Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ingredients for a Successful Open House...Clone Not Included

I love Open House.  I love the feeling of excitement in the air.  I love meeting my new students and their parents. I love watching them explore my classroom for the very first time. And I love the anticipation of amazing possibilities for a new school year.  I just wish that during Open House I was cloned.  One of me to cheerfully greet each child and their family at the door.  One of me to dutifully make sure everyone signs in.  One of me to graciously guide short tours of the classroom.  One of me to patiently answer questions and jot down specific details about each child that I know I won't remember later.  One of me to photograph each family to capture the memory of a school year beginning.

I know that somehow (even without cloning) I will make it through the evening with a smile on my face.  But I must follow my checklist of successful Open House ingredients to make sure that I am prepared.
  • A sign in sheet that specifically asks how each student will be transported to/from school and if they will bring or buy their lunch.  Not only does this give me vital information for the always hectic 1st day of school, but also prompts a new parent to think of those details if they haven't done so already.
  • A table set up with examples of the items requested on my classroom supply list.  I also place copies of my classroom wish list on the table.
  • A table set up with examples of our Kindergarten curriculum.
  • A photo album that includes pictures of classroom activities and field trips from the last school year. 
  • In each child's cubby I place an envelope of school forms and grade level information for each parent and a small goodie bag of treats for each student. 
  • I have served simple refreshments in the past.  Cookies and lemonade or juice are yummy and inexpensive.
This year I have added a powerpoint presentation that will loop continuously through the evening on my large screen.  It was pretty simple to put together using a free Microsoft template.  I think it is a really good addition.  Some parents, specifically those who have never had a child in elementary school before, are overwhelmed at Open House.  They have lots of questions.  The presentation is another way to answer those questions while they explore the classroom and I visit with other families.  I have added a post of my presentation in case you would like to view it. 


Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I was curious about birthday parties at school. What do you think is ok and what would you prefer us not to do? Cupcakes? Balloons? Party favors? Thanks!

Mrs. Pearce said...

Well...I have seen everything from simple cupcakes to full parties that included extended family, balloon bouquets and envelopes of money for the child! Honestly, a classroom birthday party in KG lasts about 10 minutes. Keeping it simple with a cookie or cupcake and a juice box for each child is best. Passing out goodie bags is also fun. The kids just love that!