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Open House / Meet the Teacher

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I can’t believe how quickly this new school year is approaching. I remember the first day jitters, and nightmares that would quickly set in as each summer day came to an end. The majority of my anxieties seemed to stem from the fast-approaching Meet the Teacher Night / Open House. From my experience I was able to try a couple of different approaches: Give a presentation to everyone, Meet and Greet, and Stations. All of these methods have their pros and cons, given my experience I preferred stations.

CLICK HERE If you are interested in learning more about setting up a VIRTUAL Open House or Digital Meet the Teacher

Pros to Stations:

  • Briefly meet everyone
  • Parents complete Forms and Permission Slips (Less Tracking Down Signatures)
  • Structured (As a teacher do I need to say anything more…..)
  • Paced at an individual level
  • More relaxed
  • Lots of conversation starters… Less awkward moments

Cons to Stations:

  • You will still have to explain the procedure despite having clear instructions posted… #storyofyourlife
  • Multiple people may finish at the same time (Meet Mrs. Doxey is the last station)
    • Parents/Guardians may try to chat about sensitive information while others are waiting in line. (Thus the need for a conference sign up. Simply, say something to the effect that you would like to continue this conversation in a more private matter and direct them to the sign-up)

Another Reason I LOVE stations for an Open House is that they are extremely customizable. You can make a station fill whatever role you need it to. Below I will explain the 7 stations I used in my own classroom and how I organized the event. If you purchase the Open House / Meet the Teacher Bundle, you can duplicate and edit the slides to add as many as you need for your event.

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First Stop: Welcome & Sign in 

I set this up on a table that you can’t miss as you enter the classroom. Here parents/guardians sign-in. It then briefly explains the stations and encourages them to find and start with station number 1.

Station 1: Check List and Folder

This Station is typically set up at the front of the room, near the sign-in. Here parents snag the manilla folder with their student’s name on the tab (You can write their names ahead of time or they can when they get there.) Inside the folder are all of the permission slips, forms, and field trip notes that need their signature. I also glue a checklist to the folder, that way we both know if they were able to complete all of the requirements. **On the checklist, label the color of the form for a quick reference ie. Field Trip Form-Green, Computer Usage-Blue…etc) I also include instructions to set up accounts we will use in the classroom like Remind or Class Dojo. If there is one thing you take away with how I organize for Meet the Teacher, I hope it’s the folder tip. Parents take the folder around with them then once each station is completed it is turned into you at the last station. I’ll explain more with what I do with this folder at Station 7.

Station 2: Move-In 

Parents and students are then directed to move into their desks, write the student’s names on all of their books, and make sure they have all of the items in their pencil pouch. This may be overdoing it, but when I have students move into their desks I ask that they put books, and notebooks on the left, with their whiteboard and pencil pouch on the right, starting with the largest items on the bottom. Setting this expectation from the beginning sets a tone for the rest of the year. **Unrelated, but completely related advice that I will give often: Expectations are everything, and you can’t hold someone to an expectation if they don’t know what it is. On the student’s desk, besides the books and supplies, I always place my Meet The Teacher and Classroom Information sheet. I print this beautiful infographic on a double-sided single piece of paper. I love the flip-books so many teachers make, I just couldn’t justify the time >I had procrastinated away the entire summer> to take the time to make them. Thus the need for this beauty came. It’s simple, impactful, and parents/guardians leave with one page that contains all the information they will need for the school year. I also include a fun treat on the student’s desk to welcome them to their new home.

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Station 3: Technology

At this station, I ask parents to create accounts for the technology we will be using in the classroom. If you have an extra Chromebook, or iPad laying around this is a great place to utilize them. Most accounts can be completed through a smartphone so always encourage that so those without access don’t have to wait around. The two accounts I have parents sign up for is Remind and Class Dojo. However, I am always on the lookout for a new or better option. I’ve come across two that may just fit that bill. Has anyone tried or heard of Bloomz or Class Tag? If you haven’t it might be worth checking out. If you have, I would LOVE to hear from you!

Station 4: Permission Slips

This station I make sure that parents/ guardians have taken the time to fill out, date, and sign permission slips for field trips, computer usage, photography release, social media usage…etc. I also include an example of the actual forms highlighting any areas that require initials or multiple signatures.  I also ask that they make sure to check these items off of the checklist in the folder. Remember to color code the forms on the checklist this simplifies things for everyone!

Station 5: Parent Survey / Scavenger Hunt

At this point, I ask parents/Guardians to take the time to fill out a survey. This survey is sensitive to the student, (strengths, weakness, attitude, medical…etc) so while parents complete this form I ask the students to complete a Classroom Scavenger Hunt. Items on the scavenger hunt include tasks like:

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  • Find their cubby (Number on name-tag will match the number on the cubby)
  • Locate the job-station, read through the job descriptions and take note of their 3 favorites so they are prepared to fill out their Classroom Job Application

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Each of these tasks ensures that whoever is filling out the student survey form has plenty of time. My Open House Meet the Teacher Bundle includes two editable Parent Survey forms that you print and they fill out, then turn into you with the folder. I love these forms, and the little details included in them. In my experience, I have used both paper parent forms and digital google forms. When given the choice between the two, I prefer the google form. The reason I prefer digital is largely due to data entry. Every response on the form is collected and entered into a google sheet. Instead of typing each email, and deciphering handwriting, a simple copy and paste gets the job done!

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If you would like to use the digital form I use for my Open House, simply CLICK HERE to become a member and gain exclusive access to freebies like this one!

 

Also included in this packet is a Student Interest Form / Survey. I would save this as the first week of school assignment. This survey is also a google slide file and editable. I’ve taken the liberty to create a form that I would want my students to complete, but you have the freedom to edit the form for your needs. These are a wonderful way to assess your students’ needs, personalities, learning styles, learning preferences, and all-around attitude towards school! This is meant to be printed double-sided and would work great as a first day of school assignment. You may even consider having each student complete a learning preference quiz like the one here:

Station 6: Volunteer Sign Up

Of all the forms I have created for the Open House, the volunteer sign up is probably my favorite. It’s simple to read, and yet extremely detail-oriented. Each type of volunteer is explained and defined. The beauty of that is likely, every parent or guardian hoping to volunteer in someway will be able to find a way. This form is editable through google docs, so you can edit it specific to your classroom needs.  Examples of the types of volunteers I use in my classroom are as follows:

 

  • R: Room Volunteers are involved with all things classroom. They plan, facilitate, inform, and coordinate.
  • P: Party Volunteer helps plan and prepare for class parties.
  • L: Literacy Volunteer has a more consistent schedule. Work on reading concepts in small groups and individually.
  • M: Math Volunteer also has a more consistent schedule. Works with students on a smaller scale need. ***Concept Support given to volunteers!
  • W: Writing Volunteer: Can be accomplished at home rather than in the classroom. Read through student writing and provide feedback.
  • D: Donation Volunteer. Support the classroom by donating needed supplies or wishlist items.
  • O: Other, Do you possess a knowledge, talent, profession, connection…etc pertaining to our curriculum. We would LOVE to learn from you!

Also at this station, I have my wishlist station set up with donation items “asks” they can take home with them and send back with their student. **If you have a need for your classroom, put it out there! You never know what you will get, and there is no harm in asking. Suggestions besides the typical school supplies: Rated G Movies, Maker Space Supplies, Art Set, Board Game, Fun toys or treats for motivators, Thank You Cards, Art Supplies, Gift Cards: Explain what they will be spent on, Favorite Picture Book, Favorite Poetry book, Favorite Graphic Novel…ETC!

Station 7: Finish Line

Phew….. We’re almost there! Last station. This is where I stay for the majority of the evening. At this point, you get to “briefly” meet everyone. You can ask the student if they found something they had in common with you while completing the scavenger hunt. ***Something to talk about….. Do not underestimate the need to have something to talk about when meeting someone for the first time. You can ask the parents if they have any questions, were they able to complete all of the forms… After introductions, they hand you the beautiful folder full of important items you don’t have to send home with a student and pray for their safe return. **Quickly take the time to scan all of the forms checking on the dates, signatures…etc. If everything is in order, place it in a bin to be filed away later.

One of the downsides to really any Open House or meet the teacher is that you will have parents concerned about their students and would like to use this time to discuss precious details that are better suited to be addressed in private, or they will want to talk your ear off while others wait to meet you. If this happens kindly point them to the conference sign up, and express how you would love to continue this conversation later and how excited you are to have their precious little one in your classroom. Be calculated in your delivery, do everything you can to make sure they feel listened to and cared for, but that you simply would like to continue it later.

If you didn’t place the treat or welcome gift for the student on the desk, you can keep it back at this station to give to them when you meet them. The Open House Bundle includes a beautiful gift tag with a favorite quote on it: “I am so glad you are here. It helps me realize how beautiful my world is.” – Rainer Maria Rilke or you have the option of making your own editable pun worthy tag.

  • Pop Rocks: This year is going to Rock
  • Pencil: Everything is “write” now you are here
  • Glowstick: This year looks “Bright” now you are here

Also included in the pack is a teacher information card the size of a business card. I’ve seen teachers laminate these and add a magnet to make a fun gift for the parents/guardians.

Last bit of Advice:

Remember that beautiful manilla folder with all of the forms…etc in it. Once you have a lull in the traffic or are completely finished up. Take the time to create a google sheet or excel form and enter in your students’ roster, as well as each permission slip. From there mark each student who turned the form in. Then create a hanging folder for each type of permission slip. Next, take the folder with the student’s name and file that in a place for all your students. Throughout the year, this is your place to keep student documents, notes about guided reading, reading records, writing pre-assessments and post-assessments, math assessments…etc. Come Parent-Teacher conference, you will have an abundant supply of things to talk about and address.

I hope this helps you better visualize and wrap your head around how to set up and organize your Open House / Meet the Teacher. I know the majority of the stress as a first-year teacher was not having a clue what to do, or what an Open House even looked like. If you have any questions, need clarifications, or would like something added to the bundle please let me know!

The bundle I created, was created for my own classroom. In it you will find:

  • 25 Beautiful, Printer Friendly, Editable pages (Through Google Slides)
  • Create and edit as many station pages as you need
  • Volunteer Sign-Ups
  • Conference Sign Ups
  • Welcome Treat Tags
  • Teacher Information Cards
  • Classroom Donation Cards
  • Classroom Scavenger Hunt
  • Parent / Student Survey
  • Open House / Meet the Teacher Checklist
  • Display Welcome Slide
  • Welcome Sign-in Sheet
  • and more!

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Remember the Meet The Teacher / Everything you Need to Know about the Classroom Form is not included in this bundle. You can purchase the two forms as a bundle or separately, but note they are editable in PowerPoint, not google slides.

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As always I love to hear from you! What are your tips and tricks to a successful Open House / Meet the Teacher Night? Do you have any favorite apps or recommendations for Parent-Teacher Communication?

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“There is a better way to prepare, because great faith has a short shelf life. We could decide to persist in studying the words of Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets. This is what I will do. I will go back to the Book of Mormon and drink deeply and often. And then I will be grateful for what the prophet’s challenge and promise did to teach me how to gain greater faith and maintain it.”
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Samuel risked it all.⁣

After being kicked out of Zarahemla, he returned to the hard-hearted Nephites, climbed that outer city wall, dodged arrows and stones, and put his life on the line to preach repentance and salvation through Christ.⁣

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Believe on His name.⁣

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When we need an ally and a friend, He is our ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER.⁣

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What’s in a name?⁣
What’s in 𝘏𝘪𝘴 name?⁣
Everything you and I will ever need.⁣
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What is your favorite title for Jesus Christ?
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*A beautiful, talented student at the school where I formerly taught created this artwork 👏🏼 Checkout @emma.st
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“As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them”

– President Ezra Taft Benson
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So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. […] When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us, as was the case with Nephi, the son of Helaman” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [1979], 93–94). Elder Neal A. Maxwell ...

The Lord loves effort. Even when our effort feels like it is next to nothing, or all we have left, it is something. I think I’m learning that the Lord not only loves effort, but through the enabling power of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement… that effort can be consecrated and become more than what we ever had to give in the first place. Not only that but the Lord blesses us in our efforts. “When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us…” I have felt this. In the tiniest ways, I have felt this.
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Loved this excerpt from the #comefollowme manual this week:
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Think about evidences that the Lord has given you. For example, maybe you haven’t literally heard the Lord’s voice, but have you felt “a whisper” from the Holy Ghost that “did pierce even to the very soul”? (Helaman 5:30; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:66). Perhaps you’ve been in darkness, cried unto God for greater faith, and been “filled with that joy which is unspeakable” (Helaman 5:40–47).
What other experiences have strengthened your faith in Christ and His gospel?
Helaman 5:29–33: What experiences have we had with recognizing the voice of God in our lives?
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The language in Heleman 5:12 has always really intrigued me. Scriptures like this one can become really relevant by simply noticing a single word. In the case of this scripture that powerful word for me is When.

Do you see it? Did the verse become that much more powerful to you by simply paying attention to that single word?

Notice that the verse doesn’t read, “If the devil shall send forth his mighty winds,” or “If all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you…”. The language instead is when.

Hardships, trials, pain, discomfort, and all-out storms WILL come, no amount of righteous living can prevent them… However, if our foundations are firm, and built upon our Savior Jesus Christ… We will not fall. There is peace in that. There is promise in that. There is POWER in that.
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Guys. I don’t even know where to begin.... Except be on the lookout for this fun little DIGITAL project to be added today!
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🍋Students come up with a One Word Goal for the school year/ first term...
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“It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities. You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. You are “youth of the noble birthright.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 255.) In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors and how the teachings of their mothers gave them strength and faith. These marvelous mothers taught them to put on the whole armor of God, to place their trust in the Lord, and to doubt not. By so doing, not one of these young men was lost. (See Alma 53:10–23; Alma 56:41–56.)”. -President Ezra Taft Benson ...

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Need a fun drop off for your Young Women? With back to school just around the corner, it’s always nice to send your girls off with a sweet reminder to remember who they are, that you are thinking of them, and of course that you love them.
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For those of you teaching at home, what are your MUST HAVES??
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Comment below! Don’t forget to check out my latest posts for Digital Back to School activities for your UPPER GRADE Students!
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