Campbell Hill Elementary 3rd-graders create solutions to help kindergarten students be successful
June 11, 2019—Campbell Hill Elementary students in Kristin Shimizu’s third grade class recently designed their own service-learning project to support their school community. Using behavior data, talking with playground and classroom teachers, and through their own observations, the 3rd-graders learned that kindergartners at their school were having a hard time at recess. To support their kindergarten friends, the 3rd-graders created a plan to help the younger students learn how to join in a game, be helpful not hurtful to each other with words and actions, follow the rules on the big toy, and lining up at the end of recess.
The third graders’ solution was to create three jobs: traffic director, line leader, and recess assistant. Each day the third graders attend morning recess with the kindergartners. They wear special lanyards which identify them as helpers on the playground. They model how to play safely, support kindergartners with problem solving, remind them of the rules, and support students lining up after the whistle blows to end recess. The older students were respectful and engaging, and the kindergartners quickly responded to their redirections and suggestions.
The 3rd-graders received feedback from kindergarten teachers, recess teachers and reviewed actual student-discipline data that clearly showed their work is making a positive difference on the playground: kindergartners are having more fun with each other, being safe on the big toy, lining up more quickly and successfully transitioning back to learning after recess.
When interviewed about their project and asked about how they felt, the 3rd-graders described a sense of confidence and pride in making a difference in their school. They also feel proud of their kindergarten friends and the skills they have developed. One third grader said, “I learned that kids really can make a difference.”
The class is already thinking about how they can continue this type of learning during the next school year.
Story and photo provided by Sound Discipline which offers research-based workshops, coaching, resources and support for school staff, youth workers, parenting educators and families.