We always celebrate the arrival of new students! We truly believe that they are placed in our rooms because we need them and they need us. New students provide a perfect and often timely opportunity to review, with purpose, what we are all about. Here are a few ideas for teaching our new students the skills that will make them successfully independent in our rooms, while also providing everyone else an opportunity to fine-tune their skills and stamina.
- Revisit the i-charts as a whole class. This allows new students an opportunity to anchor their learning to the i-chart and provides a quality review for others. Work though the 10 Steps to Teaching Independence, practicing each step together and then practicing with the rest of the class. This allows the rest of the class to continue their learning while building our new students’ knowledge of Daily 5 and stamina for reading and writing.
- We also realize that it can be difficult for new students to find a niche in our already established community. For the first few days, we assign a “Daily 5 Buddy” to guide each new student through our routines and procedures. Sometimes it’s a different buddy for each subject, and sometimes it’s a new buddy each day. During the Daily 5 block, the buddies do each round together. The buddy is the model and voice in the ear explaining the in’s and out’s, the procedures, and the behavior expectations of all students. The chart review and buddy system make the transition and assimilation go smoothly for everyone.
- Sandwich new students during the round of Daily 5. When students go out to work, start by meeting with a new student one-on-one to discuss the i-chart. Then have the new student practice behaviors (build stamina) while you confer with another student. Check back in with the new student between each conferring session, to revisit behaviors and help the new student build stamina.
- One of the kindergarten teachers at Gail’s school got six new students in one day! She came up with a great idea for honoring her existing class while also teaching the new students. She started with a regular, whole-class focus lesson. Then, after she had the existing class members check in, she kept her new students. During each round of Daily 5, she held small-group instruction around the 10 Steps of Independence. They built their own i-charts, practiced behaviors, and built stamina together. Brilliant!