We all know the feeling of bustling around the room hunting for a student chair for the new student who will be arriving in minutes. Getting a new student at a moment's notice can be a little frustrating and frazzling for a teacher . . . but can you imagine being a new student? Some of you have experienced the anxiety and apprehension that goes with being "the new kid." Others of you were the assigned friend required to lead the guided tour at recess. Whatever our background and experience, we truly want new students to feel welcome and wanted.
For many of us, a regular stream of new students is a normal part of our school culture. Supporting these students by getting them up and running with Daily 5 while honoring the current stamina of the rest of the class doesn't have to upset the apple cart. In fact, they provide opportunities for fine tuning and additional growth. Here are ideas that will support the new student, give existing students a sense of ownership, and help you remain positive and focused on good instruction.
When a new student arrives, take the opportunity to review the Daily 5 I-charts with the whole class (including student modeling). Everyone will benefit from the reminders and explicit review.
Assign a student or pair of students each day to be Daily 5 helpers. New students shadow the helper, following along, doing what the helper does, from checking in to staying in one place to gathering and putting away materials. If the partnership is going well and both parties choose, we let them continue for a few days until the new students experience each of the Daily 5 and the different places to sit around the room, and build their stamina. Because new students' stamina may not be as strong as their peers', we often pull them aside when their stamina wanes to do assessments and teach them how to choose good-fit books. We find it important that we not always select the same student to partner with new classmates so the new student gets to know as many children as possible, and vice versa.
What happens when more than one new student arrives on the same day or within a week? We begin a regular whole-class focus lesson. After the existing class members check in and start their first round of Daily 5, we keep new students together in a small group, and during each round of Daily 5 they participate in the 10 Steps to Independence. The new students build their own I-charts, practice behaviors, and build stamina together.