Thursday, May 28, 2015

Open House

Today was a minimum day and so now I'm home early, mentally preparing (and doing report cards) for what is probably the biggest night of the elementary school year...OPEN HOUSE!  This is the one night of the year where the teachers are not the ones "on", talking about the school, the class, or the kids.  Instead, it's the kids' turn to show off what they have done this year.
There is always a bit of a juggle with how to set up the room for Open House.  Teachers don't necessarily want to put on a show because that's not real life.  On the other hand, we want it to look nice for our students and their parents.  I've never been a teacher who has crammed projects for two weeks straight getting ready for the night.  I like to do a room that incorporates assignments and activities and projects that we have done through the school year.  But I'll be honest, this year the room was decorated more in the two-week cram style.  With Common Core still being so new and the district CONSTANTLY changing what curriculum and testing look like, there hasn't been a lot of time for bulletin board ready work.  There are a few projects that we managed to finish this year that are also Open House worthy, and sprinkled in among those are some fun activities we did in between our three weeks of testing.  I do like how colorful it all turned out, which isn't always the case with a year's worth of work.  
This last photo is a pano which is why the desks look like they're bendy.
With just 11 days left of the school year, this group of 2nd graders is just days away from becoming 3rd graders.  I am SO ready for it to be summer.  The last month or so of this year has been so busy and stressful, so a break is welcome.  However, I'm bummed this group of kids is leaving me on June 12.  After the last two years' apathetic groups, having a class who LOVES to learn has been fun.  There are certainly some stinkers and handfuls in the mix, and the excitement for learning is also exhausting because they are always on, wanting more.  I'm tired after this year, but it's a different kind of tired.  A good kind of tired.
Saw this on Facebook the other day, and it made me laugh.  


  1. I cannot simply say if looks neat but in truth is all I really can say since I don't really know what I'm seeing. Are the figure's atop the wall to represent the culture and national dress of the students. And the essays with the drawings, themselves.
    In truth, I think you're a flipping genius to have organized them into a class given the nature of the average little person. I bet you their families must look with wonder at you.

    From the tablet

    Vince O:-)

    1. Hardly genius, but thank you. It felt a bit staged this year, unlike my usual, as I mentioned. It was a good turn out though. All but three families showed up, which is quite good for the population I work with.
      The "dolls" on the ceiling wall have been up most of the year since studying families and traditions. Yes, they are dressed to share their cultures. The writing and portraits below them were just a project we did between testing. The kids got to create their portrait and then wrote a paragraph about themselves in riddle format. They shared the portraits and riddles with their parents and asked them to figure out who's who. Each year we do these, my team and I are always amazed at how much many of them look like the child who made them.
      We've been so inundated with stuff this year due to the changes in curriculum that I've felt buried most of the year. I just wanted the room to be clean and neat for Open House after all the clutter of the year.

    2. Don't run yourself down woman. Wrangling a bunch of biggish tots with their hyper selfcenteredness and laying track for their future education.

      Wasn;t the volume of change the very reason they went for the exams in the first place. Wasn't there an endless stream of ever changing curriculum. Are they back questing for a one size fits all.

      Ah never mind, consider your back well slapped.

    3. I'll tell you, at this point, I don't even know why the testing is there anymore because it's so useless it's not doing any of the things it's supposed to do. And it's SOOOO very hard this go round that our district is panicking and we are back to teaching to the test. The new powers that be decided to change all of my grade level's end of year testing so it looks like the next year's testing so the kids were "prepared" for it next year. I can not begin to tell you how stupid that is. We are giving these tests to students on things they didn't learn this year so they can be ready for next year's test. Funny thing is though, TESTING ISN'T THE SAME THING AS LEARNING! But what do I know. I'm supposed to work this summer on the curriculum and, knowing where this is all going, thinking about it brings me to tears of frustration. While I know it's important that knowledgeable voices are presented and represented at these meetings, but I'm just so tired of the battles we've been fighting and losing over the last 6 months. The new curriculum was supposed to be about the kids learning and NOT just being taught the test, but that's not what is happening.

  2. I love how your room looks! The bulletin boards are very pleasing to my OCD eye, too. ;) I have fond memories as a child of making things for the bulletin boards, to show our parents. Elementary school was a magical, happy time for me, in general - before the reality of life set in.

    I know you'll miss this bunch, but maybe next year's will be just as good!

    Hope it all went well! (it was last night?)

    1. I'm often told by people I meet that their first real memory of school is 2nd grade. That's pretty powerful. It's important to me that the memories are fond, as you say.
      The night did go well. As I mentioned above, it was a good turn out, more than I expected which is always nice.
      It is my understanding that the next group coming up is nice too. It's always a relief to end the year knowing that the first grade team isn't at their wits end with their exiting group. Something to look forward to.

  3. We have had common core for many years now in PA. I love seeing your classroom. Now that the kids are older they don't have a back to school night. I miss it.