Friday, September 11, 2009

Preparing for Open House

From the Apple

"You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression!"

Open House leaves most beginning teachers nervous, if not quaking in their shoes. It even leaves some veterans with a few butterflies. These are some of the things that we suggest to our teachers.

Getting ready

  • Put an attractive sign in and pens close to the door or right outside the door for parents to sign in. Afterwards you may want to know how many of your parents attended and you might need to match a parent's comment with their name
  • Write an agenda of what you are going to cover. Write it on the board or provide a hand-out. This will also remind you of what you want to cover!
  • Your classroom and your office should be neat and clean - well organized.
  • Post a daily schedule.
  • Post school wide Behavioral Standards/ Classroom Covenants/ Class Promise.
  • Make sure your classroom libraries are organized with books labeled by genre, author, theme, level, etc.
  • Put a "Giving Tree" on sticky notes of things that you would like to have donated for the classroom. Parents can easily just take a sticky note.
  • To stop from having mini-conferences have a paper for parents to sign up for a conference. When the parent says they want to know how their child is doing, just tell them you would love to discuss their child's progress and ask them to sign up for a conference.

Things to cover:

  • Behavior
  • Standards
  • Readers' Workshop, Writers' Workshop, Math Workshop, Science Workshop
  • Homework expectations
  • Grading
  • Planner (Home to school communication)
  • Your Newsletter/ Blog/ Website

We have found lots of different and successful ways to present to the parents

  • a PowerPoint with lots of student photographs
  • a demonstration lesson where you actually teach a lesson to the students while the parents watch
  • student led agenda where you have a list or flow chart of what the students go around and show and discuss with their parents - this is very stress free for the teacher, but you need to practice with the students beforehand
  • video such as "A Life in the Day of a Third Grader" - another low stress presentation
  • activity based Open House where you set up activities/ lessons for the students to complete with their parents as examples of the things you do in class
  • teacher led presentation where the teacher(s) talk through the points to be covered (often the most stressful.

One of the things that our Principal always does so parents don't stay for hours on end is to come over the Intercom and thank parents for coming at the ending hour so that they know that the Open House is officially over. She then stands at the door and says good-by to each parent and child personally. I'm sure she gets her fair share of mini-conferences but she also says that she would love to discuss the issue so she asks them to please call her tomorrow so they can discuss the issue at length.

Open House is really a wonderful time to get insight into your students. Sometimes meeting the parent explains everything! Try to enjoy this experience and use it as a time of celebration of the work you have done with your class!


What to Say on Parent/ Teacher Night
Way to Help Your Child Develop a Love for Reading and Writing

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