By Teachers, For Teachers
Many teachers have had the classroom management challenge of taking on a student shortly after the school year begins. During this time of year, it can be quite an easy transition for both student and teacher because the school year is still in its beginning stages. However, when a teacher is asked to take on a student midyear and move them into their already well-established classroom, the classroom management transition can be quite a different experience. Here are a few classroom management tips and suggestions on how to welcome a new student midyear.
A great way to welcome a new student with open arms is to have a welcome party. Have students create a “Welcome” banner and hang it in the classroom. Then, have each student write the new student a personal letter telling them a little bit about themselves, the school, and what they have been doing in the classroom thus far. You can create a classroom book filled with the letters and attach a class picture with everyone’s name on it to help the new student get to know everyone better.
At the welcome party, you can play a getting-to-know you game just like you did for your students on the first day of school. A fun icebreaker to play is “Partner talk.” This is where each student writes down one question and has only a few seconds to find a partner and ask them the question and write it down. Then, the students trade cards. This continues until everyone has asked each student in the class the same question and received an answer.
A welcome party is a great way to show the new student that your classroom is a safe, warm, and loving atmosphere. It also shows them that when they enter you classroom there is a sense of community.
Another very effective strategy is to assign the new student a class mentor. This is someone that you choose who is responsible, friendly, and who you know will help welcome the student with open arms. There is a lot to know when you enter a new school, and by assigning a student mentor, or “Buddy,” you are taking some pressure off of the student so they can ease into their new routine and get to know the other classmates better.
The student mentor’s job is to show the new student the classroom routines and procedures, and to help them in the lunch line, during specials, as well as help them meet and greet his/her classmates. They can also give them a tour of the school and teach them all of the ins and outs about it. Overall, their main job is to help the new student adjust to their new school.
In addition to the suggestions given above, you can make a “New student survival kit.” This kit can include all the routines, procedures, classroom rules, and any paperwork he/she may need. You can also add some fun stuff, like new pencils, erasers, sticky notes, a get-out-free homework pass, or any other fun stuff that will help the student feel welcome.
Even though you have a new student in the classroom, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop everything and change what you normally would do that week. After your welcome party, and after you assign the new student a class mentor, pick right back up where you left off. If you are worried that the new student will not understand what is going on, then place that student mentor in the seat next to them to help them get caught up. You also have to remember that you have about 20 other students to deal with, so you need to try and keep things the same as much as possible, and with as little interruptions as possible.
You may be so busy getting ready to introduce the new student that you forget about how the rest of the class is going to adjust. The best way to ease your students into the idea of having a new friendly face in the classroom is to read them a story. Books about moving in or being in a new situation are great for helping students adjust to any new classroom change. It’s also wise to remind students that nothing is going to change, and it’s just a new friend that they get to meet. Remind students to put themselves in the new students’ positon, and to think about how they must feeling. There are books for that too!
Taking on a new student midyear isn’t easy for anyone. But, it doesn’t have to be that difficult, either. With a little prep work, after a few weeks it will feel like the student has been there all year long.
Does your school allow students to enroll or change classrooms midyear? If so, how do you use classroom management to deal with getting a new student midyear? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.