Our open house has always been the 2nd wek of school. I usually place out some of the kid's work, notes to prarents, etc. This year, for the first time ever, our P has decided to hold Open House BEFORE school begins! AHHH! I'm not too sure what to do. I think I may like the idea of students coming in to meet me before the 1st day. It'll help with their anxiety and make the 1st day go much smoother. But I won't have any work to share. My theme this year is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Would love to hear from anyone who has had open house before you start back! Thanks PTers!
is before school starts. It's come and go, so not sure if yours is like this or formal sit down? For come and go I have my Vistaprint brochure that includes info about me, ABC's of Kindergarten, 10 signs of a great kinder room, magnet with my contact information. Form for parents to fill out with information I need like transportation arrangements, contact info, preschool,etc. The kids bring in their supplies and put in their cubbies, they bring in snacks (crackers, pretzels, etc) and then walk around the room. I may have a power point running this year with some pics from last year, (if I have time to put it together) They basically I meet everyone and of course there's always a first time parent with concerns that I try to alleviate. Kids are usually running around the room, which drives me CRAZY! I actually prefer a formal sit down, as I then have all parents attention and can share my philosophy, but the come and go teachers won out.
Our Open House is like some call "Meet The Teacher Night" also. It is usually the week before school starts. This time, we are having it in two parts, an afternoon time slot and an evening time slot, with the hope of accomodating more parents' schedules. Unfortunately, I'm scheduled to attend a meeting at our central office and will miss the afternoon slot, leaving my TA to meet & greet. I hate that I will most likely miss several parents and may never see them because some only come to open house.
I hope to be able to take photos of all children and parents to use as needed. It has been my goal to do this and sometimes I forget with all that goes on during that time.
We do ours before school too. It is about a hour long time slot. I usually set up different things at the tables for the kids to do. Coloring pages, write your name on an apple etc... After about 15 min. I try to give a quick speech about basic procedures. There are some years where I do skip it, if it's too chaotic and loud in my room. My big thing is to have parents fill out transportation forms and to hand them our ABC book and other paperwork to take home and fill out. I also try to make a big deal of my apple tree with donation request on it. I usually end up with a couple of parents trying to talk my ear off about every little thing. My hope is that it will alleviate some 1st day jitters.
We always have an open house before school and I just meet the parents, the student, ask the parent about transportation for the first day, hand out my third grade handbook, and just answer questions. The parents only stay for a few minutes. Whatever you do, don't put their nametags on their desks yet. You wouldn't believe how many parents will throw in their opinions about the seating arrangement. THey will try to offer advice about how little Billy shouldn't sit next to little Bobby.
I hope yours is as informal as ours. It's really not stressful. Good luck!
Josie3rd . . . I am glad you said something about not putting the nametags down. You are sooo right. I made that mistake my first few years of teaching and several parents had seating arrangement suggestions. Now I wait until after meet the teacher night.
For open house before school starts I put out different colored birthday crowns, birthday stickers, foam birthday stickers, stamps, crayons and let the kids decorate their own birthday crown for when we celebrate their birthdays in class. I also had a folder with information and notes for the parents. Basically I met the parents/students, answered any questions and they looked around the room.
I really love meet the teacher night, I am able to show the parents they have nothing to worry about and the kids that I am nice.
For the name tags I have the parents write their names so that the name is spelled correctly and so that the kids will have familiar writing to connect them to home. I have seen that it really helps the criers.
I like to have a place for students to sort their supplies, and a place for them to work with their families to make name necklaces and bus tags, which they will bring with them everyday the first few weeks of school. I also hand out a folder to each family filled with important information like my info about a future parent meeting, the ABCs of my classroom, and any school papers that need to be filled out and returned. I also have out on the tables sign up for November conferences, Mystery reader sign ups, parent volunteer sign ups, PTA sign up sheets, and a form parents fill out with their email addresses and how their child gets home from school each day. It sounds like a lot but I organize it all with a "scavenger hunt" around the classroom which tells the parents how to navigate the classroom and to visit each table before they leave.
I also do a Scavenger Hunt during our Open House before school begins. It is a 2 hour informal time for families to come and go as they wish. My hunt includes things like: practice time in the bathroom with mom or dad! I ask them to be aware of the automatic toilet flush and ask them to practice washing and drying their hands. Signing up to bring a class snack each month throughout the year. Signing up to donate particular classroom items. Sitting in their seat and having mom or dad read the nametags of their tablemates. Getting a picture taken with their family by me. I also give a packet of paperwork (class directory permission slip, email, volunteering, a class handbook, business card, class list of first names, a healthy snack idea list) for the parents to take home and peruse/complete at their leisure.
We also have a Back to School Nite after the first week. It is for parents only. At this time, we discuss curriculum expectations and give an overview of the year.
I do a lot of the same things that others have mentioned like handing out important papers and having parents fill out ones that I need back. I have found that a scavenger hunt is very successful and helps ease anxiety for the kiddos on the first day as well as give everyone something to do while they are waiting to talk to me. I will attach the scavenger hunt I do.
You may have to change some things as some items are personalized for my classroom.