Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Welcome New Students: Transition into a new elementary school

Today I met in the gazebo of my school's beautiful courtyard with 13 new fourth and fifth graders.  I met with the new families yesterday to help build a sense of partnership and today with this group of learners.  I will do grades 1-3 the next two days.  Switching elementary schools generally means a child is adjusting to a new house, new peer group, new teacher expectations and the loss of the familiar.  Sometimes the change was caused by a major change in the family (e.g, new job or parents separating).  Research indicates more than 40% of students will have a moderate of serious adjustment to a new school.  The welcome reception is designed to help newcomers begin making positive peer group connections as well as get to know the counselor. Sometimes there may be only one or two new students in a class but if you put a grade level or tow together, they can see others who are experiencing being new as well.  For introductions today we did the ice breaker two facts and one fiction about ourselves (I like calling it that better than two truths and a lie) to look for commonalities.  We are only allowed to provide healthy snacks but I can report I did not have anyone pass up on either the animal crackers or bottled water since we met at 11:15 right before lunch.  I make up trivia questions about the school (school colors, mascot, how school got its name, etc.) to facilitate them knowing more about the school as a whole. I took individual pictures of all the students that will be displayed on the front hall bulletin board.  We are using the theme "Mirror Mirror on the Wall Who's New at Nottingham This Fall."  I will be following up with lunches the next two weeks to assist these newcomers make a positive adjustment to a new school.

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