An organized Open House is essential for conveying the most important components of your 180 class to parents, especially when you only have 10 - 20 minutes to accomplish this. First impressions are vital, and they greatly influence parental involvement throughout the school year. When you have an organized Open House, you will have less stress and have more time to engage with parents in matters that are most important. Read these tips and see which ones will help you experience a smooth and successful Open House.
How to Make the Open House Work for Students, Parents, and You:
1. Have a sign-in sheet at the door labeled with the class time and period. A few days after Open House, send a thank you letter to the parents who attended with a reminder on how they can contact you with any questions, issues, or concerns.
2. Distribute a Welcome Kit that includes:
a. Fact Sheets (classroom, homework, and grading policies; contact information; rubrics; class philosophy/mission statement; course curriculum, FAQ's with answers; etc.)
b. Helpful Links
3. Show a brief video clip or two
to inspire and inform your students' parents. This year I am featuring "Reading is a Universal right" (63 seconds) and Michael Phelps video about perseverance, hard work, and hope: (1 minute, 31 seconds )
4. Arrange some rBooks , REAL BOOKS, System 44 Books; reading and writing folders; and independent reading books on a desk for easy access by parents. Give parents a few minutes to view the materials.
5. Allow time for questions
It goes without saying that your classroom should create an atmosphere of interest. Parents should notice the posters, star charts, books, independent reading and small-group instructional areas, etc. as soon as they walk into the room. The goal of Open House is to demonstrate the students' daily routine and to get their parents excited and on board with the work that we do with their children in the class.
Make this a pioneering and unforgettable school year. Create an Open House experience that is so organized that both you and your students' parents will feel comfortable with the challenges and successes of this school year.