We had teacher workshop days Monday-Thursday and they tried to keep us in the air as best as they could (as some schools in my district do have air throughout the whole building). Thursday evening was our Open House and my room was a balmy one.
At our school, we have Open House before school starts. It's a chance for families to come to school, find out who their teacher is, sign up for conferences, check out their new room, and bring in supplies. We then start school the following week with our students. One incentive that helps get families to come is that they don't get to find out who their teacher is unless they come that night.
That being said, I had a GREAT turn out. I meet 24 of my 27 third graders this year and I'm SO excited for this new year with them all. I snapped some photos before they arrived to show how I got prepared. I tried some new things that worked great (and some things that didn't).
I used book bins that we got at a professional development to separate them. Not everyone brings their supplies in this night and they actually were the perfect size!
I also hung up signs for less obvious spots:
-another bin for rulers
-post-it note basket
This ran pretty smoothly and I'll do this again next year. I also posted a sign for what individual supplies go in student's desks.
Families were asked to let me know daily transportation plans for after school as well as for the first day of school. Although this was on the checklist for them to do, many did not without me reminding them. Not everyone did it, but it is a start. This was pretty typical last year as well.
I also tried something different this year with volunteers. Last year, I had a lot of them. I sent home an individual sheet for each student. That meant, I had to go through all of them to make a master of what kinds of volunteers I had and such. So I tried a sign-up at Open House.... and it failed. I either don't have any interested volunteers or people were too hot to stick around and fill it out. I'll be sending home the individual sheet the first week in hopes I get at least a few.
Last year, I wrote the student's names onto their math book on a label and put it on their desk for Open House. One of my teammates thought to have the students label their own books this year, so I thought I would try it. For 1 reason, that meant less labeling for me. For another reason, it gives them some ownership.
The downfall to this: again, not everyone did it, even though it was on the checklist. The following day, I had to walk around, peek in desks and figure out who didn't do it so I could put the books into their desk. Next year, I'll go back to doing it for them or change my check list to make it more obvious... we'll see.
I set up a table with a few different curriculum focuses. I had sample homework so they would know what it looked like. I had a sample RW binder/notebook so they could see how we'll track our reading progress and such. I also had an example of a writing project from last year in a class book we made, and lastly, just invited them to browse through the math activity book.
Birthdays I added birthday tags for who's birthday is in that month. I did blur out any names of actual students on the following slides. I am trying to celebrate half birthdays this year to celebrate those kiddos who have summer birthdays so we'll see how that goes.
Here is one final look of my room from my desk/small group area before open house. Many of the materials were on the student's desks ready to go. Oh- one new thing I did which I definitely would do next year: Nicknames. I had 8 or so kids who according to records say they go by a nickname. I'm always hesitant to just go with the nickname since sometimes kids and families change their mind year to year. This year, if a child had a nickname on record, I left a little note with 2 post-its. One post-it had their nickname, one had their given name. The note said to leave the name they wanted on their name tag. That way, I don't have to change them. I actually had 2 kiddos who wanted their given name- not their nickname. So I'm glad I did that.
I'm trying to get in the mindset that I'm teaching on Tuesday... it's a bit hard for me right now. The first couple weeks are so hard because we aren't in a routine. We are an RC school (Responsive Classroom) which means we put a lot of emphasis on routines, expectations, and modeling. So the first few weeks is heavily focused on getting those structures in place so behaviors are limited during our days. It's totally worth it! But it does take a while to get into our normal routines. Here's to a new year with new beginnings and new things to learn, for both me and my students!