Thursday, July 30, 2015

Open House Night

Each year, we have an "Open House/Ice-Cream Social" a few days prior to the first day of school. The kids can come with their parents for an informal meet and greet.  They check out the classroom, meet the teacher, and drop of supplies {if they have them}.  Once they finish up in the classroom, they head outside to the ice-cream truck to get a treat.  Our open house only lasts 1 hour.  When I first began teaching 11 years ago, we had to do a big presentation in front of the parents.  I disliked it for many reasons.  One reason being that parents/kids would stagger in and miss parts of the presentation.  Another one being, the parents would often times have little children with them who would talk or cry during the presentation.  I am so thankful that we switched up our meet and greet to an informal, ice-cream social!  Today I'll be sharing some tips about running your meet and greet.

1.  Do not worry about having your room 100% ready!  Just be sure to have your students' names on everything because they WILL notice if you don't!  Don't panic if your room isn't fully ready.  The kids and parents won't know the difference.  Consider placing a treat and/or card on your students' desks to make them feel welcome!  I do a circus theme in my room, so I give out animal crackers and a personalized card.

2.  Carry a clip board with a class list and pen with you.  As soon as you meet a parent, ask them how their child is going home on the first day of school.  WRITE IT DOWN!  The last thing you'll have time for on the first day is calling a bunch of parents trying to figure out how Johnny is getting home. After open house, consider making tags for the students to wear on their book bags or shirts.  I have these transportation tags that I use.

3.  Think about how you want to deal with supplies.  It's going to be chaotic regardless.  People coming in, asking where to put their supplies, and not fully understanding what you're asking of them.  I display a power point slide on my projector that instructs parents on what supplies to open and place inside of their child's school box.  This is such a life-saver!  I remember my first year of teaching...I was scrambling around the room unwrapping 9,000 supplies as the kids colored.  I was pooped an hour into the day!  Then it dawned on me:  why not have the parents help?  I have found that they are more than happy to!

Now onto the additional {and bulky} supplies...What I've found to be the most helpful over the years is to have large crates or boxes lined up under my board at the front of the room.  On the outside of each crate, I attach a supply sign.  I encourage the parents to unwrap the supplies and place them in the crates.  **Keep a large trash can nearby!** This makes putting supplies away after parents leave a breeze!  I keep my overstock of supplies in this little red cart I got at Ikea a few years ago.  For the free supply signs for your tubs/boxes, click HERE!  


4.  Think about how you want parents to get all the paperwork you need to send home.  I personally use my Open House board that I created.  I print copies of all of the forms and place them inside. After I've met the parents and had them do the supply thing, I direct them to my board.  There, they take all of the forms and fill them out at school or at home {their preference}.  To check out the open house board in my TpT shop, click HERE.  I have a circus theme, but there are several other themes included for all different colors/themes!  *School* forms are placed on students' desks or in a stack near my Open House board.  

5.  Remember to be yourself!  It's easy to get overwhelmed.  Try not to spend too much time talking to one set of parents.  You will have many others waiting to talk to you.  If parents have specific concerns that they want you to know about, kindly ask them to email or call you.

6.  Make packets for those families that couldn't attend.  Meet and Greet is always unpredictable. Some years all of my families come, and other years just a handful attend.  After the meet and greet is over, I immediately pull out forms from my open house board and staple them into packs.  They go into the students' mailboxes who were not able to attend.  This ensures they fill out the necessary forms.    

I hope you found this post helpful.  Have a great year!




Laura Westmoreland said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thank you for this great information. I am moving from a private school to public and I found your blog to be very helpful.

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