One of my favorite days each month is when our “Learning Buddies” come to visit! Since I teach Kindergarten we are paired with a 3rd grade class. My kiddos are the “little buddies” who admire their “big buddies” so much!
I love the fact that my kindies can interact with older students and have help with projects or learning. It is also great for the 3rd graders to be able to “teach” their little buddies and help set a good example.
Here are my 3 tips for starting a buddy program in your classroom!
- Match Buddies Together Purposefully – The key to having buddies work well together is sitting down with the other teacher and making good matches. Communicate clearly about your kiddos who need a buddy who can help challenge them, or set a good example of behavior. Sometimes I match buddies together when I know they both have a common interest or experience. There was only one year when I matched buddies up randomly and I won’t be doing that again.
- Skip The Fluff – Buddies can learn together. Your activities can be beneficial for both the big buddies and little buddies. Often time I see buddies that get together and just make crafts or go play on the playground. Of course there is a time for that, but I put my buddies to work and they love it! Even having buddies read to each other can be a great lesson! Little buddies can practice sounding out CVC words or sight word books while big buddies practice fluency. My favorite activity to do with buddies is when our big buddies come down and help the little buddies with their animal reports. The big buddies will bring their iPads and help the littles create a keynote about their animals. Not only does that activity provide a learning experience for my kindies that they wouldn’t normally have, the big buddies get to learn interesting facts about an animal while practicing their software app!
- Help Grow The Relationship – When big and little buddies have fun learning together they build a very fun relationship. They love seeing each other in the hall or at school events. We pray for our buddies and go watch their 3rd grade program. It’s almost like having a sibling at the school and my students love it. As the teacher you can help build that relationship by recognizing birthdays, sending a christmas card, or doing a field trip together.
I hope you give Learning Buddies a try in your classroom! I really think you will be happy you do! If you need ideas on what to do with your buddies click here to go to my TPT to browse Learning Buddy products and download a freebie Thanksgiving Learning Buddy activity!