Saturday, August 20, 2016

Keeping Open House Simple

Our "meet the teacher" night is held a couple of days before school begins. We call it open house. We are usually given our class rolls that morning.   Class lists are posted on a bulletin board in the school foyer and that is where parents stop to find out who will be their child's teacher.

Many parents bring their students school supplies on this night.  This makes things so much easier for me because I then will have a couple of days to put things away before school begins.  This makes the first day go so much more smoothly because I'm not distracted by unpacking supplies and can focus on talking to my students and parents as they come in that morning. I don't ask parents to unpack the supplies, they just put the supplies in the child's desk.  I like to unpack them myself so I can make a quick list of anything children are missing and pick up things they need before school begins.

I have a folder on student's desk that contains all of the paper work that they need to fill out.  I have used the same folders for years.  Parents return the folder with all of the paper work within the first week of school and I keep that folder to reuse the next year.

Inside the folder, I have a "Keep at Home" and "Return to School" section.  I put a letter introducing myself  and a classroom information sheet in the "Keep at Home" section.  All paperwork that must be filled out is put in the "Return to School" section.

I also have a small gift on each students desk.  For the past few years I have given out bubbles.  You can find the tags I use for them here.

Our open house is a come and go type event that lasts for two hours. Because of this I don't plan any type of presentation.   I just answer questions as parents come in. Students usually walk around and explore the room or look at books I've put on a table.

Over the years I have learned that the best thing for me is to keep this night simple.  Students are nervous and need my full attention so I can reassure them that school is going to be full of fun learning and it's my first chance to invest in them so they can begin to see how much I care for them.  Parents need that same reassurance.  This is usually they share their concerns and hopes and I want to listen and let them know I will do everything I can for their baby.

This year our open house was on a Friday and we didn't start school until the following Wednesday.  This gave me the opportunity to mail a note to each student telling them how much I enjoyed meeting them and looked forward to seeing them on the first day.  I firmly believe in having as much positive contact with students and parents as possible to a strong relationship between school and home.

We just finished our first full week back and things are FANTASTIC!  I do have a room of talkers (thats not always a bad thing) and could tell that this week was tough on them because THEY LOOKED SO VERY TIRED!  Truth is, I was just as tired as them!  I could tell from the first day that this year was going to be a ton of fun and I am really looking forward to it!

Have a great weekend!

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