This year my first graders are buddies with 4th graders. The routine is usually…the 4th graders come down to our classroom *to read together (5 books that my students have picked out, fry word practice and 1 magazine), do some kind of math game to practice fluency and a couple of Brain Breaks.* Once a month(usually the last Thursday of the month) my first graders get to go upstairs to the 4th grade classroom to do an activity that they plan. It is usually a science/social studies theme related project that goes with our curriculum! There are times the 4th graders have a harder time staying on task than my first graders. I always train the buddies how to sit EEKK when reading with their buddies and how to coach their little buddy when they get stuck on a word. It is wonderful to watch the interactions between the buddies. One thing that is hard is when the 4th grade class has more students than I do. When I match up two big buddies with one little buddy due to the numbers in the class, I find that the big buddies don’t focus on the little buddy at all. They spend time goofing off. What do you do when the numbers don’t match up? It is no problem to put two little buddies with one big buddy because the big buddy can read to both of them or have one do read to self while the big buddy listens to the other little buddy. *For math fluency* the fourth grade buddy rolls 2-4 large foam cubes for their little buddy (there are students working on adding 2,3 or 4 addends at a time). My students have to think out loud to explain their thinking of what strategy/strategies they use when trying to figure out the sum. I do a lot of modeling for buddies so they know how to help my students explain their thinking verbally. This activity is hard for some of the buddies because we have a high percentage of speech students in the school. If you do BIG/little buddies…what activities do you do and how often do you meet?

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We did do buddies, and the teacher who taught the younger students (not me) guided the program. I felt my job was to talk to my students about the behavior, and to help with any conflicts. We did reading, too, but just for enjoyment or to practice with the young ones, and we did art and scavenger hunts outside for nature objects. As for the doubles. My students did have to double up, but only one went down to do buddy time, i.e. they took turns. Those older kids should act more responsibly, I agree.

I wish I did buddies. It wasn’t something I thought of during the beginning of the year. Too much going on. I know some teachers will have them do crafts that the kids will need 1-1 help on. So you can get it done quicker.

We have 5th grade study buddies that will review math facts or sight words. These relationships are so wonderful!

This year we do not have buddies and I miss it. We have always kept it reading focused in general, with the older buddies (my class) reading to the younger ones. In recent years we have also shared writing with each other and this has been lots of fun.