September 8th, 2009 by catur

Teachers spend a lot of time during the first few weeks of each school term on activities designed to help students get to know each other. Friendships form and most of the classmates settle into patterns of relationship that can last for years. However, when a new student is admitted to your class in the middle of the year, this child may be worried that she won’t make any friends and also sad over having left good friends behind. Welcoming a new student to your class in the middle of the year is important for everyone involved. Sometimes you only have a few minutes of advance notice that you are getting a new student so it is best to have a plan.

Instructions :

  1. Prepare by always having one more of everything your students need, including a desk, chair, full set of books and storage space. Create an extra student file in advance with copies of all of the forms you keep on each student in your class. This makes the new student’s first day easier since all you need to do is label the file and forms with the student’s name and the date of admission.
  2. Teach mini-lessons about hospitality to your class. Show them how to introduce people to each other, how to make friends, how to give a tour of the classroom to a visitor and how to help a visitor learn where the important places are in the school building or on campus. Help your students to gain empathy for new students by assigning compositions in which they must imagine what it would be like to be a new student on the first day in your class.
  3. Let the class collaborate to design rituals to welcome a new student to your class. This may be as simple as a cheer that announces how glad the class is to have a new student. It may involve making a welcome kit with a map of the classroom, a list of the rules, a copy of the weekly schedule, pictures and names of each classmate and a coupon for a privilege or treat in the cafeteria.
  4. Shake the new student’s hand, smile and make eye contact when you first meet him. Tell him your name. Show him where he will sit and take him to meet two or three friendly classmates who will be assigned to help him learn the ropes at the new school.
  5. Take longer than usual at roll call on the first day that the new student attends your class. This is a great opportunity to allow students to individually introduce themselves to the new student. Ask them to say their names and then reveal one food that they hate. This is a demand that every student can meet easily. Call the new student last. Even if she is shy, she will be ready to reveal one food that she detests.
  6. Call the new student’s parent within the first week. Report something positive about the new student and give the parent the chance to share any concerns or insights that they may have about him.
  7. After the first few days, take a few minutes to interview the new student. Ask if she enjoys being in your class. Find out which other students have been especially nice to her or if she is having any difficulty. Give her permission to ask questions or to tell you whether she feels she will have trouble with any of the subjects. Then share some good things that you have noticed about her since she has been in your class. Make a plan to address any concerns or problems. Check back after a few days to see how she is progressing.

adapted from Last modified: 07/09/2009

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