Prepare for New Student Orientation During Back to School Season

In September, we're prepared to welcome a class of new students.  But midyear, hearing, "You're getting a new student this morning" made me break out in a sweat.  I realized I need to be prepared for new student orientation all year.

Here's how to eliminate the stress that goes along with welcoming a new student to your classroom, even when it's sprung on you at the last minute.

Prepare for New Student Orientation in September.

Keep new students in mind while you are in “Back to School Mode.” Here's how to make a new student feel welcome even when his or her arrival is sprung on you unexpectedly.

Set aside at least 3 extras of whatever materials you make for your students (name tags, journals, and so on).  Put them all in the same place, such as a large manila envelope or Ziplock bag so that you have everything together when a new student arrives.  If you have an extra student desk in your room, put 3 stacks of larger items, such as books, notebooks, and folders right inside.
Keep a current supplies list.  If there are items you can't compile in a set space, keep a list on hand.  Update this list at the beginning of the year when you’re in the mindset for creating an organizational system for new student orientation from day one.

Delegate.  At my school, the assistant principal has the key to the textbooks closet.  This is why I’ve separated my “new student checklist” into books/other items.  I give the left half to her so she can get the textbooks and I keep the right half for myself. 
Keep extra “beginning of the year folders” for papers you hand out at the beginning of the year.  For example, many schools have student handbooks, emergency contact forms, surveys designed to get to know their students better, and so on.  Have extras on hand for a new student in one location.

Have "ice breaker activities" on hand.  Look through your back to school ice breakers.  Have materials ready to go, be it "find someone who" worksheets, "getting to know you surveys," or Morning Meeting greetings.  Depending on your class, you could pull out an old favorite or try something you didn't have time for in September.


Keep a New Student Orientation Checklist.

To get you started with your preparation for new students, you can download a free, editable new student orientation checklist

Prepare for Parent's Night.
Being in the mindset of welcoming your new students will also help you get into the mindset of welcoming their parents.  Here is my editable Parents’ Night Packet.

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