A new school year is about to start, and in my district, that means it’s time for Open House. I’m glad my district has Open House just a few days before the first day of school. It gives me a chance to meet everyone before the crazy-busy first day. Plus, it gives my students a sneak peek into their classroom. They can also bring their school supplies, so it’s less for them to manage when the first day finally arrives.
Making a Good Impression
Open House is a unique night at my school. It’s my first encounter with almost all of my students and their families. It’s also just about the only time I have them all in one room. Given its nature, Open House only comes around once a year for most of us – so there’s a lot of pressure to get it right the first time because you don’t have another chance until, well, next year! I want to make the most of our meeting as well as set the tone for our year together.
Open House Ideas
You can find tons of great ideas for creating a successful Open House, but there’s nothing like experience to let you know what matters. I’m all for the cute and smart ideas you can find on Pinterest, but here are a few suggestions I’ve learned over the years that are hard to pin but make a big difference.
- Keep it Cool. If you have control of the thermostat in your classroom as I do, lower the AC a few hours before Open House. While it will feel too chilly at first, once the room is overflowing with students and parents, the “feels like” temp in your room will even out to a comfortable level. It’s tough to give a presentation when your room feels like a furnace!
- Say Hello. In my early years as a 4th-grade teacher, I was astonished at the number of parents who would enter my room without greeting me! So now, I take the initiative. I stand smack dab in front of my classroom door (the only entrance!) and greet everyone with a smile and a handshake. Do you want inside my room? First, you have to talk to me! 🙂
- Talk to the Students. I got this great piece of advice from a former co-worker. While part of her Open House presentation was addressed to the parents, most of her talk was directed at the students. Seems obvious, right? And to be honest, I’m much more in my element when speaking to 9-year-olds than I am to a room full of adults.
- Reflect. Okay, so Open House is over, and you’re tempted to think about the first day of school. Wait. Take a moment – right now – and reflect on your Open House experience. What did you like? What surprised you? What would you do differently? Write it down. I typed my ideas into my Evernote app, where it’s safely been tucked away for a year. Use whatever system works for you, but make it easy and accessible. You don’t want to be frantically searching for your notes this time next year.
Ready Or Not!
I’ve spent the last three days getting my classroom ready for a new year and Open House. Here are a few photos showing my efforts.
Okay, so I snuck in some cute with my PowerPoint presentation…couldn’t resist! Still need some ideas? Check out my Open House board on Pinterest!