Sunday, September 1, 2013

Open House Success

The open house for the school I work was last Monday evening.  I don't know about anyone else, but, after 20 years of teaching, I still get butterflies in my stomach an hour or two before open house begins.  Every year I create a letter to parents to inform them what time lunch starts, the homework routine, and other items such as what school supplies their child needs for the year.  At the end of the letter, I always list optional supplies that would be appreciated.  You know the items:  hand sanitizer, extra wide-ruled notebook paper, #2 pencils, tissues...  In addition, I always have the supply list listed at least one other place in the room.  Sometimes the list is in the form of a cute sign-up list, and/or listed on my whiteboard.  

I really can't complain about parent participation in bringing in these items.  I am always grateful for any extras that come into my classroom since I teach at a Title 1 school. I'm even more appreciative of the supplies coming into my elementary classroom since I taught at a middle school for 7 years.  Except for the few, for some reason, parents do not believe middle school teachers need very many supplies. Of course, that is myth!

Another issue with supply donation lists going home with parents or students is that I end up with 32 packs of pencils or numerous bottles of hand sanitizer and no tissues or notebook paper.  (It varies each year).

This year, while searching for a new idea, I came across a blog,, and fell in love with the idea she had for supplies.  She had a table set up with apples scattered around.  On these apples, she had written the names of the supplies.  She  also included a mini-poster explaining what to do.  She even has a link to her store so you can purchase the apples and mini-poster.  hmmm...this sounded like a good idea to me!  

I decided to make my own supply list table.  I already had an abundance of  apple clip art and frames, and what teacher doesn't have a table or desk.  I got busy and created my own apple cards and mini-poster detailing what the apples were for.    

I am quite proud of the supply mini-poster and apple supply cards!  Here is what mine looked like when I finished. 
 With this idea, the teacher is in control of what items he or she really needs.  I made multiple apples of items my class really needed and less apples of items that my class did not use as often.  The whole idea makes so much sense!

I  placed the apple cards and  instruction mini-poster
 right beside the open house sign-in list. (Hey, I wasn't born yesterday).  :)  When I asked parents to sign-in I didn't even mention the supply list.  That in itself took the stress off of me not having to beg for supplies.

I was so excited to see all the apples that parents were carrying around with them that evening.  By the end of the hour, all the cards were gone except for 4.  I don't what it was about the apples but, I have been receiving donations all week.  It's been fantastic!  None of the items were expensive, so I don't believe I scared anyone away.  Some of these are items, such as small individually wrapped candy, that parents just don't ever seem to send in, even when it's on a list!  

I will use this idea for years to come!  It is simple and it least for me.

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