Wednesday, August 3, 2016

10 Things To Do Before Back to School: #6


O.K.  Your classroom is clean, organized and set up.  You've figured out flexible seating, behavior management, what procedures you need to teach and how you are going to communicate important information throughout the school year.  

You're probably getting close to the beginning of the school year which means your back to school/meet the teacher/open house night is coming up!


This is your opportunity to make a great first impression.  Parents get to see who their child will be spending the vast majority of their week with and students get to see where they will be spending the vast majority of their time.  It's an opportunity to get your families pumped and excited about the school year, or, to make them worried about the year ahead.  

Open House night is when you give parents an idea of what happens in your classroom.  Providing them with classroom specific information is important.  Your daily schedule, how you handle behavior, what homework looks like and what students will be learning are all items parents will want to know.  Instead of overwhelming parents will a presentation at Open House night, I provide parents with classroom handbook that highlights important things to know about my classroom. 


Parents take their copy home and are able to read and reference it on their own time.  While it doesn't cover EVERYTHING about my classroom, it covers the highlights and the most common questions parents have at the beginning of the year in kindergarten.  

I also provide a magnet with my contact information.  You can find this in my editable magnets and postcards product - just click on the picture below!


In addition to paperwork passed out by the school office, I pass out a few papers of my own.  The first is two double sided information sheets.  The first is one for the student to complete with parent help.  It gives me a quick snapshot of the child and helps me get to know them a little better!




The second is an information sheet for parents to complete.  It allows parents an opportunity to express any worries or concerns about their child starting school.  I keep these forms in my planning binder so I can easily reference them throughout the year. 



Grab these forms as a FREEBIE in my TPT store.  Click here!


To make sure my parents hit every station in my classroom and have a chance to see everything in my classroom, I created an open house scavenger hunt form!  Students and families members work through the form, turn it in when finished and receive their welcome to open house treat!


Also, the night of open house my students receive their communication binder.  This binder will travel back and forth between school and home each day for easy communication with parents.  


Inside the binder I have included a zipper supply pouch for parents to easily send in lunch money, permission forms, etc., a notebook where I can write notes to family members and they can respond (or vice versa!) and a folder to holder papers going home.  I used this system last year and LOVED the communication and convenience!


I also have a place where parents can choose items to donate to our classroom. This year I used some speech bubble cutouts I found at the Target spot last summer and made this sweet little display!  My Madi was the model for the shouting child - she felt so special.  ;)

I always request a variety of items, including recess toys.  I don't ever feel shy about asking for things - this is completely optional and parents won't grab a bubble if they don't want to donate!  I do include items with a variety of costs for parents who would like to donate but are unable to do larger items.  



Lastly, when my students complete their scavenger hunt, they are able to receive their Open House treat!  This year, the last task on the hunt will be to locate their cubby.  There is where they will find their new pen!  I found these Scentos pens in the party section at Wal-Mart for $2-$3 for a pack of 12!  My kiddos are going to love them!  To grab a copy of the card just click the picture below!  It's editable so you can enter your own grab and name!


While I'm still in the process of getting the rest of my things ready, you can check out this previous post for information regarding an open house PowerPoint I do and how I organize all of the forms that go home to parents.

Good luck with your Open House Nights!


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