Friday, May 2, 2014

Pretty Woman at A Sweaty Open House

90 degree temps.

No air conditioner.

A sweaty and sardine packed fifth grade classroom.  

Some parents resorted to making paper fans, a kindergarten skill they never thought would come in handy until this night.  

Thank goodness I wore my flowy polka-dot dress.   One sweet mom told me my dress was right out of the movie 'Pretty Woman.'  I'll take it!

After 10 years I still get nervous.  The palm sweating, self doubting, am "I good enough" kind of nerves. 

Open House is always a success, yet the nerves are hard to shake.  

This year I went minimalistic.  

Binder portfolios and state reports were the two main items on student desks.  Nothing showy.  Nothing that keeps me in my classroom late at night, on a wobbly ladder, and covering every inch of wall space with manufactured student work.  

The purpose of Open House is not to win the cutest classroom award.

Open House should not be used as an opportunity for parents to shop for next years teacher.  

I remember one Open House, back in the day, when a parent sat at my teacher's desk and started going through my papers and desk drawers.  There was also the time a parent grilled me on my educational philosophy.  Open House is not the time for intrusive inspection and interrogation. 

The focus of Open House should always be to celebrate student successes.  

When this is my focus, the Open House stress melts away, and I am much happier. 

My students loved creating a scrapbook portfolio filled with work from the year.   I loved shocking them with work saved from September.  Huge academic growth. 

Hormones, awkward dances, and braces are Middle School rites of passage. My fifth graders are only months away.  Poor things.  

On the front and back cover of the portfolio students drew versions of themselves as successful Middle Schoolers.  Students listed the academic and social skills needed for Middle School success.  I called this "Middle School Me."

The portfolios overflowed with work the parents had never seen.  I heard a lot of "wows."  

Students designed and created the layout of their portfolio, and I could tell they were excited to show off.  Most students chose to hang out in our classroom over ditching their parents for the playground.  Win!

I want to hear from you.  

In the comments below finish this sentence:  I know Open House is a success when...

Thank you for commenting! 

With Love,



It's Currently Time with Farley! 


  1. I still get nervous at Open House, too, and I've done 15 of them! I don't think it goes away. It's kinda like the first day of school. I love the projects you put together. The students did some amazing hard work.

    What I Have Learned

  2. I know the heat came at the worse time for you but I am very jealous! I'm in Central Manitoba, Canada & as of 20-ish days ago we were still recorded -47 degrees Celsius! It has now fluctuated up to around +5 degrees Celsius but it will still be a loooonnnggg time before it gets summer-time warm for us.

    Our school/division does not have Open House and I never remember having one growing up either. I am not sure if some schools in Manitoba do (I'm sure they must) but I've never heard of us doing it. It sounds like your hard work and dedication shone through at yours though, congrats!

    I am visiting from Farley's Currently and am your newest follower! Good luck with this last bit of school :)

    Mrs T (Miss L)
    Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching

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Sheila Chako
Sprinkle Teaching Magic