My 3rd and 4th graders wanted to learn how to double-dutch jump rope. I knew that to really master this skill it was going to take more instruction than one teacher could give. I arranged with the 6th grade teachers for small groups of 6th graders to come in during my younger classes and help out. This arrangement has been great for many reasons:
1. The 6th graders are better at jump rope than I am and are really necessary to help teach this skill.
2. Using these older kids as role models has increased interest with the young students. This is especially true with the boys. I make sure each set of mentors has at least one boy to spark interest with the 4th grade boys, who sometimes consider jump rope as a girl-thing.
3. 6th graders are learning important life skills on this end of a PE class. I talk to them before about how this experience will be frustrating at times because the skill is so new to these younger kids. They have handled things so well and are doing a great job as teachers. The 3rd and 4th graders have made huge progress in just one day.
4. It is fun to see the older and younger kids interact.
5. Behavior — the 6th grade students aren’t allowed to come help if things are up to par in their regular classroom. One of their teachers expressed to me how motivating it had been for a couple of her students.
6. Improved teacher-student ratio. Each of the 3rd and 4th graders is getting more attention and help.
This has definitely been a win-win experience! I am so proud of my 6th graders for the good work they are doing.