Saturday, August 27, 2016

Welcoming New Students

Back to school is an exciting time for most students.  I say most students because new students may find starting a new school difficult. It can be stressful going from knowing everyone and everything to knowing none of the other students, the teachers, school expectations, or the  location of the bathroom.

One of the things I love to do each school year is welcome our new students.  I start this at the beginning of  the 3rd week of classes.  Weeks one and two I am conducting my Meet the Counselor lessons during which my returning students introduce me to their new classmates. The new boys and girls now know my face, my name, my job and the location of my room. On Monday of week 3 I start my new student lunches in small groups of 4-6. I hand deliver invitations on the day of our lunch to students in their classrooms. I  think the hand delivered invitation makes students feel more special than if I just left it in the teacher's mailbox. My invitations are in black and white to save on ink, but I print them on colored card stock to make them look special. See invitation here.

Students go to the cafeteria with their class, but at the head of the line so we have as much time as possible for our group. After getting their lunches students join me in my room.  Our lunch together is a lot of fun.  We talk about any questions they have about their new school, what they like best so far, the friends they've made, what they like least, and what they miss about their old school.  I have a simple activity sheet (click here for activity) I have them complete with a list of favorite things and a self-portrait.  I count out a dozen M&Ms (or gold fish crackers) and have students take turns telling me their list of favorites. For each thing they tell me they can eat a piece of candy or cracker.  At the end of the group, I keep their self portrait, take a photo of each student with my special welcome photo frame, and give them a "new student treat bag."  It is a small, decorative cellophane bag from the Dollar Tree with items like stickers, a pencil, erasers, pencil gripper, silicone bracelet, and Smarties. It's not much, but the students really seem to like it.  Photos and self-portraits are then posted on the white board by my group table.

Clowning around with my awesome intern Christina!
Once I've met all the new students from the start of  the school year, I keep tabs on who is entering through my wonderful registrar who sends me a list each week.  As new students enter throughout the year, I offer the same new student lunch to them.  Meeting and greeting new students is an important role of the School Counselor. This brief time together helps new students more easily transition to a new school.  It gives them a feeling of comfort to know there is a safe and friendly adult they can turn to if they need help as they settle into their new school.

I hope you are enjoying this blog hop and are collecting some great ideas and resources for welcoming new students to your school.  For more blog posts on new students, please click HERE.


  1. LOVE the large frame! Such a cool keepsake for them to remember...I have a M&M game download over at The Helpful Counselor if you want to make them work a little harder for those M&Ms. LOL :)

    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks Heather! The blog hop was fun! Loved all your ideas and resources. Got some new things to add to my bag of tricks!:)

  2. I love your photo frame, too!! I used one in my classroom as a teacher, but gave it away when I became a school counselor! I will have to re-make one! :)