Saturday, March 21, 2015

Open House Theme and How I Organize it!!

Good Morning, Peeps!! Kerri here...

I am happy to report that we have exactly 2 weeks left until Spring Break! I can't believe how this year has flown by. 
About this time every year, I start thinking about my favorite thing OF.ALL.TIME...Open House!!

I don't know why I love it so, but I sure do. It also is the one thing that used to bring me to a state of panic every single year, until I got wise, and decided to SLAY the Open House beast with my WICKED ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLZ!! 


Here's how I do it. 
I start with a theme and for the past few years, mine has been the Rainforest. Super engaging to my kidlets, bright, colorful, and fun, and very scientifical. WIN WIN WIN!

We also start our Rainforest Unit WAAAYYYY in advance. Like we already started our first project this week because we were learning about butterflies and LUCKILY, there are butterflies in the rainforest! Exhibit A...

Next, I get my art projects all planned out and prepped. 
I have many different art projects that we complete for Open House (like 10-12 different ones), so I have been prepping them little by little and storing them in my Open House tub...
well, actually, this is not TOTALLY accurate. 
We are blessed to have an aide at our school who preps our art for us (I know, I know. Don't spit loogies at your computer screen!!)
 BUT I never had an aide at my old school, so I had to prep all the art myself and I would just prep my art projects 2-3 weeks in advance, so they were sure to be ready to roll. 
I keep them all in my handy dandy Open House tub and pull out the one I need each week...

I keep each project in a Ziploc with the directions included inside, so the following year I can just pull it out again and prep the pieces I need!

Next step...I make myself a checklist, with every single thing I need to accomplish before the big day. I also add the dates I plan on completing each thing, and I get PURE JOY when I get to check each item off. Seriously, it's like crack to a crack addict!!
 I also make a map of my classroom and lay out where everything is going to be displayed so I make sure I have enough room for all of the projects...

After that, I decide which books I'll need to teach about the Rainforest. Most of the books I can get from our school library, but I also ordered a bunch from Amazon, so when we are learning about each animal, I have a book to read the the class.
During the year I keep these in my Rainforest book tub...

But during our Unit, I display them in my pocket chart so the kids can see them all and read them when they have free time.
I also keep my rainforest animal posters displayed on my mini anchor chart stand that Falling into First wrote about on her blog. I LOVE THIS THING!!! 

Each week, when we learn about a new animal I can display my poster and the kids get all excited!

I also have my kids make a book about all the animals we learn about, so I have this all stapled and ready to go. They keep it in their desk and each week fill out the pages about whatever animal we're learning about...

Here are some examples of the pages inside the book...

We also make a mini Rainforest Vocabulary book during our unit, so I make sure I have those prepped and ready to go in advance...

Another thing that saves my skin is my rainforest tub that holds all of my vines that I hang in the room...
I twisted these vines out of green butcher paper ages ago, and I just pull them out and re-use them each year. That way I am not stressed out making vines and cutting out trees from butcher paper every single year!

Parents are a HUGE help to me when I do this unit each year. I send home a note soliciting help and I always get lots of offers. Many moms who can't help in the classroom are more than happy to help from home, so I send projects home each week for them to cut, glue, stuff, etc. It makes my life WAYYY easier!

Finally, to add to the aesthetics in my room, I make sure all of projects are in the same color scheme (I know, totally OCD of me, right?). For example, my flowers, butterflies, rainbow fish and most of the other colorful projects are red, turquoise, bright green, purple, and orange. What can I say, I like it to be matchy matchy!!

I also print out a brazillion labels with the kids' names on them (with a cute font of course), and have them put their name sticker on the front of each project so their parents can easily find them on Open House night!


That's it, folks! The whole story of how I keep myself SANE and organized during Open House season!! If you would like to see more pictures from my Rainforest Open House, you can click on this link to go to my post about it on Blog Hoppin'!

And if you would like to see more about all of the things included in my unit, you can click on either picture to check it out in my TPT shop...

While you're there, you can download this fun Toucan Art FREEBIE from my unit...
which will give you a taste on what this unit is all about!!
Whatever theme you choose to do for Open House, may it be a wonderful learning experience for your kids, may you not get FRAZZLED, and my the odds be ever in your favor!! :)
Happy Saturday, Peeps!!
Kerri B