Mrs. Deb Hammond, one of Sacred Heart’s Kindergarten teachers, and her students have enjoyed their classroom collaboration with the sixth graders this year.
At the beginning of the year each young Kindergartener is paired with a sixth grade student. As “Mass Buddies,” they sit together during weekly school Masses or sing together at Praise & Worship in the church. Hammond enjoys watching the bond form. “My heart smiles when I sit back and watch the relationship between the two grades—WOW!”
This year sixth graders have also worked with their Kindergarten buddies for other activities. Students in Ms. Dawn Ziegelman’s 6th grade class recently developed their own lesson plan centered on a book, and together they read the story and worked through the activity. Hammond says, “When we do these activities, my students are tickled pink! They love going upstairs for activities!”
The interaction between grades is not something solely reserved for Kindergarteners and 6th graders, however.
This year collaboration has also extended into the high school. Miss Sarina Bauer, a high school Environmental Science instructor, had her students create presentations, lessons and displays for the younger elementary students.
The 11th and 12th grade science students enjoyed sharing their class millipedes, roaches, and blue tongued skink with the bright eyed and excited elementary students. “Teaching here has been a lot of fun,” said Bauer. “What I’ve seen here at Sacred Heart and what I strive to do is build relationships with each student.”
By encouraging this kind of relationship, students are learning to present information in an understandable, entertaining, or engaging way.
Hammond taught many of the sixth grade students, and even many of our junior and senior students once upon a time when she was the preschool teacher. “The children have developed such a good connection with their buddies,” says Hammond, “and the older ones are such wonderful role models.”
The high school students have enjoyed their roles as mentors. “Working with the younger classes was really fun,” said Joe Johnson, a junior. “Teaching others really helped me understand what I had learned and it’s always fun interacting with the younger students.”
In the conversation among teachers, the plan is for the collaboration between the grades to continue. “I have seen the sixth graders blossom into confident, compassionate students,” says Hammond.