Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Lucy and Ethel. Tracy and Hepburn. Buddies at St. Paul's continue a fine tradition of teamwork, problem solving, and the exchange of acquired knowledge.
First graders met their fifth grade Service Learning buddies this week and a veritable gasp emerged in Ms. Aronson's first grade classroom as a gaggle of fifth graders entered to claim them for the year. As if on a mass blind date, students scanned faces as pairs of names were announced. Her? Him? You with the red shirt? Half of the first graders met their match in Ms. A's room, while the other half went upstairs to fifth grade to meet their buddies there. Unusual Conversational Gambit
As ice breakers go, the introduction of a Venn diagram had a uniquely academic feel. Students were asked to make a Venn diagram of their favorites in such realms as vegetable, ice cream, and recess game, in hopes of staking out some common ground while acknowledging each person's inherent right to prefer cardomom ice cream over peach. "Do you know what a Venn diagram is?" fifth grader Isaac asked first grader Violet. She did not, or if she did, she wasn't going to say. She also wasn't eager to commit to what exactly her favorite recess game was. For the older students, there were lessons in the art of coaxing conversation. Click here to see the slideshow of buddies + Venn diagrams
Cross-grade buddies exist throughout the school, including kindergarten and eighth grade Chapel buddies and third and seventh grade science buddies. Perhaps surprisingly, the Buddy Program has a meaningful academic component, said Ms. Miller, Seventh Grade Math and Science Teacher, who conducted a Teacher Research Group study of the St. Paul's buddy program. She noted that the program allows older students to solidify aspects of their science knowledge by re-visiting material and teaching it to younger students. At the same time, the younger students present fresh ideas and excitement, which allows the seventh graders to let go of any jaded affect while learning new concepts.