Teacher Tips: Tips for Welcoming Classroom Visitors
Prepare for classroom visitors with these great ideas!
- Grades: Early Childhood, PreK–K, 1–2
1 Maintain a resource file. Have information about potential visitors instantly at your fingertips. Brainstorm ideas for interesting visitors with co-workers and parents. Keep up-to-date addresses and phone numbers for community workers and family members with special talents.
2 Get children ready. In case children are apprehensive and don't know what to expect, describe the visitor's job, hobby, or skill. Together make up a list of questions to ask the visitor and write them on chart paper.
3 Prepare the visitor. Ask the visitor to keep dialogue short and simple. Encourage him to demonstrate as much as possible with frequent child participation. Suggest that he introduce new words or terms with accompanying props or actions.
4 Have a previsit discussion. Call the visitor to clarify details ahead of time. Ask what equipment or materials are needed, if any setup is needed, whether handouts or an interpreter are needed. Remind the visitor of the date and time.
5 Create name tags. Make sure that children wear name tags to make it easy for the visitor to call on them by name and stimulate questions and dialogue.
6 Invite hands-on activities. Encourage visitors to bring materials children can safely handle. For example, a plumber might bring PCV pipe or thread tape. Active learners will gain the most from the visit if they are given something to do.
7 Suggest visuals. Ask visitors to supplement their discussions or demonstrations with interesting visuals to help children stay focused. For example, someone might bring interesting objects from a hobby such as a first-place ribbon awarded for showing a 4-H calf, or slides from a trip.
8 Practice being a great audience. Review some important group-time rules, such as raising hands to talk, not talking while the visitor is speaking, and taking turns sharing materials.
9 Actively support the visitor. Be available to help remind children not to talk all at once. Help define new vocabulary words, and assist with a wrap-up if children become restless.
10 Arrange for follow-ups. Provide materials so children can create a thank-you letter or make an appreciation booklet for the visitor. Put together a photo storybook to read together and enjoy the visit all over again. Be sure to include your personal thanks along with the children's. Evaluate the visit for your resource file.