Fourth Grade

Expect the Unexpected

It happens every year. 

Someone will knock on my classroom door and present me with a new student to the school. 

 I’ll say to the monitor who walked him down that I am not expecting a new student. 

 The monitor will say I was told to bring the student here.  Do you have a name of the student? They will respond no but I know they are in your class.

 I’ve learned through the years to expect the unexpected. 

 This includes getting new students at any point… while also having to say goodbye to students at a moment’s notice.  

Many of the new students that come to my class only speak Spanish.  I can only imagine that each student is scared… feeling overwhelmed… and unsure of what is happening.

As their new teacher, I want that student to feel comfortable and to acclimate as soon as possible.  So I have a teacher’s assistant work with the child right away… trying to ensure the smoothest possible transition.  Between myself and the teacher’s assistant, we are able to learn about the child’s needs and wants in the new environment.

My overwhelming feeling at these moments to help ensure that the student has a feeling of belonging.  It is a safe place… with others are there to provide help, support, and encouragement.  

It is completely understandable that the child might be looking around… having a “lost” type of look.  They are trying to figure out what the other children are doing AND what the expectations might of them.  

So to help support a newcomer in the best way possible… I created Vocabulary Phrase Cards.

They have been a lifesaver in helping new students assimilate quicker and in a more successful way.

These cards teach the most common phrases I use during the course of each school day.  At the same time, they are designed for students to do well and gain confidence.  In many ways… it is a win-win activity.

After entering the classroom for the first time… the teacher’s assistant will show them the cards.  And the practice of new phrases starts right away!

In addition to supporting new students… I also leave these cards on my teacher desk for substitutes.  Many substitute teachers that have worked in my classroom do not speak Spanish.  These teachers have been so thankful to have this resource.  

One of the best parts of the vocabulary cards is that each one has a phrase in English… with a matching card in Spanish.  So if a Substitute Teacher wants to tell a student that it is time for lunch… they ONLY have to show the lunch card.  It is tremendously supportive if a language barrier might be present!

Click Here for Vocabulary Cards: Common School Phrases

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Fourth Grade Resources