Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Open House Tips

Next week will be my junior high school's open house / back to school night. I have been through many of these. Here are a few tips that my fellow teachers might find of some use.

1. Be prepared for small children in your classroom. A number of parents who come to our open house / back to school night bring their children. Some of them are bored stiff. I keep some crayons and blank paper handy to give to them so the little ones can color while I tell parents about my class. You can also offer pages from coloring books [buy from .99 cent stores or print from websites that offer coloring pages for children] ( crayons and paper also help if parents bring small children to parent-teacher conferences too.) I let them take the paper and crayons with them.

2. Just the Facts. We usually get all of ten minutes to do our presentations. Stick with the basic data parents need: curriculum, homework requirements, textbook(s), materials their child should have available, testing, grading policy, expectations you have for your students, extra credit opportunities, etc. It is nice to have a handout for parents, but don't insult them by giving them a handout and just reading it to them. Keep in mind also, that they may go home with a handful of handouts that will not be read. I usually write a lot of it up on my chalkboards, and show them copies of things like the textbook, supplemental materials.

3. Let them know a bit about you. Let them know if you are a "fully qualified" teacher under NCLB. Let them know about your teaching experience. It is reassuring to parents to know their child has an experienced teacher who will be there for their child.

4. Availability. Let the parents know how to reach you at school. I write the school phone number and my extension on my chalkboard. Do you want parents to be able to e-mail or text message you? If so, let them know the e-mail address or text message number to use. Having these available to handout to parents is a good idea.
Also, let them know when you are available for parent conferences, should they wish to meet with you.

5. Other. Let parents know of any upcoming events that you are aware of, such as Parent Conference Week. Do you ask parents for classroom supplies? Let them know you need tissue paper (kleenex), photocopy paper, color pencils, a new laptop computer, etc. Usually there are a few parents who will contribute something for your classroom if they are asked nicely. Do you need/want parent volunteers? Let them know if you will need chaperones for upcoming field trips or just to help out once in awhile in your classroom.

Do you have any other ideas for Open House / Back to School Night? I'd like to hear them! Please share them in the comments section. Thank You for reading my Blog ! Your comments are welcome !