Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Welcome New Students

Yesterday was our first day of school so I just pushed into classes. Today I will attend a kindergarten morning meeting that is part of Responsive Classrooms and then will go into the other 3 K classes the next 3 school days. I also start teaching class today, first up fifth grade. But my most important hour today will be hosting a Welcome reception for our new students in grades 3-5. I have them complete a short survey about themselves (which I save as a memory aid), they share with a partner, they share 2-3 facts about self with the whole group, we play trivia (about our school), I get them started on the BINGO game I made to help them get to know staff in our building, and they leave with a New Student Survival bag. Tomorrow I will do the same thing but not the written survey with our new second graders, I replace it with a book about a new student. On Friday I will do the same thing (but a different book) with our new first graders. I combine different grades depending on the numbers. This year I will have about 15 students each day. My principal stops by to introduce herself and my school psychologist helps with logistics if she is her those days. My librarian takes each new students picture and these will go up on a bulletin board in our main hallway along with pictures of new staff. During the next 2 weeks I do 2 follow up lunch bunches in smaller groups (either by class or gender - like all new first grade girls) and use the book "New Kid on the Block: A Story About Working Through Being New" for discussion questions. Then in early October if any new student is not reporting feeling connected yet they are invited to be in one of my tier 2 small groups. I have had parents who move frequently because they are military, State Department, etc. and they say our school counseling program did more to make their children feel welcome than any other. That is my goal to make not only the student to feel welcome but the family as well. 

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