Buddy Reading has certainly evolved since it began at BISS. In the beginning, our goal was to honour cultural identity and foster Mother Tongue reading skills. Cross-age literacy sessions focused on students reading in their native languages, to build conceptual connections, linguistic understanding and vocabulary transference.
It worked well. But BISS is a place of innovation! As teachers collaborated and students formed relationships, the programme began to change. Now called Buddy Learning, it is a rich, multi-faceted programme of inquiry. Students still share Mother Tongue literature, but buddy classes also engage in exciting projects, which build many more skills across the curriculum. In multi-age, multi-lingual situations, students develop research skills, language in all its forms (speaking, listening, reading, writing, viewing, presenting), digital literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills, while experiencing peer teaching, social mentoring, and authentic feedback.
Read on to see how Pre-K & Grade 3 celebrated Earth Day as Buddy Learners!
Last week’s Kite Project was a perfect example of Buddy Learning in action. Grade 3 researched and recognised Earth Day, as part of their inquiry into global celebrations. They learned that flying kites is a fantastic Earth Day activity, as wind is a sustainable energy source and kite-flying forces us to look up and notice the world above our eye line (and screens!). Pre-K joined the project, with very different goals. With support from Grade 3, Pre-K focused on fine motor skills (drawing, cutting, pasting and winding, during construction), reading (a pictorial “how to” guide), sequencing (following steps in order), measuring (lengths of twine) and gross motor skills (running, pulling and changing direction to keep their kite airborne).
On a Friday afternoon, under a bright blue sky, 8-year-olds taught 3-year-olds to fly their own handmade kites. From the rich conversation, huddled groups of heads, experiments with speed, hand position and wind direction, and above all, contagious squeals of delight – it was clear that Buddy Reading is indeed a relic. Buddy Learning has taken hold at BISS, with wonderful outcomes for students.
Thanks to Mrs Baker, Ms Willoughby, Mr Scott and Ms Bernadette for their commitment to collaboration and multi-age learning.