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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Spark Student Motivation Saturday {Buddies}

It's Saturday and time to link up with my sweet friend, Joanne, at Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays!   
Each fourth grade classroom at my school voluntarily participates in a buddy program with a younger grade.  Throughout the year, we meet with our Kindergarten buddies for activities.  We used to meet once a month, but now that we have departmentalized, it will probably be only about five times that we will meet with our buddies during the year.  Our schedule is just so tight with the blocks.

Yesterday, we finally had time to meet with our Kindergarten buddies again and we worked on a chain link countdown for Christmas craft together.  Everyone has done the infamous chain link countdown, but what makes it nice is my lovely fourth graders can use a stapler safely (most of the time!) to staple the links while the Kindergartners pass them the strips in an ABC pattern (red, green, white).  Have you ever tried to glue the links?  It is messy and difficult!  When they are finished, my fourth graders can make one of their own (most of them still really want one and they can use the excuse that they worked on it with their buddy!).  Has anyone noticed that so many fourth graders still believe in Santa?  I don't really remember any of my friends still believing after 2nd grade growing up.  I think the internet and tracking Santa might have something to do with it?!?

I just love watching the students interact with their buddies!  The biggest surprises are always the  students who are potential behavior problems and how they just SHINE in this environment when they are given the opportunity to be a role model.  It is a great motivator for all students and an excellent way to teach them to be a role model for good behavior. I really see a different side of so many students come out when they are the "big kid".  

Here are a couple other pictures from last year with our buddies working on a Valentine's Day card holder and on Dr. Seuss hat day reading with our buddies.

We use this Getting to Know you activity that you can download for FREE here.  I copy the two papers in different colors.  One paper has questions for the 4th Grader to answer and I have them fill it out before meeting with the buddies.  They share their responses with their buddy when they meet.  The other paper has the same questions but the 4th grader asks their buddy for their answers.  Each student keeps the paper with answers about their buddy to take home.

If you have never tried buddies, think about joining a classroom for the rest of this year or put it on your to do list for next year.  You won't regret it and the students will thank you!

Don't forget to enter this giveaway where everyone wins at I'm Lovin Lit!  It ends tomorrow!


  1. This is such a cute idea! My class is buddies with the 1st grade class. We visit with them for Christmas, Easter, and normally to share a story at the end of the year. It's so cute to see the older kids become "big buddies."

    I have quite a few kids in my class that still believe in Santa too...probably about half the class!

  2. I love buddies. I found you at Head Over Heels! Love your site!

    Renee at the Science School Yard

  3. Love looking at your pictures with your buddies. My best friend teaches next door to me with an accordian wall between us. She teaches 3rd this year and I'm 5th. We buddy up on so many things and it makes such a difference. If her kids don't understand something or need a little encouragement, she will say, "Go see your buddy" and they quickly rush over to our side to have a conference. It is beneficial for both groups. Love!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I agree 100%. Students love to be buddies. We have been buddies with the Kindergarten class as well and have not found time yet this year - my students can not stop aksing when we will be with our buddies!

  5. When I was a first grade teacher, I would buddy with a fifth grade class and we would combine activities once a month. Then when it came time for testing, we would make them treats and make posters to encourage them. It was always so fun.

    Loved reading your post.

    Hodges Herald

  6. When I student taught, we had book buddies. We would go to their classroom on Fridays and spend 30 minutes reading together! It was such a great motivator for both the older and the younger students. I'm going to see about implementing buddy classes next year!

    Keep Calm and Hoot On

  7. We have kindergarten buddies this year, but with our schedules we have not been able to get together yet. Boo! I really like the ideas you've shared here. Maybe I'll have to get myself moving toward scheduling more time for buddies. I know the kids love to do it! Thanks for sharing, Holly!

    (PS -- I'm still a believer in Santa! :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  8. We have buddies in our school as well. This year, I am teamed up with our multiple handicapped unit. Students love it so much that they are able to earn "helping time" there as a reward.

    Fit to be Fourth

  9. How fun! I can still remember who my kindergarten buddy was when I was in 4th grade. I would love to start a buddy program at my school! At my school we are the youngest grade, so we would have to be buddies with the scary, older kids :)


  10. LOVE your buddy program! It's a win-win! My class does reading buddies with a younger class, of course, we can spend more time on it after testing (unfortunately, I don't have much time to give up before testing) which is a shame because these are the times they will remember! I laughed about your messy links comment! So true! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching