We met with our fourth grade book buddies for the first time today. This year, Mrs. Ferguson (the Fourth Grade teacher) and I are hoping to get together at least once every six day cycle. Right now, we’re are scheduled to meet on Day 2.
This tradition is held very dear here at WTN. All of our grades have reading buddies. The elder children get the opportunity to model literacy and be a mentor for the little ones. The younger buddies love having the one-on-one attention.
This week our students had a chance to meet their fourth grade buddies today! Each child was paired up with either one or two fourth grade students and they had some time to look at books and read together. We will get together with our buddies several times throughout the year to read stories, play games, and interact on the playground. We also will be sitting with our buddies during the Thanksgiving Feast next Tuesday. The bonds that are created during this time last throughout each child’s WT school career and become some of their fondest memories.
After our buddies returned to their classroom, the Pre-K wrote about their favorite part of the experience in their journals. These were their responses.
Today, our class met with our fourth grade buddies for the very first time! After all the children were paired up and introduced, they each found a cozy place to sit and read a few good books to one another. Very soon, the gentle hum of students reading filled our classroom and the occasional eruption of laughter was like icing on the cake.
Our class will meet with our buddies many times throughout the year. In the past, we have used this time to play outside together, work on special projects, and sit with one another during all school morning meetings. The students, both young and old, look forward to this special time and are always eagerly waiting for the next time they will get to see their buddies!
Last week we joined our Fourth Grade Buddies in the Science room for a little experiment. Mrs. Ferguson shared a YouTube video describing simple circuit design using the materials found in a common flashlight. Next, we gave each buddy group one battery, two wires, and one small light bulb. Let the Mad Science begin!
At first, the children basically copied the experiment found on the video. However, we weren’t going to let them stop there! Mrs. Ferguson, Mrs. Pless and I wandered around the room provoking questions and probing for hypotheses. Once the partners began posing their own questions, idea beget idea and the possibilities became endless.
Trying to close a circuit
Attempting varying wire configurations
A successful circuit closure
What happens when we try more than one battery?
Three batteries? Can a pyramid work?
Three batteries in a series?
What happens when we put five batteries together?
Before returning to our own classrooms, we asked both grades to share a little about the activity. Here are some of the responses:
- If you put on light bulbs on the battery, it will work.
- You need a wire, a bulb and a battery to make it work. The wire has to touch the bottom.
- When the wire circle isn’t closed, it’s an open circuit.
- If you use five batteries, the light bulb burns out.
- You put two candles[on top and the light works.
- We put four batteries and the bulb didn’t burn out.
- [Why is part of the wire yellow and the other silver?] Yellow is insulation. It keeps the energy in so that the wire doesn’t get hot.
We met with our reading buddies, again, this past Friday. Before they arrived, our class made cards for each buddy. The children chose to write their own thoughts, such as “I love you”, “you are cool”, and “___ is my friend.” When our fourth grade friends arrived, they were surprised to have such tokens of caring.
When we meet with our buddies, each pair of children usually picks one book at a time to read together. In an effort to provide comfortable space, we let half of the pairs sit in the hall and entryway near the library, while the other half reads within the classroom. The fourth graders are learning about intonation when they read, strategies for comprehension, and how to help a younger child enjoy stories. Our Pre-K students gain from the modeling provided by the “big kids”, opportunities to have one-on-one conversations about stories, and finding a sense of belonging in the wider world of our school.