Teaching Newcomers: Our Class Routine and Freebies!

My newcomers  have been hard at work practicing their numbers, letters, and sounds.  I'd love to show you what we've been working on!

We start every class with a review of our alphabet; sometimes we use flashcards, sometimes we use a chart, and sometimes we use this great video from Have Fun Teaching.

Next we practice greetings.  I have them do an entrance "password" to get in the room, but I reinforce greetings with their favorite Youtube video (it's catchy!).

Next up we work on emotions.  We use this video, which I screen-shot(ted) into a powerpoint to use as a teaching tool. 

At the end of our first 40 minutes, we work on consonant sounds using Wilson Fundations cards. Right now we're just working on consonant sounds- vowels will come eventually.  In Burmese/Karen/Karenni, /n/ /g/ /h/ and /l/ don't really exist at the end of a word so we are working on those sounds as well as others like /x/ that are really hard to wrap our teeth around.

After we work on greetings, letters, and emotions, we turn to math.  I've started a Number of the Day routine with them with some awesome freebies (see below), which I'm really loving.  Granted, we're only on day 2, but I think it will really improve their number sense!

Once we're done with our number of the day, we move on to a math lesson, such as more or less.  I started more or less last week before my students were ready (I do that a lot...I get too excited about teaching!), but I persevered and I'm glad I did- it has helped to teach them the words plus and minus, and will help me in the long run to teach them greater than, less than, and comparatives (wayyy down the road).  

I made up two cards with the words and matching visuals, which we used with various manipulatives, realia, people, etc all week.  Towards the end of last week, after lots of practice and repetition, they began to understand the relationship between bigger numbers and more blocks, taller stacks, and me standing on the table.  You do what you have to do.

Eventually, I had them roll two numbers or use the magnetic numbers and show me which one was more/less.  In some cases they pulled the more/less card to them, and in some cases they had the card and pulled the number to them.  With newcomers, I try to use as much TPR as I can to lessen the stress of speaking unless it's a directed repetition.

For one of  my higher proficiency students, I introduced the sight word "is."  He was able to tell me "4 is more. 1 is less." We use our fingers to point to the words in the order they need to go in the sentence.  We arranged the manipulatives on the table to form the sentence as well.  I then had him write his sentence in his journal.

Next up in math, I'm going to attempt odd and even! I think I can do it...What do you do when you have to move on but your students are lacking in basic foundational skills?  Any advice is appreciated!


  1. I love the videos! (And I'm glad your students are obsessed with them!) Looks like you have some good activities going on!

    Eclectic Educating

    P.S. Here is the annoying song I was telling you about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RafnYeg2lIQ

  2. Cute videos! I enjoyed hearing about the progress your students are making!
    Conversations in Literacy


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