Service Learning

Projects with Students Helping Others...in this case, 6th graders working with Kindergarten Buddies

On March 12, 2015, a "long Thursday," Tom's and Myrna's classes found a little time in their afternoon schedule to work on a Service Learning project.  Since one of the Kindergarten learning outcomes is "catching a large ball thrown by a skilled tosser," (National PE Standard 1. Element 16.b), I asked if Tom's 6th graders could toss and catch with their Kindergarten Book Buddies.  What a great opportunity the 6th graders gave to their buddies!  They demonstrated short distance, gentle force underhand tosses and gave tips on proper form for catching and underhand tossing.  I saw many Kindergarteners slowing down and thinking about stepping with their opposite foot when getting ready to toss.  I prepped the 6th graders with the actual rubric cues for the Kindergarteners' execution of the skills.   And I suggested that they offer friendly cues on the basics, with lots of positive feedback.  They did a terrific job!!  :)

 
Underhand tossing:  Arm swings back to start (tick tock arm), opposite foot steps, ball releases in front of tosser.  Nice Abby!
 
Catching:  Hands reach to ball, only hands contact ball, thumbs up and inward, hands give on catch.  Nice modelling, Jen!

6th with K buddies: Tossing & Catching


March 26 Tossing & Catching with Buddies + Messy Backyard for Overhand Throwing
 Sometimes, you get lucky and your plan brings out the best in kids!  The practice of tossing and catching between 6th graders in Tom's class and their buddies in Myrna's Kindergarten class showed such fantastic focus and performance!  After a few minutes of practicing with their buddies, the 6th graders moved to practice with a different kindergartener.  The focus improved!  And I heard 6th graders introducing themselves and asking their new partner's name.  :)  Sometimes, if you just give kids a chance, they will bowl you over with how awesome they are!  During Messy Backyard, 6th graders watched while their buddies practiced overhand throwing skills with yarnballs and then offered a compliment and a tip for helping with performance.  One 6th grader moved her buddy closer to the middle of the sagging volleyball net for better success getting the ball over to the other side.  Later, the 6th graders joined their buddies to finish the game.  Nice work by all students today!!
 
Myrna's class is ready with sneakers on every child!
Messy Backyard for Kindergarteners first, with breaks in the action for 6th grade buddies to offer a compliment and a tip to K buddies.  Then, 6th graders join in the overhand throwing fun!
 
Tossing & Catching with a 6th grader to start

  April 9
We practiced tossing and catching for a few minutes again.  Can't get enough practice with a skilled tosser making soft tosses to Kindergarteners!  Then we had some fun with a tossing game.  My brother has made Toss game sets for friends and always brings his to summer gatherings.  Maybe you have played this game too!  You toss beanbags at large boards with a hole cut out.  If you get the beanbag in, you earn 2 points.  If it lands on the board, you get 1 point.  It is a great game for counting and Underhand tossing.  We played matches with 6th graders joining their buddies and opposing another pair.  I had boxes, crates, buckets and hula hoops for targets.  Everyone looked like they were having fun practicing skills and counting up points!

May 14
Today was the best day ever for 6th & All-Day K Buddies!  We met up behind the school and then walked through the woods to the turf fields.  Older buddies helped keep K students in the middle of the path, away from poison ivy, and pointed out where to see the enormous bullfrog tadpoles in the stream under the bridge.  Plump tadpoles were trying to hide but were so exciting to see!  When we sat on the turf, the birds were singing and it felt like a perfect day!

6th grade buddies practiced and gave feedback for dribbling and passing a ball with feet.  Since neither K students nor 6th graders had worked on soccer skills this school year (in PE), it was a chance for me to see where kids skills were.  Fun intro for many kindergarteners.  And so fun for me to hear some 6th graders share technique from their favorite sport.  We finished with stepping and kicking a ball.  For kids who don't play soccer, this can be a tough skill and made much more inviting by their older buddy.  :)   Fun in the sun for all!