What to do if a Newcomer is in your Classroom!!

RELAX! This is important for you and for the student. You can only expect so much. The initial step is for the student to feel comfortable, acclimate him/herself to the classroom routine, hear the sound and rhythm of English, make friends, etc. Your job is NOT to teach them English. They are ACQUIRING English.

Contact your Learning Specialist to see about increased support from the Bilingual Paraprofessional. This is a high needs student, and should be seen for a period each day when possible. However, this is only a small portion of the day. Only so much can be expected of the Parapro. AGAIN, they are not teaching them English, but helping them to acquire English.

Assign the student a buddy, not necessarily a same language peer. This will help them acquire English, and get them to speak English more readily. Do not have them depend too much on a native language peer to translate, or they will not strive to understand English, and will just wait for the translation.

Do not expect them to keep up with classroom work, but they can be a part of classroom activities, either by listening, or watching. For example, they can draw pictures when the activity is completed, and then label the items in the picture.

Involve them in as much of the classroom routine as possible. Have them be the line leader, take notes to the office or other teachers, return books to the media center, etc., once they know the building layout.

Introduce them to the basic words and concepts that are attached. This should be done in conjunction with the Learning Center/Bilingual Parapro, and reinforced in the classroom.

Do not compare the student’s progress to other students in the class. Keep a file of their work, and look at it from time to time to see progress in relationship to the student themselves. This will make you, and them, feel like you have accomplished so much!

A picture dictionary is very useful. It does not have to be an English to language picture dictionary, since the picture will do the translating. Have them make personal picture dictionaries. They can cut pictures from magazines of things they like, and a buddy can help them label and read them. A “Who Am I?” pattern book is very helpful, too.


Communicate in any way possible with parents. The Bilingual Department may be able to help with this. Many parents can read English, or will get someone to help them read if you send home communication about a child’s progress.

Communicate with the Bilingual Department. Don’t wait until you feel frustrated to look for ideas and support. (Bridget Dean, Bilingual Coordinator, 248-489-3609 )