Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Preparing for Open House

At our building, we have an Open House of sorts in August.  This is where students and families come to meet the teachers.  It is typically during the day (in the afternoon) and is a week or so before school begins.  Open House is also an opportunity for parents to drop off their kids' school supplies.  I love the format of our Open House, because there is no formal presentation; parents and kids come in, meet us, look around the room, organize their supplies, and share how their child is getting home when school starts.  It's always a whirl-wind, but well worth it.  Today's post is all about how I organize Open House.  As with anything in elementary education, the more organized and prepared you are, the smoother the Open House will go.  Over the years, I have just about perfected my system for Open House and wanted to share it with you in case you are a new teacher, or just looking to improve your current system.

First up is prep.  Here are things I do to get ready for Open House:
  • Prior to Open House, I set up bins with supply labels on them.  Think glue sticks, crayons, pencils, hand sanitizer, tissues, baggies, etc...I also have bins that say "markers," "headphones," and "pocket folders."  In these three specific bins, I have sheets of name labels.  *More on that later in the post.

Another thing that I have done in years past is place all the forms in my "Open House Board."  This is a 3-panel board that I made one summer that houses forms for parents for Open House.  They simply go to the board and take one of each form.  It's a great alternative to sorting forms onto kids' desks!

  • Also on the middle of the tables (I keep my kids' desks into groups), I have table-top sign holders.  (You can grab those by clicking my affiliate link below)  These house directions for parents in terms of opening supplies.   Asking parents to open and sort supplies was something new I started doing a few years ago and I will never go back!  The parents don't mind helping at all, and it really is a game-changer!  This has been such a huge help for me.  Because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, opening packaging is difficult and painful.
  • At the start of this post, I mentioned that you'll want to have labeled supply tubs ready.  What I do is have my parents fill their child's supply box and then open and sort the remaining supplies in the tubs for me.  I do not put names on anything.  I do not keep track of who brought what.  We always have more than enough with the extras I purchase during BTS sales.  The only thing I pseudo keep track of are crayons...each child brings 2 boxes of 24.  They get one to start the year and one additional as needed.  That's it.

  • I prep a clipboard with a checklist of student names as well as a transportation checklist.  The name sheet allows me to make notes about things the families tell me.  The transportation checklist ensures that I know how each child is getting home from school each day.  I also lay out Sharpie markers, safety pins,  and "Transportation Tags" for my families to complete.  They quickly complete a tag for their child and place it on his/her book bag prior to the first day.  This allows any adult who may see this child wandering the hallways to take them to their classroom.  

  • I also ensure that my classroom is presentable and ready.  This is by no means necessary, but I do want to get my kids and families excited and what's more exciting than seeing a clean, organized, and prepared classroom ready for the first day of school?!  Teacher Tip:  In more recent years, I've learned NOT to tape name tags down.  Oftentimes, parents will tell me that their child is BFF with the person I randomly sat next to them.  Or they may tell me the opposite about their child's relationship with their new "neighbor."  In addition, some students do not show up and then I have tons of stuff with their name on it.   Instead of taping name tags down, I lay them on the desks.  This allows me to switch them around as needed.  The only names I put up for Open House are a class list outside my door and cutouts on my door with kids' first names.  Both of those can easily be changed/removed.   I use a number system for the kids' cubbies (praise the lord for not having to re-label those every year!) and mailboxes. 

That's about it, folks!  Open House can be as involved or as casual as you want it (depending on what your administrator asks of you).  The biggest thing for me is to be organized prior to starting.  The chaos of having so many new faces in your room is overwhelming enough; the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around the room looking for something.  I hope you found this post helpful!  



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