I LOVE meeting my future students! I do a lot of things to help them feel welcomed and to try to provide a smooth transition to high school.
1. Attend Their Math Class
I'm grateful that my principal will hire a 1/2 day sub so that I can attend their math classes one day and give them the Algebra Probe our district uses as a pretest. I get to meet them, talk to them about high school, Algebra, and then assess them on what they can do. All this happens in their 8th grade math class, which they are already comfortable in! Hooray!
2. Attend 8th Grade Parent Meeting
My district holds an 8th grade parent meeting in the spring for parents and students to attend. I attend this meeting too, so I get to see the students and their parents again :) I also work with other core and elective 9th grade teachers to have a supply list available to students and parents that night.
3. Learn Their Names--FAST
I work by tail end off to learn their names as soon as I can. I actually work on this all year. Whenever I encounter 8th graders at school or in the community I ask other people their names and I try to figure out their connections to my current 9th graders. Who is friends with whom...who is siblings with whom...etc. It helps a lot. Then when I go into their math class, I call them all by name and they are SHOCKED. One class this year was so surprised that they asked me to go around the room saying everyone's name, and they clapped when I finished :)
4. Tell Them I'm Excited
I always emphasize with them how excited I am to have them next year. I share my excitement and ask them what they are looking forward to and what they are nervous about. Some students shared about being worried they would embarrass themselves, so I shared something embarrassing I had done before--they all got to laugh at me :)
5. Mail Them a Postcard
OK--I've never actually done this before, but I really want to! I want to send a postcard home to each of my future students this summer. A few weeks before school starts just send them a quick note letting them know that I'm excited for them to come to high school! Then I can add a special note to kids I haven't met, kids who are in my homeroom, or kids I've encountered for other reasons.