My school’s Open House is being held this coming Wednesday evening. While the event is only an hour, I’m hoping to make it a meaningful glimpse (for both my students and their parents) of what they can expect to experience this year. Thus far, I’ve planned to have a paper station, which will feature the latest issue of “News From Miss Hewes” (my newsletter, which you can see a screenshot of at the top of this post), a contact preference form, and a home resource checklist (to avoid making assumptions about what students may have access to in their homes). I’ve also made magnets with my contact information and the class blog address, which I hope will mean that the parents always have my contact information in an accessible place. Also, I’m planning on giving out my first homework assignment — bringing in an index card with the birth dates of family members. These dates will serve as the first entries on the classroom timeline that my students and I will be filling in throughout the course of the year.
During the evening, I am planning to try to speak briefly with each set of parents and to snap a picture of each family group to put up on a bulletin board that will hang above my parent information center. What I’m not sure about is what to have parents and kids do while I’m not free to talk with them. I’m planning to have the room open for exploration and possibly setting out some math games and books for families to glance through. Does anyone have any other suggestions for great Open House ideas? I’m especially seeking activities that will get parents and kids mingling with each other.
Open House is a really important event for me because building strong family-school relationships is one of my key goals for this school year. During my Master’s year, I realized how passionate I am about parent-teacher relationships and devoted one of my final projects to brainstorming ways to bridge the gap between home and school in rural communities. From my research, I know how imperative fostering these relationships is to both student outcomes and facilitating school community, so I am determined to keep the lines of communication open throughout the school year. Open House is the first opportunity that I’ll have to signal how important parent partnerships are to me — I hope that my students’ parents will be willing to reciprocate my efforts!