The thought of open house brings upon a small twitch and immediately triggers memories of the busy first few weeks of school, long days, and an even longer night. Open house in middle school can take on different forms and fashions- whether that be before school begins, a few weeks in, later in the spring, and whether parents follow their students schedules or not. Today, I want to share four tips for a smooth open house.
4 Tips for a Smooth Open House
1. Have multiple sign in sheets
This happens all the time, namely at the infamous wedding guest book, a line forms at the sign in table. It gets crowded by the door, people can’t get the handouts, and it makes it difficult for you to meet the different parents. Be sure to create multiple sign in sheets or a more efficient system. My personal favorite is to create a slip of paper for parents to complete as a sign in. This allows you to collect whatever information your heart desires and everyone can complete it at a desk/table. If you do this, be sure to have plenty of pens. 🙂
Another great idea would be to great a Google Form and have parents sign in via iPads or on their own device. You could easily create a short link to the form and include it in your presentation or on each table.
2. communicate your expectations
Take the time to share the expectations you have for your students, as well as how parents can support. This helps both of you to be on the same page as the year begins. Share what role you would like your students to play. Obviously, this is said in a kind respectful way.
Here are some questions that parents like to have answered:
- Will students have homework? How much? How often? Should parents help with the homework?
- What if a student is struggling? Do you have tutorials?
- What do you expect from students both academically and behaviorally?
- How do you want them to contact you?
- How can they access their child’s grades? How often do you update grades?
- Can students retake/correct assessments?
- How will parents know if their child is successful?
3. Create a magnet
I love creating magnets because parents can take them home and put them on the fridge. Magnets are handy, wont get mixed in with a stack of papers, and the perfect way to display your contact information. I also love sharing my tutorial schedule or other frequently requested information.
- Include pertinent information: name, title or grade level, contact information, tutorial schedule
- Print on colored card stock
- Cut and laminate cards
- Attach a magnet strip to the back
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether it be asking for parent volunteers or asking for additional supplies. Don’t be afraid to ask parents for help. Many parents loose a bit of contact with their child’s school when they move to the middle school. They feel like there isn’t a place for them, or its not as easy to help. Keep in mind that parents now have six or more teachers to keep up with. There are so many cute ideas for asking for supplies or help! I have seen teachers create something similar to an angel tree with tags and various supplies. You can display it however you like, just be sure to bring attention to it, so that parents can help!
Obviously, there are some other tips like dress professionally and post student work. You got this! What do you like to do for Open House?