The Half term holiday is fast approaching. Reflecting over the last few weeks, I am so grateful for our school and all that the teachers are doing. But like everyone else I’m exhausted at the prospect of another 5 weeks of lockdown life.
We always mark the end of term with a huge cake sale, kids come into school ladened with cakes that their parents have bought, made and decorated. On the last day at 3.30pm the school hall is full of sticky yumminess, we pay our pound, fill our bags and then go to the park and play. But this term there will be no cake sale, no crammed hall and no park.
So many parents and kids are struggling at the moment and so we decided we wanted to do something. We wanted to make the kids laugh, have some fun and show that together we’re getting through this.
Determined to mark the end of this half term and show that we’re stronger together we decided to run an online disco for our kids. Many friends around the UK have been in touch to ask how we’ve done it, so I thought I’d write it up. Please get in touch if you have questions.
1. Planning the party
- Get other parents involved – firstly I formed a group of enthusiastic parents, one from each year group. We then met once a week to plan.
- Decide what kind of party you’d like to host – we wanted to get buy in from as many as possible. So we asked parents to vote for what kind of party they’d like. We used an app called Sli.do and had 72 responses, 93% said they wanted a disco. So we knew we had guests and we knew we were planning the right thing.
- Invite a DJ – we approached a local DJ to ask if he would DJ for us and he jumped at the chance, thanks DJ Andy.
- Create publicity – we created a nice image using Canva.com (see above) and started to promote it widely on Facebook.
- Collect details – we collected information from interested parents, you could do this by email or with a google form. As our school is large I made a simple sign up sheet using google forms. We asked for the name of parent, number of kids, name and year of the kids and email address.
- Promote the disco safely – next we promoted the disco and the sign up sheet. We did this within the closed parent Facebook groups. This was to make sure that only our school parents signed up.
- Make your Zoom call secure – we then set up a Zoom call with the correct security settings. For more info on making your call safe read below.
- Communicate well with parents – once we collected all the details we emailed all the parents with all the information they needed.
2. Pre party hype
We wanted the kids to get excited before the party so we asked them to choose which songs should be on our playlist. We used Sli.do to get them to vote for their 3 favourite songs.
We decided that all great parties have a party bag. So we made up bags for each child including; glow stick glasses, sweets and tattoos. The bags were available to pick up two days before the party from two locations.
At the party bag pick up we created a photo booth and balloons for the kids to take photo’s of themselves. We wanted to communicate that this is no ordinary Zoom call, that despite this being online, this is actually a party!!
3. Running a disco on Zoom
You’ll need someone confident with Zoom to run this and some friends to be tech support, the key thing is to make sure you keep it secure.
Here are my top tips…
- Don’t share the link on social media
- Make sure you check that all the email addresses are parents from the school
- Enable a waiting room
- Disable the screen sharing, chat, renaming function
- Make sure that guests can’t unmute themselves
If you don’t know how to do this, read this blog post here Zoom bombing protecting your event written by my friend Beth Butler. If you’re sharing music and videos for the first time then read this blog here.