Last year I will be the first to admit that I was really worn out and frazzled by the constant stream of new students floating through my classes. I have read a lot of blogs and it appears that other teachers do not have this problem. The students they begin the year with are the same set they end the year with–I am jealous.
I understand that there are always a few schedule changes. With balancing class counts, and schedules that had errors, all of these little changes were completed by the third week. Since I use interactive notebooks, the second week (and third) we set up our notebook, do our getting to know you activites and start our curriculum(slowly). This is a lot of work those first few weeks, but we are all energized since it is the start of the year.
I remember feeling that moment of glorious joy that the notebooks were all set up, I had completed the first few sections of the unit and we were on a roll–I knew everyones’ name, rules were being followed, all was right with the world. Then–I got 4 new students in one day(different periods). Now we had to stop, get the new students “caught up” with the notebook, notes, rules, etc. I gave them all a notebook, but forgot about the syllabus with one of the students, and one of my original students had to remind me to give the notebook pages.
Just as those students got in the groove, I got 2 more, and this continued all semester. Every time I got more students, I got a little more lax about supplies, rule explanation, notebooks, etc. I just couldn’t remember and keep track of all of it and teach math as well. I forgot to give a new student (a very lovely girl) a notebook, and didn’t find out until over two months later and by that time she believed that it was a deliberate slight against her and now resented me.
This year, I am anticipating that I will receive probably at least as many new students after classes are settled as I did last year (30-40 first semester at least) . This is just a fact of life, I work in a district where the population is transient. So I made a checklist for the student and have a system now for those new students.
First: The Welcome Packet: I can fill this out in the morning when I check attendance for the day and have it completed for the period when the new students arrive.
Second: As we make our interactive notebooks, I can put the introductory pages in the envelope that is glued on the back cover, and have it ready to go.
Students are issued textbooks by the library before they arrive in class( unless they have run out ) so I need to have the student label it and store it. If they don’t have one, I will follow up on that.
During the year, I needed to reach the parent of a newly enrolled student and found out that all of our contact information was not input yet, so I am having all students complete the Parent/Guardian Contact form so I will have that information in case of emergency (The better safe than sorry approach) . Printing these on half sheets of paper cuts down on the volume of paper and is easier to store in file folders for each period.
I had to contact another parent because after a few days I realized that the students was unable to see the board (from 6 feet away). I found out that the student had broken their glasses and had not been able to get a new pair yet, Had I known this, I could have assisted( I have some resources for glasses) , so I added the student info form to my list of forms for ALL students. I need to know any hearing/sight issues at the beginning and any allergies (I really enjoy eating nuts with my lunch for energy, but students are sometimesallergic so I need to know this so I can avoid that snack).
|Student Info Sheet|
I was asked to assign work for students to complete on the computer at home-but a lot of my students do not have computers with internet access. Yes, I know you are thinking that they could do the work on their phone, but I accessed that site with my phone and aside from not being able to see it clearly, it was difficult to navigate with my little keypad. So now I ask this question up front.
I am having students address a postcard to their home the first week so I can send home some positive news for them the first few weeks. I got the idea from reading the book Unshakable by Angela Watson. She even provides a picture for the front, and suggests that you can print on cardstock as an option.
I had mine printed at vistaprint after receiving a 50% off coupon from them in the mail.
Each week I can mail a handful off with positive comments for students, and once I have mailed them, I will have students address another one. This will support my schools PBIS program as well as just being a fun thing to do–besides what student gets good news from snail mail any more?
I may address a few to myself as well, for milestone congratulations (first grading period done, parent conferences over, etc). I like good news.