Back to school

Back to school: How to make your new class feel comfortable

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It’s September, and that means it’s time to go back to school! So, sharpen those pencils, clean that whiteboard, and get ready to meet your new class!

Remember, starting a new school year can be intimidating for your students, so you need to make it as easy a transition as possible.

So, how do you do that? We’ve got a few useful tips:

Back to school: Get your class off to a good start

1. Decorate your classroom

First impressions count, so why not spruce up your classroom to surprise your new students?

You could:

  • Fix up your filing cabinets: Get creative with bright colours, wrapping paper, posters, maps ­– whatever takes your fancy!
  • Choose a theme: Your displays, walls and reward system could be based around a fun topic that students will relate to – Hollywood is our favourite!
  • Make ceiling decorations: Pompoms, clouds, anything you can think of to make the learning environment more interesting!

Think outside of the box, and use your decorations to get the students involved on their first day. You could even use some decorative ideas to assign seats at the start of term!

2. Use a buddy system

If your class includes students who are completely new to your school, pair them up with a friendly student who has been there a while.

Their ‘buddy’ can guide them through class changes, lunch, breaks and other school activities, making them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.

If your whole class is new, ask an upper-school student to act as a guide. This is great for inter-school mingling!

3. Write a book of introductions

On the first day of school, get your kids to write a page for your ‘book of introductions’. This could include names, likes, dislikes and any hobbies they have.

This is a fantastic way to get to know your students. It also helps students who join later in term learn more about their classmates.

Ice-breakers and games

A few games and challenges to break the ice are a great way to bring quieter, nervous students out of their shells. These can be used throughout the year, and come in handy on school trips, so it’s good to have a few up your sleeve.

Name games

Learning your students’ names straight away helps create a bond and sense of familiarity. So, one of the first things you should do is play a name game.

Go around the class in a circle and ask students to remember all the names of their classmates who have come before them. Once they’ve got that down, you could add in other elements (e.g. their home country, an interesting fact about them, their favourite food).

Would you rather?

‘Would you rather?’ allows students to express their creativity when coming up with questions, and is a great way to get your students laughing. Start them off with a few questions like “Would you rather eat pizza or chocolate for the rest of your life?”, then take a vote. Simple!

Send them on missions

Get your students exploring the school by sending them on missions (but warn the other teachers first).

These missions can tie into subjects so you get a feel for the strengths of your class, they can also be downright silly to help students lose their inhibitions.

Try all these tips as soon as you get back to school, and see how they help create a positive learning environment for all your students.

Find out how you can use similar techniques on school trips by speaking to the experts at WorldStrides.

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