Stressing about your ‘Open House’ or ‘Conoce a la maestra’ event??? My first year teaching, I was clueless about what to do during this event. Thankfully, I had a few colleagues that knew a little bit more than I did but even with their ideas I struggled to get through the night. Imagine ALL families and ALL kids (with siblings) in your Spanish Immersion classroom at the same time ANNNDDD on top of that they have to put away their school supplies, fill out a million forms and ALL want to ask you 500 questions.
If you are an introvert or a type ‘A’ kind of maestra (like me) this event might want make you hide under your desk or run out of your classroom screaming.
Don’t run away yet… Below I detail how I plan out the ‘Conoce la maestra’ event in my classroom after 10 years of teaching under my belt. (Want a FREE bilingual checklist of everything you need for your open house? Get it HERE.)
First I have sign-in sheets, I usually have parents sign in so I know who came (because I won’t remember) and a sheet about transportation. I have parents fill out how the child will get home normally and on the first day of school. The last thing I want to do is lose their child!! I usually place the sign-in sheet by the door on a desk or table. Some teachers need to turn in copies of sign-in sheets or count how many parents attend events. A sign in sheet is a perfect way for you to document who participated or attended and who didn’t.
I put center number center cards around the room, so people can distinguish what they need to do and where. On the SmartBoard, I have a premade PowerPoint circling continuously with some general information about me, first grade, the schedule, and specialists. I make the presentation bilingual— both English and Spanish, to ensure all of my families can understand the information—without asking me (finger crossed).
Next, I send kids to find their table/desk. In their spot, I have two stacks of papers—- the ‘forms’ that the parents need to fill out and turn in to me or the office (via me) and the ones for them to keep.
I have two important sheets– a students information sheet with general contact info about the student and the second one is ‘All about my child’... This sheet has some questions about their child, so that I can try to get to know my new students (thru. their parent’s eyes). Some parents might ask if they can turn this in later and I let them know they can— you don’t want parents to get too overwhelmed with everything. (**Remember many have to go to multiple classrooms and are short on time.)
As I said above, on the tables I have forms to keep and those that go home. Everything I send home is bilingual (or I have copies available in both). I send a fun ‘Conoce a la maestra’ (Meet the Teacher) sheet and a class schedule (with specialists on it).
What teacher doesn’t want volunteers?? I need as many hands or willing people as I can. I have parents interested in volunteer sign-up on a list and I have a bilingual volunteer questionnaire. It has contact info, schedule info and some basic questions about what they are interested in helping out with.
I have an activity for students and parents to do together. It is a quick scavenger hunt (búsqueda). I put this by the door by the parent sign-in sheet. Kids can walk around and find the things and the list. It gives them a chance to explore their new classroom a little bit and see where things are. This activity has gone over really well with my past students and families. They love being ‘detectives’.
If you have communal supplies then have those kids (and parents) sort things out… don’t waste your time doing it (I’ve made that mistake before). I put a row of boxes or bins in one area of the classroom– usually where the least traffic will be. I put a quick label on each bin so that students can sort out their school materials into the boxes (even if they can’t read yet). Pre-sorting helps you 1. save time and 2. put away/organize materials quickly after everyone has left…. because we all know that no kid needs 10 glue sticks in their desk at one time or they might all magically be gone or used a few short weeks. I also have bins labeled where to turn in papers— that way parents can see clearly what to do with them when they are finished.
Near the door— on the door or outside the door I have a class wishlist. Now I know some people feel like they shouldn’t have a wishlist or can’t ask for more but I’ve always had very positive family involvement EVEN in schools have “lower income families”. As a parent, I like to give more to teachers and there are parents like that in every class– it doesn’t hurt you to try it. So on the “lista de deseos’ I have some items that are NOT included on the student school supply list— I often ask for more books in Spanish, particular games, dice, cards, extra snacks, puppets, etc. Things that I don’t necessarily NEED but would make the class a lot more engaging and interactive if we had them. Later in the school year, I add items that we are short on; pencils, Clorox wipes, Kleenex, etc.
That is most of what I do during the ‘conoce a la maestra’ or Open House event in my dual language classroom. Do you have any other ideas that helped you run a smooth night? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in purchasing the products in the pictures? You can get them here:
1. The entire bilingual Open House Kit (everything pictured and MORE)
2. Bilingual Meet the teacher editable sheets (in PowerPoint) prints on 8.5 x 11
3. Just the Bilingual Scavenger Hunt/Búsqueda Sheet. (only)
Good luck!! And let us know how your Open House goes. Suerte!! 🙂