Collaboration between a primary class and an intermediate class. This topic of cross grade collaboration was chosen because it is important to establish safe, positive relationships between primary and intermediate students in order to have a healthy school climate.
The activities that occurred were weekly buddy classes, relationships that extended throughout recess and lunch hour, concluding with a celebration field trip. Tools and resources were based around how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Students were involved in picking their buddies and designing their joint activities. Parents, volunteers, support and resource staff were all included in this project.
The shared evidence was displayed through a visual journal, ongoing observation of the buddy pairings, and reflections during class meetings. After recess and lunch hour there were less social issues to be dealt with between primary and intermediate students. The students were able to use proactive language to communicate their thoughts and feelings. This new communication established a positive learning environment where students became leaders. We explored active listening and effective communication techniques.
The primary student now had an older student advocate to assist him or her with recess and lunch hour social issues. Through class meetings, the students established strong relationships with the School Youth Worker and Counselor.
The celebration was a positive way to highlight the importance of healthy relationships with others and nature. Next time, after the celebration, time would be given to reflect on the field trip with our buddies. Next year in early September we will plan to reestablish these buddy relationships. It is important to start this buddy program early in the school year and maintain it weekly. We learned how important active listening and proactive communication is for students and teachers.