Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peer Collaboration Programs- Part 1

In an effort to get some more peer involvement going within my school, we have started some new peer collaboration programs and activities over the past few years.  One that we have been doing since I started four years ago is our weekly lunch club.  Each grade level is set to meet every Wednesday during their lunch period.  In the past, lunch clubs have taken place in various classrooms throughout the building, but this year I have all the lunch clubs meeting in my classroom (I know, what was I thinking).  For each grade level, we have 2-10 students with a full range of disabilities, as well as 10-20 of their friends all meeting weekly in my room.  The main purpose of this club is to give students the opportunity to get together in a smaller group setting, and interact and socialize with one another while making new friendships.  We have 30 minutes for lunch, so students usually spend the first 15-20 eating and talking, and the last 10 or so either playing a game or just continuing to socialize-- it depends on the grade level.  In 6th grade, we usually end up playing games like Jenga or Uno, in 7th grade we play the DVD games for Family Feud and The Price is Right, and 8th grade usually just wants to socialize.  The program has gotten really successful over the years, and some days we have almost 30 kids in my room all hanging out with one another.  I always get nervous on these days that we won't have enough to do, or the kids will get bored and not want to come back, but they always seem to entertain one another without much adult interaction.  The Special Ed teachers, parapros, and some general ed teachers also come in to assist if it is their lunch period, but the adults can usually just sit back and supervise as needed.  During our lunch clubs, we have done special events such as tailgate potlucks, holiday parties, and pizza lunches, but these kids just like the opportunity to get together and hang out with their friends.

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