Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Open House

What a busy week! We had Open House this week and it's fun, but exhausting!
I want to share some Open House ideas that get my students, parents, and me excited! :)
If we get everyone excited, you'll have a great turnout! I had 21/21 parents come this year!
Even if you've already had your Open House, maybe you can use it for next year.
 Make your event light and fun! Keep it positive and share a glimpse of the happenings in your classroom and exciting things planned for the year. What are your expectations and goals for your students? How can your parents help? I like to have a whole group presentation to assure one parent doesn't monopolize my time. I have conference sheets available to discuss individual students.
First, I like to make an invitation to invite my parents. I LOVE my invitation this year because it's also a keepsake! I thought of this late at night when my brain wouldn't turn off!
 A few days before Open House, I send home a survey to find out some information and to help me plan my evening better. This survey serves as a reminder, allows me to find out if parents want more information about a specific topic, what they like about our classroom, and whether or not they're attending. You can pick up a copy of here.
I have the desks all set up before the parents arrive. Tickets for the big drawing and goodie bags for students and parents, handbook, water bottle, and scratch off ticket for parents.
Water bottles are found here.
I have a PowerPoint with different bulleted lists to guide my presentation, and in case parents have more questions, my handbook has lots of information about our class they can refer to. It includes information about conferences, expectations about each subject, goals for the year, field trips, a list of websites, samples of rubrics, multiplication timed test.
When I talk about my reading expectations and goals for my students I show them some statistics on independent reading. I think this slide is very eye-opening to the parents.

To encourage my students to read at home, I give them a goodie to take home and hang on their door. I tell parents they're not allowed to make them do chores or go to bed when they see this sign hanging on the doorknob! LOL! (My students love this! It's a great way to get them excited about reading at home!)
I had these printed several years ago from a printing company, so they were kind of pricey, but I have a set here that I use all year long for a variety of occasions!
These mints are just a special treat for the parents to enjoy!
Pick up a copy of these note cards here.

Can't leave the kids out! I picked up Skittles on sale this week and created this cute topper for them! You can pick up a generic one here.
Parents want to help, so I set up a table with wish list items ranging in price starting at $1. Of course, the students are quick to grab one, but I explain during my presentation that it's for parents to decide if they'd like to take a helping hand. (You know I drum up business for that table by saying things like, "I wish I could see my table, but it's covered with hands, " or "Who will be the first to grab a hand to help our class?" This gets parents moving toward the table! :) )
Pick up a copy of the wish list labels here.
Also during my presentation, I want those parents involved and engaged! I make them take a multiplication timed test just like my students do every day! (I tell my students in advance that I'm going to make their parents do the 12s and not to tell them-they love it!)
It helps the parents realize how quickly their child needs to be able to recall their facts to be successful in math in fourth grade. (I don't grade them, it's just for fun!)
I have a whole multiplication incentive program to get everyone excited about multiplication!
I have Scratch to Win tickets for the parents too, except they don't win a trip to the prize box, free book, or use pen all day. Their prizes are rewards from their children: wash the car, vacuum the house, wash the dishes, breakfast in bed! My students aren't super happy about their parents collecting on these prizes, but they're good sports! The happy students belong to the parents who scratch "sorry, try again!".  (We all can't be winners!)
At the end of open house I have a drawing for the parents and students. Both the parent and student won this year, no zonks! (I forgot to get pictures-there was a lot of action in my packed classroom!)

Along with the conference sign up sheet, I have a sign up sheet for science experiments. Like I said, parents like to help, so I ask parents to sign up to bring in the supplies for a science experiment. This gives parents a chance to be involved and helps with the teacher's wallet!
Grab that here.

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.



  1. That is absolutely amazing!!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    Hodges Herald

  2. Thank you for the great ideas for open house! Ours is on the 30th and we have a period by period schedule so parents can visit each class. It leaves very little time to do anything! And that's why I think your survey is genius! I will definitely use that and probably include a giveaway too. :)

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  3. What wonderful ideas! And what a lot of effort you go to to make parents and pupils feel welcome and part of the team! We dropped our Open Nights a few years ago as we found we had very little parent interest (it was usually only a handful that would turn up and they were the ones who always turn up). We now just send home an information booklet and then, in about week five, invite the parents in to set learning goals with their children - that tends to get a pretty good 90% turnout. I think I will look at using a few of your ideas for those afternoons!

  4. These are such great ideas! I love the idea of using the class as a reminder card/photo for Open House! I'm going to use that next year. I also love the door hangers so that students can be encouraged to read at home :) I love that! I have a lot of students who would love one of those... might need to create some for our next book club. Such great ideas and tips! Thanks for always be willing to share your ideas and what works in your classroom :)

    Have a great weekend,
    My Shoe String Life

  5. I can't believe all the great ideas here! We already had our open house, but 3rd grade is hosting a curriculum night and we will be using some of these ideas. I'll take pics and send them your way :).

  6. Love the rainbow topper! Do you have it where it could be edited that you wouldn't mind sharing? I want to use it for my Girls on the Run girls!

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  10. Hi! I really love your skittles back to school gift! Is there a way I could get an editable file so I could put my name after the heart? Thank you!

  11. Wonderful ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!!! Can't wait to get started on these and use them at Open House.

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  14. I love your letters that you used for the open house invitation picture. Do you mind sharing?

    Thank you! :)

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  16. Thank you for the wonderful ideas!

  17. Hello! I absolutely LOVE your rainbow Skittles topper! We have our Open House tomorrow. Is there any way that you could email me an editable version of it so I can personalize it? Thank you so much, I’m advance!

    1. I am hoping the same thing... Is there an editable version so we can personalize it? Thank you- SO cute!!

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