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  #1  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:00 AM
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Em_Catz Em_Catz is offline
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East Coast
Primary Elementary Teacher
How do you feel/handle getting a new student in the middle of the school year?

I feel awful saying this, but when new students come during the middle of the school year, while on the outside I smile at the child and pretend to be thrilled, inside I'm feeling a sense of dread. Not because bigger class sizes worry me, but I'm worried about this child's effect on the peaceful classroom environment.

I've only been teaching about seven years during which I can count on one hand how many times my grade level has gotten new students who blended right in without hitch. Unfortunately, middle of the year students typically arrive at our lovely little school due to less than favorable circumstances such as -

*being kicked out of private school for severe behavior/academic concerns

*were about to be referred to special education, so parents remove child and cross the county line b/c the paperwork won't follow

*trauma to the child such as abuse, parent abandonment/death, custody battle, etc


What sorts of things do you do to try and make the transition as smooth and non-disruptive to the other children as possible?

I usually -

1. Try to place the newcomer near a responsible, well-behaved child hoping they'll pick up on their habits. I tell the responsible child to show the new kid around

2. If the new kid isn't especially social, before recess I'll find one or two "nice" kids in my class and ask them to invite the new child to play (adding, Don't tell them Ms. Catz asked you to do it. Just be a good friend)

3. Ask the new child questions about their old school

4. Remind the other children "We need to set a good example for our new friend. If s/he sees you guys acting foolish, not listening to the teacher, then s/he will think that's how we act in Ms. Catz class."

5. Send home the Back to School night "Welcome Packet" that we put together

6. Send home a note to ask the parent to send me any old papers the child has from their former school so I can see what they were working on
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:25 AM
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MissScrimmage MissScrimmage is offline
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2nd Grade Teacher
I teach in a small, rural school. I am always wary when I get a new student mid-year because it often means they are running from something. I don't know if it is coincidence or not, but every time I have gotten a new student mid-year they have been super weak academically and/or a huge behavior issue. The biggest red flags are when they come between April - June.

I do many of the things you do to help them transition into our classroom smoothly. If I sense there are going to be behavior issues (or if there are right off the bat!) I pull the child aside and let them know my expectations. I have explicitly said to a child who told me that at his last school he only had to work when he wanted, "Welcome to our school. In my classroom we work - all day. It's not a choice. I'm not mean, I'm here to help and happy to help. But we work. All day." That quickly turned him around!
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:28 AM
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MissScrimmage MissScrimmage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Em_Catz View Post


2. If the new kid isn't especially social, before recess I'll find one or two "nice" kids in my class and ask them to invite the new child to play (adding, Don't tell them Ms. Catz asked you to do it. Just be a good friend)
I introduce the child to 1-2 students and ask them with the child to include them at recess. I'll say something like, "New child, this is Tommy and Julie. They are going to take care of you at recess today. Tommy and Julie can you make sure New child knows where to play and what to do when the buzzer goes? Tommy and Julie what would you like to play with New child at recess? New child, I don't want you to worry about recess at all, so you just ask Tommy or Julie if you have a question and they'll take good care of you. Have fun outside!"
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  #4  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:43 AM
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Em_Catz Em_Catz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissScrimmage View Post
...The biggest red flags are when they come between April - June.
Oh heaven help me when I get a child around that time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissScrimmage View Post
...I have explicitly said to a child who told me that at his last school he only had to work when he wanted, "Welcome to our school. In my classroom we work - all day. It's not a choice. I'm not mean, I'm here to help and happy to help. But we work. All day." That quickly turned him around!
WOW! I love that! I hope you don't mind if I use something similar. The "I'm not mean" part is the icing on the cake.
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:05 PM
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Missy Missy is offline
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Ohio
3rd Grade Teacher
I have gotten 3 new students so far this year. So far, so good. My class loves when we get someone new, helps me make sure we have supplies ready (example, math and social studies journals which I provide for all students) and are very welcoming.

I usually try to talk with the student first thing and make them comfortable. I am a little concerned about my latest, because he can't tell me anything he had done in math so far this year (example, fractions, geometry).
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2013, 02:30 PM
waterfall waterfall is offline
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K-3 Sped Resource Teacher
I had a girl in my class that had the craziest, worst behavior I've ever seen. I can't even describe it all. Hitting kids, throwing desks and other supplies around the room, destroying the room, running around and screaming, running out the door and screaming down the hallway multiple times per day, running into other classrooms and screaming, etc. She moved in October. I cannot imagine the poor teacher who she ended up with...maybe someone that had a nice little class and then all of the sudden this student shows up! The upside for me is now I'm the one with the nice little class!

I haven't gotten a new student since the end of Sept. (about 6 weeks into school) and she is just wonderful. She came knowing NO English (literally didn't even know how to introduce herself) and she has made so much progress in every area. She is brilliant! She speaks as well as my native speakers now and is one of the top students in the class. I am thrilled she came before October count because I get her test scores!
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2013, 03:03 PM
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Em_Catz Em_Catz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfall View Post
I had a girl in my class that had the craziest, worst behavior I've ever seen. I can't even describe it all. Hitting kids, throwing desks and other supplies around the room, destroying the room, running around and screaming, running out the door and screaming down the hallway multiple times per day, running into other classrooms and screaming, etc. She moved in October. I cannot imagine the poor teacher who she ended up with...maybe someone that had a nice little class and then all of the sudden this student shows up!
OMG that sounds EXACTLY like a little girl who showed up in my first grade class a few years back. She arrived around late April and she (for lack of a better word) was CRAZY! Her poor mother was so stressed because she and dad had gone through a divorce and whenever the child was with Dad, she was a wonderful, perfect little angel. At school and with Mom, she was a TERROR. Dad didn't believe us or Mom whenever he'd come in for conferencing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfall View Post
I haven't gotten a new student since the end of Sept. (about 6 weeks into school) and she is just wonderful. She came knowing NO English (literally didn't even know how to introduce herself) and she has made so much progress in every area. She is brilliant! She speaks as well as my native speakers now and is one of the top students in the class. I am thrilled she came before October count because I get her test scores!
Good for you! I love those rare occasions when a child comes in that actually ADDS to the classroom environment making it even more positive, rather than takes away from it. I had one little boy similar to your girl. He came in mid-September, was amazing, then left around March. I'm sure his new teacher was thrilled
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2013, 03:51 PM
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catnfiddle catnfiddle is online now
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Central Ohio
Online English Teacher
My school has rolling admissions, so I sometimes will have a new student every day, maybe two at once. I'm thrilled when they come with transcripts, but they usually do not. In that case, I go through the material we cover for class to check for how far behind the student may be. It takes almost as much differentiation as it does for my IEP students, but we get through the school year together.
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  #9  
Old 01-04-2013, 04:08 PM
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MissScrimmage MissScrimmage is offline
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2nd Grade Teacher
Quote:
Originally Posted by Em_Catz View Post
Oh heaven help me when I get a child around that time!



WOW! I love that! I hope you don't mind if I use something similar. The "I'm not mean" part is the icing on the cake.
Go for it - it was quite effective. Our students need to know our expectations!
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  #10  
Old 01-04-2013, 05:00 PM
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Rabbitt Rabbitt is offline
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Wisconsin
Primary Elementary Teacher
I had a child once who was part of the witness protection program! We called her Kaitlyn but it was obviously not her name. She was 6...but maybe not?

The day she left, we were told to act like she just did not show up today. Leave her things. Could not even tell her classmates that she has moved. Leave her work on the walls. No goodbyes. So sad. I wonder about her. What she had to hold in and hide. Plus, how safe were we?
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