Saturday, August 11, 2012

Open House...If You Feed Them, They Will Come!

I just finished my second week of school, and we had our Open House for the students and their families on Thursday night.  I think I am finally getting a handle on Open House and speaking to groups of adults (read: anxiety, heart palpitations, dizziness, here).  This was the first time in 18 years I had no butterflies or nerves, at all. I really just had fun mingling and speaking with the parents of my new students.

Here are some pics of some student work I had up for the parents to see.

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies
This "The Many Pieces of Me" Activity is available in my Tpt store, Here.
Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

I love these "All About Me" dolls.  Now, I did not create the pattern for the dolls.  I just happened to have the boy and girl patterns from something else I used to do, and thought they would be a perfect backdrop for this great writing project. But, what the kids do is write an "I AM" poem.  Then, I type it up, and place the poem on the students' hearts.  I love it!  Here is the FREE writing template for the "I Am" poems.  This writing template comes from my End of the Year - Countdown to Summer! Writing Journal, available in my Tpt store. Here is a preview of the template:
Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

I also have a couple of tips I thought I would share that have made Open House a success for me.

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

1)  Incentives!  Sometimes parent participation is lower at my school than we would hope for.  When I was first teaching, I remember an OH that totaled 8 people....including myself!  Sad.  Very sad.  

Some easy "tricks" that just might get your families through the door are:  


No homework passes:  Free, easy, and the kids love em'.  If their parent shows up, they will have a No Homework Pass on their desk the next day.


The promise of food and drink:  In the past, I have offered juice boxes, small bottles of water, and plates of cookies.  I like the "party" type atmosphere it created.  However, the last couple of years, I have been reluctant to do this because of so many food allergies.  So, proceed with caution here.


Open House Raffles:  I normally start OH with a Scavenger Hunt.  The kids take their parents through the classroom and show them the important work and systems that we have created in our room.  It takes up the first 10-15 minutes while we are waiting for families to file in.  After the students complete the last task on the Scavenger Hunt, they are directed to bring their completed "hunt" to me.  I, in turn, gave them a raffle ticket.  


In the past, I have raffled-off gift cards to Toys-R-Us, and had almost 100% attendance!  Gift cards were anywhere from $15-$20 dollars.  I know, I know...that is just us spending more of our own money.  But, to me, it was worth it, because it gave me a chance to clearly communicate my expectations to parents right from the beginning of the year.


However, this year, my budget was tight, because as you might remember, I decided to do a classroom mini-makeover.  So, this time, I still gave kids tickets, but held the raffle the next day, with the prize being something from my Treasure Chest.  Results?  The kids were still very happy!  My wallet was also very happy.



Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

This is a pic of the Scavenger Hunt (right).  It's not fancy. But, you get the idea. (Update 2015:  I use the most adorable, EDITABLE, and FREE one, from 3 Teacher Chicks! Check it out here.)

First dibs at Conference sign-up:  My colleague does this and the parents love it.  She prints out conference sign-up sheets for our Parent-Teacher Conferences to be held in September, and lets parents who attend OH have first crack at their preferred dates/times.  She has little slips of paper where the parent can write down their date/time and take it home with them.  I didn't do this on Thursday, but will definitely try to do it next year. (Update 2015: Here is how I did this!)


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

My parents love being able to sign up for conferences right at Open House!  Here is a cute Conference Reminder Slip FREEBIE for you. Click below to download.

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies


2)  Babysitting!  The last two years, a classified school employee has taken all of of the kids next door to watch a movie during the teacher presentation portion of OH.  This year, she had some 60 kiddos in there.  But, it works BEAUTIFULLY!  It is so nice to be able to discuss standards, procedures, homework, etc... in a quiet, distraction-free, room. 

At our school, grade levels all choose different nights for OH.  That way, parents are not forced to choose which class to visit.  If your school does this as well, maybe you and your grade level can babysit for another grade level, who is having their OH on a different night.  They can then return the favor on your night.


You can make this work.  You just might have to get creative.  

3)  Don't get trapped!  Don't get me wrong.  I love parents who want to know how their child is doing.  But, I think we can all agree that OH is not the time, or place, to discuss this.  I give myself an "out" by printing up a quick Conference Request sign-up sheet and posting it in the room.  That way, if a parent starts to make personal inquiries, I can just direct them over to the sign-in sheet.



Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

4)  Make each child a star!  I use my Flip Camera to take snippets of student-narrated video of our classroom routine/procedures.  I always make sure each child is featured in someway.  Every parent loves to see their child onscreen!  It is also a nice 5-8 minute breather for me!

Just a note.  Make sure you have parent permission before you make your video.  At our school, a Photo/Video permission form is included in their first day packet.  This year, I only had one child whose parent has asked that their child not be photographed.


5) Make OH Prep easy! I have all my OH sign-in sheets, parent flyers, ideas, in one folder on my desktop.  Most years, all I have to do is change a date on a document and I am ready!  


One thing that has been a real life-saver is my OH Powerpoint.  It is my agenda, and I use it to make sure I cover everything.  I have included my PPT below.  I did not create the background or style.  But, someone was nice enough to share it, and now I will pass it on.  I do have duplicate slides translated into Spanish.  But, I left the download completely editable. So, add and  delete away.  Hopefully, it will be helpful to someone.  FYI:  It has all of its original pages.  The slides I don't use are just at the end after the "Thanks for Coming" slide.  (If you would like a copy, leave your email in a comment below, and I will send it to you.  If you want to keep your email private, click on the "Contact Me" form at the top right of my blog!)


6)  Ask for Help:   I discovered this system for asking for classroom donations from my daughter's Kindergarten teacher many years ago.  My daughter is in 6th grade this year.  But, I still use this great poster to ask parents to help out with things that we will need all year long.



Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

The basic premise is that 1) parents decide what they would like to donate 2) take a post-it reminder from that section, and 3) sign their child's name on the poster.  This system makes it easy to know how much of each item I can anticipate.  I have had a lot of success with this system.  I hope you will, too.

(Update 2015: The newest version of this chart is shown below.  I tape a small mirror to the chart to ask for volunteers for the classroom.  Then, I just clip a Volunteer Sign-Up Sheet right next to it!)


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

7) Update 8/7/14: One last thing!  I made this Open House/Back to School Night Parent Flip Book to share with my parents. I LOVE it! I like that they will have all this information in one place!


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Great news!  I have made this book EDITABLE, and it is now available in my store for grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5!  Click on any of the images to find out more.

Here is how my flip book turned out.  First, I shared a little about me.


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Then, I included all the ELA and Math Common Core Standards for 2nd grade.


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Then, I included a detailed schedule for our classroom.


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

I chose a General Information page for my 4th tab!


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Finally, I chose to put a letter template at the end.  I haven't decided whether students will write a letter to their parents, or if parents will write a letter to their child, rip it off, and then leave it on their child's desk for the next day.


Mrs Rios Teaches: Activities, Ideas, and Tips for a Great Open House / Parent Night with Freebies

Looking for more back-to-school ideas and inspiration? Follow me on Pinterest!





Ok, well that's all I can think of for now.  I hope you all have a wonderful new school year.

Until next time,


Nicole 

45 comments:

  1. I would love a copy of that powerpoint! cortnlove at gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you received it, Cortney. Let me know if I need to resend.

      Nicole

      Delete
  2. I would love a copy of your power point. shanarcrawford at katyisd.org

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i need your power point for this . My id is www.bba.np@gmail.com

      Delete
  3. If you have time I would also like a copy of your power point.
    mechele.barrow@gmail.com
    Barrow's Hodgepodge

    ReplyDelete
  4. I always put up a wish list too. I've haven't thought to ask for ink, but I am definitely adding that to the list this year! With all the printing I do at home, that would be extremely helpful!

    Aimee
    Primarily Speaking

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have seen so many teachers say that their schools start back next week. Our school started back last week. You are the first person that I've seen post about being in school. Thank you! I thought I was all alone :)
    Hope you have a GREAT year!!
    Christy :)
    Mrs. Christy’s Leaping Loopers

    ReplyDelete
  6. I would love a copy of your PPT. My email is alyciaboyd@yahoo.com

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I believe I have sent the ppt to everyone. Let me know if you did not receive it. I will resend it!

    Nicole

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great tips!! Thanks for sharing just in time for back to school :)

    ❤ -Stephanie
    Falling Into First

    ReplyDelete
  9. May I also have a copy of your Powerpoint?
    cmorabito@windhamsd.org
    Thank you!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would love to get the Powerpoint too!

    mayra.r.713@gmail.com

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love a copy of the ppt, also! And I love your ideas on signing up for the donations and conferences! Great ideas! I'm a new follower! :)
    mrsbrowndotcom@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd love a copy of the ppt too. Thank you so much! Have a great year.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would also love a copy of your PPT, please. Thanks! Sandra
    Email address is: crbbi1@verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love all your great ideas! Does the ppt you send include the Spanish version as well? I would love to have both the Spanish and English version as I am a 1st grade dual language teacher. Thank you so much!
    Damaris
    sanchezdj555@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love all your great ideas! Does the ppt you send include the Spanish version as well? I would love to have both the Spanish and English version as I am a 1st grade dual language teacher. Thank you so much!
    Damaris
    sanchezdj555@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I will definitely be using some of these ideas! Can't wait to see a copy of the PowerPoint.
    Teaching4ever@gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I would love the powerpoint. Thanks!!
    nicolettesipe@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I would love to have a copy of your PPT
    My email address is rbelrod@bellsouth.net

    Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would love a copy too!
    goncama@charter.net

    ReplyDelete
  20. can you send a copy my way? shatamn@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. I would love a copy of your power point too!
    Thanks,
    Cari
    cmcdonaldsfarm@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would love a copy of your OH PPT. I am always trying to improve mine! Thanks!

    Katie from Katy, Texas
    katherineannwalters@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would love a copy of your OH PPT. I am always trying to improve mine! Thanks!

    Katie from Katy, Texas
    katherineannwalters@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh boy,

      I am sending it right now! I hope I just forgot that I already sent it, otherwise I am REALLY late!

      Sorry Katie,

      Nicole

      Delete
  24. Thank you for all your great ideas! Please send me a copy of your OH PPT. I especially need the Spanish slides. Thank you, Maria
    firstgradecarousel@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I would love to have a copy of your PPT.
    Thanks in advance.

    Roxanne
    foxysexyroxy10@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I would love a copy of you ppt. Thanks so much for sharing. I also love your tips for open house. this is my 31st year of teaching k & I still love getting fresh ideas! smskdg@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would love a copy of your OH PPT. Please send it to mashondaturner@gmail.com Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sent to everyone up above! Yay!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Found you on Pinterest! These ideas are amazing! I'm starting my 3rd year and using coupons for the first time. I'll definitely be offering them as incentives for parent participation. Thanks!!

    -Shandrea
    Life As A Math Geek

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just found you on pinterest and loved these ideas! Would love a copy of your ppt! My email is jrivera@donniasd.net Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I would love a copy of your powerpoint! My email is asteel@stetson.edu! THANKS!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I wiould love a copy of your power point. My e mail is mitduc@aol.com. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I would love a copy of your powerpoint. Email is aggiesal@yahoo.com.
    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I would love a copy of the I AM form

    mscott10402bellsouth.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can download the I Am poem by clicking on the link above! :)

      Nicole

      Delete
  35. I would love a copy of your OH PowerPoint. Flbeachgirl7@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I'd love a copy of your PowerPoint too! Thanks! jasmine.raec@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. I'd love a copy of the PowerPoint too, thank you! Lestasu@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  38. I absolutely love all of your ideas! I can't wait to try them at our open house this year! May I also have a copy of your powerpoint? lindseymariecross@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  39. This looks great! We have OH next week, and I'd love a copy of your ppt. paulatome@yahoo.com Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I would love a copy of your ppt. My email address is cheerfulcherrita@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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