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Happy Knitter 08-05-2012 06:31 AM

How to handle parents on Open House Night
I've dabbled with responsive classroom for the past couple of years. I've done morning meeting, created class rules together, etc. But this year I really want to go whole hog so to speak. One thing I plan to do is let the kids decorate the classroom. I have cut out white construction paper into the shape of bulletin board border that I want to let the kids decorate. I also am using index cards to let them make their own name labels for their cubbies and for their hallway work display area. I just think it's important to let them be a part of creating the classroom.

My concern is this: I work in a school that is very... fru fru so to speak. Everyone has a theme. The rooms are beautiful. My principal is on board with my vision and philosophy. But when my parents come in on Open House night before school starts to see the room and meet me, they will be deflated to see that the room isn't decorated. Don't get me wrong, I have some lamps and plants. The walls are painted beautifully. I have a futon and have a beautiful library. But the bulletin boards will be blank and the hallway will be blank. I don't want to spend all night explaining the reason why to parents. Open House is only a couple of hours long and I just won't have time to explain it to everyone.

I thought about putting a sign on the bulletin boards saying something about how the students will decorate them after school starts. I also thought about decorating them just for the night and then taking it all down after. I also thought about just posting my Hopes and Dreams on the door, talking about it there, and hoping parents take the time to read it.

Does anyone have any other suggestions on how to handle this? The classrooms on either side of me are just over the top decorated and while I believe in what I'm doing, and I think it will actually look great after the first couple of days, I know the parents are going to be disappointed as they come down the hall.

Mrs.Lilbit 08-05-2012 12:45 PM

I think what you are doing sounds really cool. What if you got some caution tape and hung signs on your bulletin boards that said "Under Construction"? Or you could hang blank pieces of paper and title the boards "Coming soon: Your Child's Work." Then very briefly explain what you are trying to do. I would not decorate them just for open house just to tear them back down. I also wouldn't care too much about parents being disappointed, but I'm kind of rebellious that way. ;) As the year goes on, they'll figure out what a fabulous teacher you are, with or without decorations.

teachsandbox 10-18-2012 08:45 PM

love the coming soon and under construction ideas - great opportunities for design, too

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