Open house is coming up soon. Do you want to create a great first impression? Are you afraid classroom and school policies will bore parents? Here are some suggestions that might help make this year's open house a success:
- Call parents personally a few days before the open house to remind them about the event. Ask them whether there is something the school or you can provide, such as transportation, a translator, or child care, to enable them to attend.
- Send notes to parents asking them to ask their children what new and interesting facts they have learned each day in class. Then have parents share those facts, which can often provide a humorous and interesting twist on school activities and help break the ice at the open house.
- Instead of having parents sit at desks, send them on a classroom scavenger hunt. Have them find such things as their children's work on a bulletin board, their children's desks, the books their children use, and messages from their children.
- Ask parents to fill out a questionnaire that inquires about the areas in which they would like to see their children improve, specific things teachers should know about children, and what parents consider their children's best characteristics.
- Have parents write encouraging letters to their children. One teacher provides multicolored 4-by-6-inch cards and markers. After the parents have written their messages, the teacher laminates the cards and gives them to students to use as bookmarks.
- Have parents draw pictures and leave them on their children's desks for the children to find the next morning. Let parents share their drawings with one another to break the ice at open house.
- Videotape a few minutes of your students working on a classroom activity. Then run the tape during the open house presentation. (One word of caution: Be sure your state doesn't prohibit videotaping students in class.)
- Present a course syllabus in a Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003 presentation. It's colorful and quick, and it will interest parents.
- Instead of holding a formal open house, invite parents to an informal hot dog and hamburger barbecue between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. on the school grounds. This will give parents and school staff an opportunity to get acquainted in a relaxed atmosphere.