PAPERLESS Open House school ideas for teachers

PAPERLESS Open House school ideas for teachers

Open House school ideas for teachers

"TAG, you're it!" is the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Open House. Open House is the official beginning of school- the moment that you meet the children that you will be spending the next eight months with. It's a time of excitement, hope, anticipation... and papers. At least at my school, a defining moment of this day is parents trying to wrangle their children while holding way a mass amount of papers that they aren't quite sure what to do with.

At my school, the front office gives SO. MANY. PAPERS. The paperwork is repetitive, but parents have to fill it out for each child. Anything given from the office, clearly, is out of my control. However, I choose to fix what I am able to fix. Instead of giving additional paperwork in my own classroom, I have turned my Open House into a Paperless Open House! No longer do I give parents piles of papers with questions like, "tell mge about your child!" "What's your phone number?" "How do I contact you if your child sits in a container of pudding and needs a new pair of pants?" (yes, this has happened).

How to make your school Open House PAPERLESS and EASY

Here are two EASY ways to make your Open House easy and (almost!) paperless! Say hello to my best friend, Google Forms!

STEP 1: Set up a sign-in laptop/iPad outside your door

Having a laptop or iPad outside the classroom to collect parent information helps get you the information that you need - BEFORE parents/kids get way too excited about being in the classroom for the first time and forget to fill something out. It made Open House much easier and pleasant for me! If there's something that drives me completely bonkers, it is trying to decipher handwritten parent email addresses. I drag a desk outside my classroom and plop my iPad onto it with a Google Form open. Parents write directly onto the Google Form, and they never forget to do this since it's located right outside the classroom (plus it's the number one question I inquire about.... "did you remember to write your email down?" "The computer is free if you want to put your email in now!" "Do you like being informed? Make sure to write your email down!").

This is what parents see when they look at the iPad. Below are the questions that I include on the initial Open House Sign-In:
Open House school ideas for teachers

Are you familiar with Google Forms? It has a feature that automatically turns your form into a spreadsheet! At this point, all I do is directly copy and paste the emails into my Distribution List on my laptop. And BOOM, I have parent emails for the list! I never send home any sort of paper newsletter (except for kids without Internet access at home), so this is a fabulous way to make sure that all parents are informed all year.

STEP 2: Put a QR code with a link to an additional Google Form on the projector OR a small slip of paper on each student's desk

I used to print out a handout for each family to give me more information on their child. However, in the stack of paperwork from the front office, many families either sped through this or forgot to do it entirely. I switched to using a Google Form a few years ago for this task, and I have not looked back!

Open House school ideas for teachers
Of course, you need to make sure that each parent gets the link to the Google Form.  I like giving parents a QR code to quickly find the Google Form.  You can use a free QR code generator - click here to check one out. You can either use a small piece of paper with the QR code on each desk, or put a QR code up onto the projector. Parents can scan the QR code to get the link to the second Google Form that I send out regarding their home phone number/child's interests/academic strengths & weaknesses/etc. The parents LOVE the QR code, as do the kids! Usually the kids are the first to grab their parents phones and snap the code.

Please note that I ALWAYS have paper forms available too, just in case a family does not have Internet access at home.

STEP 3: Parents fill out the Google Form at home when they have free time

Then, parents can fill out the Google Form link in their own free time! This allow the teacher to learn more about the student. I love learning about the child from the parent's point of view, especially hearing their concerns for the school year. It allows me as the child's teacher to be proactive if mom and dad feel nervous about their child's learning during math, or behavior at lunch.

When I gave paper copies of this form, many parents tried to do it literally during Open House. It is HARD to focus and coherently write your thoughts while you are trying to wrangle your child/say hello to parent friends/get quickly out of Open House. Parents can collect their thoughts and truly describe their child to a T to help us teachers understand more about their child's needs, gifts, and goals.
Open House school ideas for teachers

Want more Google ideas in the classroom?

Definitely check out some of my other blog posts where I incorporate Google Forms into the classroom to make your life easier and decrease your prep time!

Open house conclusion

When is your Open House? Have you used a paperless Open House before? Drop me a comment below!

Want to pin it to save for later?

Make your Open House paperless with Google Forms!

3 comments

  1. Is there a way to allow parents to answer your Google Form without a gmail account? If so, how do you do this?

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    Replies
    1. Hello! Normally everyone can fill out a Google form; they do not need an account. However, I always send the form to myself and then log out to doublecheck that it works correctly. Best of luck :-)

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  2. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing!! :D

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