Our Open House is really late for us this year, but it is coming up this week. My Open House routine has developed into a really elaborate show of sorts. We always have 35 minutes to talk to parents and tell them about our classroom and curriculum. Talk about nerve-wracking!!! I have created some routines to take the pressure off myself.
First, I create a slide show of pictures from the first couple weeks using Picasa. I use songs from Disney movies and Jack Johnston’s soundtrack for Curious George as background music. This gives the parents a bit of entertainment while we are waiting to get started. It also helps to cut down on impromptu conferences. I have the show set up on a few student computers so that it keeps running after my presentation.
At their seats, students leave their toolboxes, journal, and a letter to their parents. Parents have a folder waiting for them with an overview of their tasks and the evening. They write a letter back to their child, read the journal, and write about their child on a “brag” sheet. I love handing these sheets back to parents at the end of the year. This year, I made magnets to holder student work and a business card with my contact information on Vista Print. Actually, I bought them last year and now have to dig through my cupboard to find them!
During the presentation, I have a slideshow on the Promethean Board. I really focus on reading because that is where I seems to get the most questions throughout the year. I talk about guided reading and “levels”, as parents tend to focus on the numbers. I try to address areas where I get a lot of communication during the year in hopes that I can spend less time answering e-mails and returning calls, and more time planning and teaching. We have a very comprehensive communication packet that has been tweaked every year and answers virtually every question a parent can have.
I also have signups for field trips, conferences, celebration treats, and conferences. I have yet to figure out the best way to do this. Last year I put the conference signup on the Promethean Board and ended up making a ton of phone calls because the parents moved all of the lines and times around. I could not for the life of me figure out who signed up for when! It was amusing to see how difficult using the board was! I usually spread the signup sheets around the room. It never seems fair to all the parents. This year I might put the signups outside in the hallway to give people room to move around the room. I easily have 40-50 people (including grandparents), and then kids in the room!
Parents have a brochure with places to write down everything they signup for. My contact information is on the back. Unfortunately, the brochure is not included in the freebies below.
My students are also “trained” as tour guides. They plan what they want to show their parents. I include things to see in the brochure. Students wear a badge or tour guide hat and get so excited about showing their family around the room! If we make the hat, I just staple the badge to a sentence strip after they are decorated.
This has worked out pretty well the past few years! I will take pictures as I get things set up for the big night! How does your school “do” Open House?
Click below for printables!