Sep 8, 2011

Teaching Thursdays - Open House

Welcome to another Teaching Thursdays post! So glad you stopped by!!

Some of you may be having Open House soon. So I wanted to share three quick tips on making Open House slightly more bearable for parents. AND...I stole two of these ideas from non-math teachers! See- you can totally learn from other teachers outside your subject area. :)

Message to the Students
When I was teaching in Lewisville I was lucky to have met Mr. Serge Moreno who taught Spanish. (Hola, Serge!!!). He is the sweetest guy you will ever meet...and funny too! He is probably one of the best teachers I have seen and he truly cares about his students. I am so sad I only got to teach with him for just over a year. Randomly, I had two of his sweet nephews in my class when I was teaching in Frisco! Anyways, I stole this idea from him and did this almost every year for Open House.

I put a large piece of butcher paper on the back wall and set out a box of markers. As parents stopped by I told them to leave a message to their student on the back wall so the students know they are supported by their parents. Some parents were hesitant (and some didn't do it which still baffles me) but by the end of the night there were tons of messages to students. Well, tons means about 15 because high school parents don't seem to attend Open Houses. Some messages were really funny, some serious, and some were from younger siblings. When the students saw the messages the next day you could just tell they were excited even if they were trying to act cool in front of their friends. I left them up most of the year and even I still liked reading those notes at the end of the year.

If I did this again, depending on the schedule of Open House, I might have out small sheets of colored paper on the desks, have parents write the notes there and hang them up later. I wonder if they would be more apt to participate this way??

Open House was always later in the evening for us and around dinner time. So I always brought candy or snacks to Open House and set them out near the sign-in sheet. Probably deep down I did this for myself because I love candy but let's pretend I did this out of the goodness of my heart. I think one year Open House was on my birthday so I even had cake in my classroom. Either way, those snacks were readily eaten by parents.

I think I saw Casey Wohlers do this one year. She had pictures of her students working in class, doing projects, etc and put them into a slideshow. She had it playing through the projector while parents were waiting their turn to visit with her. I think this is also a great personal touch so parents can see their precious babies in action.

Do you have any creative or unique things you do to spice up Open House nights?

Please be a fan of lil Mop Top on facebook!! I link up to these parties!

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