Best Open House/Back to school/Meet the Teacher Ideas

Discussion in 'General Education' started by VANewbie, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Aug 19, 2010

    A lot of us have not started school yet so I wanted to make a thread about different ideas.

    One idea I found on here was to have candy for the parents at Back to School night. Their mouths will be full with candy and not words. :lol:

    Give cards with contact information.

    Maybe have a slide show of pictures of students at work to show.

    Any other cool ideas that you have tried or have?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Aug 19, 2010

    Our school hosted open house on Tuesday and I attended one at my daughter's school last night.

    One thing that I noticed right away was how long the lines were to get into the teachers' rooms at my dd's school vs. where I teach. Thinking back I remembered that many of the teachers at my school had parents who came in, sat and watched a presentation. Then when the presentation was over, the teachers fielded questions. Some questions were very specific and almost put the teachers in the hot seat.

    That did not happen at all last night. Instead, the teachers started out explaining a bit about the layout of the school, mentioned supply lists and then immediately started handing out schedules. By the time students got their schedules and started making their rounds other teachers had a line of students out their doors. They were taking their time to greet each individual student, ask a short question (what is your favorite part of math, etc) and mentioned the supply list. Of course the line needed to move quickly so there were no 'hot seat' questions. I think I would rather repeat the same small thing over and over if it meant I could chat with each student and avoid being grilled by parents all at once!
     
  4. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I am extremely nervous talking to parents so I do a powerpoint and I'm much more comfortable. I have a dish of peppermints and pass out my business card.
     
  5. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I will be using WBT techniques in my 6th grade math class. To the best of my knowledge, I'm the ONLY teacher in the school that will be using WBT, so I plan to have a video running on the Smartboard showing WBT being used in a 6th grade class room.

    It will be a little weird for me. I'm only part time and - even though I have my own room - I won't have a "homeroom" group. I'll just be the math teacher they have in the afternoon. So I won't be handing out (or collecting) any of the student information forms or other paperwork the other teachers have to do.
     
  6. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Aug 19, 2010

    :lol: The candy works wonders! I also had happy music playing in the background to put everyone in a good mood.

    I had stuff on each of my tables - sign-in sheet, welcome letter, supply list, parent homework, the textbooks, novels we'll be reading, FCAT info, benchmarks, student work samples, etc. I stood at the back of the room and had people snake around the room to get to me. That way they had stuff to look at while they were waiting in line - inside - and were already happy from the candy and music. Everything went great :)
     
  7. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Oh the dreaded line. lol
     
  8. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Haha, I saw nearly 400 people in 2 hours. Gotta keep them happy - the line was inevitable.
     
  9. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    I think what will work best depends on whether you have a structured Back-to-School night, or an open house y'all come format, and whether the kids come. (I never went to an open house when I was in school, we just weren't invited. Where I work now it's usual for not just the student I have but usually younger siblings as well to show up with their parents.) We have the parents meet in the auditorium and then follow their childrens' rosters in order; each "period" is 20 minutes. So there's not usually a line. In fact I'm lucky if I get more than 10-15 parents.

    When parents come in I have them write down one fact about their child on an index card - it gives me a good idea of the relationship, usually, and it kills a few minutes while we wait for stragglers. I do a powerpoint with some basic information about the course, contact info, etc. This year I had a website for the first time so I showed them that too. I printed copies of the powerpoint slides so they could take the info home. That all takes pretty much the whole 20 minutes. We have a sign-in sheet that we are required to have parents sign, and I have them put down emails as well. The next day I send them an email thanking them for coming. That way I can test the emails and open communication with the parents that way.
     
  10. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2010

    My daughter's school had Meet the Teacher tonight. It was chaotic, as usual! This is usually when all the kids drop off their school supplies, so there were bins lining one wall for them to sort them out. Usually, the teacher has a packet on each student, a sign in sheet, a paper asking how the kids are going to get home, and a student info sheet. We usually fill these out while the kids are talking to the teacher. There are parents trickling in and out, so they don't get but a minute or so to talk. Since this is an ES, they don't do assemblies or even talk to the parents in a group setting in the class. I think the only time they did that was a teacher/parent night (minus the kids).

    I went in another classroom with a different family member, and she had out all the aforementioned stuff, plus a scavenger hunt for the room. I loved this idea, because it allowed the kids to get familiar with the layout of the room while the parents are filling out papers & talking to the teacher.

    I saw that a PP mentioned parents bringing younger siblings. When I was filling out papers tonight, there was a smaller kid sitting at the table, kicking the legs & shaking the table. I wanted so much to tell the kid to stop, but it wasn't my place. I might suggest having something for younger kids to do (puzzle, scavenger hunt...using pictures if the kids are younger, possibly a coloring page, etc.), if possible, so they won't get bored while the parents are busy.

    I'm not quite into my own classroom yet, so I'm definitely storing these ideas for later! :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  11. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Yes. Its the other siblings that run all over the room and mess things up. lol
     
  12. SingBlueSilver

    SingBlueSilver Companion

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    I keep portfolios for each student. Inside is all the student's work up till the time of Back to School Night/Open House (Back to School Night is usually Oct/Nov and Open House is usually Apr). The portfolios take up the bulk of the time parents stay in my classroom as they tend to examine each piece of work that was graded. This saves me from being grilled on the spot. Before I let parents look at portfolios, I usually give a short presentation about the class/curriculum and I give out contact information letting them know that although I'm sure they have questions, they would best be addressed during a parent conference. I tell them my planning time and give them the school's phone number to schedule an appointment and let them know that during planning they'll have me for about 50 minutes to discuss anything they like where as here at Back to School Night/Open House our time is limited with the many attendees and less personal. Even though I'll see parents write down the information, few actually make an appointment to see me after they have seen the portfolios.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 20, 2010

    As a mom, please, oh, please, I beg of you:

    Do NOT read from a power point to us!!!!

    I have no problem with Power Point as such. But I don't think I've ever been in a situation where the presenter didn't feel the need to read, word for word, what was written there.

    I've never understood it, and it drives me crazy!
     
  14. DaleJr88AmpFan

    DaleJr88AmpFan Cohort

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    Aug 20, 2010

    Good point, Alice!

    I am planning on using a PP for my presentation at BtSN. More of a reference for me more than anything. Well, that and it will be a great visual for many parents. :)
     
  15. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

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    I do a btsn exit ticket for the parents. They need to write one thing they are excited about for their child's year and one question or concern they have. I love reading them and I think it gives the parents a chance to share thier concerns/ideas.
     
  16. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I hate that too! I do a ppt. but it doesn't really have words on it. It has pictures that help me remember what I want to say. We have a structured night where the parents go to each class for 15 minutes so I have very little time to remember what I want to say.
     
  17. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We do it before school starts. I had two younger siblings pull items off my shelves and throw fits in my room. I hate it. I also hate that I have a class with children that are being "retained", so each parent wants to use this time as a "hearing" about why it was the kind. teachers fault that their child wasn't ready for 1st. They want to share all the school history with me...most of the time all at one time.
     
  18. txteach2b

    txteach2b Comrade

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    I like the idea of doing an exit ticket for parents. Saving it in the idea file! :)
     
  19. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

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    I also do a power point to keep me on track, a folder of important info for parents including a packet of classroom/school procedures (birthdays, homework, behavior philosophy, etc), wish list, letter from their own kid (BTSN is usually a few days or weeks after school starts- this year it is 2 days after the kids' first day). I like to have all the info in their folder so that I can say "anything you may have some more questions about is detailed in the folder". I also set out some books that I use and the students use during the year. I think by the time parents leave my room they have a pretty good understanding of what it is like/going to be like in my class.

    Also- I see you are early childhood so this may be helpful to you. I always end my presentation by reading the book "Mrs. Spitzer's Garden". It is short and quick and talks about about this teacher who is like a gardener- helping her flowers grow at their own rate, providing just enough light and water...some grow quick and tall, others may take a little longer, etc. It's a great story and ends the night in a positive note and many moms have told me they loved the story. I even gave seed packets out one year with a note saying someting like "Let's work together to help your child grow this year" to go with the story.

    Hope this helps!
     
  20. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    These ideas are great.
     
  21. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    That's my biggest pet peeve in life about powerpoints. Arg. I do use a powerpoint but I definitely don't do that.

    The nice thing about high school is they are supposed to follow their students' schedules. So they are usually only in the room for about 15 minutes. By the time I am done my spiel there isn't much time for questions. If a parent starts asking individual questions, I ask them to schedule a conference. I think in the beginning the principal reminds parents that this is not the time to ask individual questions about their students.
     
  22. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    My school had one of the best turn outs ever this year for Open House (and it was on a Wednesday, which is church night here in the South). We had a cookout for the parents--they had to go meet the teacher to get their tickets for the food. :) Nobody stayed a long time in the classroom, and they got to meet a lot of extra staff members who interact with their children on a daily basis. It was a really relaxed environment, and I know our parents felt comfortable.
     
  23. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I love that idea!

    Thanks!
     
  24. rdgrocks

    rdgrocks Rookie

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    We also have the parents follow the kiddos' schedules. I like the "write something about your child" index card idea.

    Our principal is very adamant about Parent Night being just that...PARENTS ONLY! The students as well as younger siblings attending is frowned upon.
     
  25. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    I like the index card idea as well.
     
  26. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    We did a packet of info for each parent. They signed in and got their packet.

    We had a note on the board,Welcome, please have children sit at the desks. I will be brief.

    I told them we planned on having a great year and that everything they wanted to know would be in the packet. I told them a couple of key points and solicited questions. Most were relieved it was 2-3 minutes. Evidently, I hit what they wanted to know most because I had very few questions and lots of thank yous. (They must have been inundated with info in the schoolwide and other sessions.)

    Not sure if that will work for all, but it worked well for me.:cool:
     
  27. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    At my "Meet the Teacher" today, I had a page on the SMARTboard with their photos from the previous year (2nd grade). They loved seeing themselves and their friends up there! I had them "autograph" their picture. Most ran into the room and said "that's me!" - they knew they belonged in my room.
     
  28. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    I love powerpoints, and yet I never thought of having up slides of pictures. Then again this is my first year having my own projector and not having to share and return it.

    These are awesome ideas. I always have candy or cookies. Ours are very different though. We start from 12-5 and we do back to back conferences, they simply wait outside. We do not have meetings on these days, just 5-10min per parent. It works well, but some parents want to talk more. However, the powerpoint can entertain parents.

    At one of the parent conferences that I went to the teacher made the cookies, that was a nice touch.
     

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