Most schools have an open house within the first month of school. This is a great opportunity for you to meet, greet, and welcome your students' families into your classroom. Students are often very excited about this event, as they love to show off their work, let their families see where they sit, and explain some of the activities they do throughout the day.
For teachers, this seems to be an exhausting process, since you have taught all day long, and then have to return to the school that evening for a few more hours. We would like you to have a good attitude toward open house, since it will be inevitable. It can really help make your year a great one, if you know some of the secrets.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS
Have a Wish List Ready!
Have a fun way of requesting help and supplies from parents. An easy way is to make an "apple" wish list. Use the die cut to cut out apple shapes. Then, write on each apple one thing that you need for your classroom. Ask parents to draw one or two apples from either a basket, or a tree. If you don't know everything you'll need, then keep the apple basket/tree in your room for parents to pick from throughout the year! Let parents know when new items have been added to the basket/tree.
Do not hold conferences!
This will take up more time than you can imagine! Parents will be lined up in front of you for hours!!!! In addition, conferences should be done privately, not when other parents and students are wandering around! If parents press you to answer specific questions, ask them to set up a parent conference with you at another date where you can feel free to answer all of their questions. Write it down on your calendar to show that you are serious about meeting with them. Of course you want to talk to your parents, just explain that you don't feel comfortable discussing their child with other people around.
Don't sit behind your desk!
This may seem tempting with all those papers waiting to be graded, but you want to make a great impression on your parents so that they will work with you in the future!
Don't plan a specific activity!
Most families will be drifting in and out of your classroom. While some may stay the whole time, others will stay only a few minutes!
Have the students act as guides for their parents!
Let your students do all of the work during Open House! You've worked hard enough. Use a couple of days to prepare. Display student work on the walls, put student projects and papers on their desks for easy viewing. Encourage your students to teach their parents about class activities by looking through their collection of work.
Have activities prepared that do not require your direction!
If you feel you need something to keep parents and students busy, find puzzles, math games, flash cards, logic problems, and/or reading games. Laminate the directions and place them on tables along with the activities. Students and parents can be engaged without your direction. Make sure the students are aware before they leave school on the day of open house, that they are responsible for entertaining their parents and demonstrating their own work!
Display student work around the room and in the hallways for parents to view
Parents may or may not look at the work depending on their schedule. You may need to point out that work is displayed and encourage your students to show their parents around.
Be prepared to explain your classroom policies and procedures
Generally, middle schools have the parents follow their child's class schedule. Each session will last no more than 20 minutes. You will have one or two sessions with no parents due to your planning and team time. Use this time to catch up on work, or check out the Teacher's Lounge and see if there are any treats waiting!
Make your talk fun and interesting
Your parents have worked all day too. The last thing they want is to be TALKED AT by some teacher. Give them the information with some humor! Have a few teaching cartoons displayed on the overhead.
Have your information typed out for the parents to take home!
Instead of speed talking your way through your classroom expectations, procedures, upcoming units, field trips, etc., type it out for your parents to take home! Highlight a few things in your speech and then encourage parents to read the rest when they get home.