching the video, parents are asked to submit questions through Google Drive; Frank and Ken address the questions during the allocated 10 minutes at Back-to-School Night.  

Parents are Students

What we do with those ten minutes can set a tone for the entire year of parent-teacher relationships.

Greg Jacobs teaches AP Physics at Woodberry Forest School, an all-boys school in Virginia. Since Woodberry Forest is also a boarding school, parents come in droves to an entire Parents’ Weekend. Like the teachers in Fairfax County, Greg has just 10 minutes with parents as they rotate through their child’s schedule. He explains, “What we do with those ten minutes can set a tone for the entire year of parent-teacher relationships.” So he relegates grading and classroom management discussions to a handout and leads a portion of an class for the parent audience. “During my ten precious minutes with the parents, I teach a class on a topic that we have recently covered . . . By doing live, qualitative demonstrations, I convince this audience that physics is worth knowing; by using everyday language to explain the phenomena we observe, I convince the audience that physics is know-able. The political capital you buy with a well planned, enthusiastic performance will be worth a hundred thousand pages of class rules.”

As you go through the 2014-2015 school year, don’t forget that Learningpod offers countless free resources, including curated question sets, AP workbooks, and tools to customize your own content. Click here to browse our latest question sets!


Learningpod thanks these AP teachers for their contributions and wishes them well this new school year.



Posted on September 23rd, 2014

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