Helping Newcomers The First Day The school system in Newfoundland and Labrador is often significantly different from that of the ESL student's home country.  Some simple steps can help ease the transition.  See links below for more ideas. Make one staff member responsible for introducing the student to the school Provide time for that individual to get books, computer passwords, lockers etc. for the student. Have a fellow student, along with a translator, give the student a tour of the school in their own language. Make sure the student understands the rules and procedures of the school before sending them off on their own.  Have a staff member or dependable peer review (ideally a fellow ESL student with the same first language) ALL the school expectations with students. As much as possible, inform teachers of the student's background, language level and situation/goals, while respecting confidentiality.  Assign a peer helper (“buddy”) to answer questions, review rules, help find classrooms etc. for the first couple of weeks.  This task should be assigned to an academically strong, motivated, and welcoming student who will be a good role model for the newcomer. Permit the ESL student to “shadow” their peer helper or another student (perhaps from their home country) for at least a day before starting classes to become familiar with the rules and procedures of the school. On the first day that the student starts to follow his or her own schedule, permit the peer helper to spend the day shadowing the new student on his or her schedule. The First Day This three-page article outlines ways to make an elementary student comfortable in your classroom.  It suggests some resources that may not be readily available (e.g. bilingual books), but many others that are, so feel free to pick and choose. Be Welcoming Pages 40 and 41 of this comprehensive document Many Roots, Many Voices give some suggestions for welcoming students on the first day.  This document was produced by the Ministry of Education in Ontario, which has the largest numbers of ELLs in the country and produces some excellent resources.  First School Day  Page 6 in this document, prepared by the Department of Education in Newfoundland and Labrador, presents a few ideas specifically for the first day. Activities for Newcomers  This 3-page article provides some suggestions for the first few days of school. Want more? First Day Teaching Pages 19 to 21 in this excellent book The More-Than-Just-Surviving Handbook list five good ways to greet new students. © 2010 Eastern School District Information and content by Martha Trahey