Monday, January 4, 2010

Peer Collaboration Programs- Part 2

This is a continuation of my previous post about lunch clubs at my school.  Another program we just started last year is called "Celtic Connection" (pronounced 'kel'-tic, not 'sel'-tic), which we created last year as an after-school peer collaboration program.  Last year I had assistance in starting this program by an amazing paraprofessional in my building, but she did not have as much time available to assist this year so I'm heading up the program myself.  That is not to say I don't have assistance-- we have a great special ed. staff in my buildling, and the Intervention Specialists and paraprofessinals all take turns showing up to events to assist.  We also have an amazing Speech Therapist who is very involved in the program, and our principal and asst. principal have even helped out from time to time.

With last year being our first year, we did not get the program started until about November of the school year.  We recruited some students who were already involved in our lunch clubs, and asked them to work with us on starting this club.  From the beginning, we have had a student-centered approach: the name of the club, the slogan, the logo, and the mission statement were all created by club members.  We also had the club members plan the activities they wanted to do for the year, and decide how we could include all students and recruit new members.  The club decided we would meet 2x per month after school from 3-4:30.  Some of the activities we did last year were
  • a holiday party with a gift exchange
  • a movie night (we watched Madagascar 2 the day it came out)
  • video game night (we hooked up Wii's and Xbox's to different TVs and smartboards in the building)
  • board game night (we had a variety of games, but played mostly Apples to Apples)
  • Outdoor Games night (we played games like kickball, dead fish, ships and sailors... my 9+ years as a camp counselor really came into use that night!)
  • Scrapbooking night (we had all sorts of scrapbook materials out, and printed pictures from all our events-- each kid made a few pages to put in our scrapbook)
We also tried to include a snack at each event, as these middle schoolers are ravenous by 3 o'clock!  In the beginning, I would just buy snacks, but I got smart later in the year and had the students contribute.  We did a sundae bar where I supplied the ice cream and everyone had to sign up to bring in one topping.  We did a nacho bar another night will all the toppings laid out for them to make themselves.  And of course we made barrels of popcorn for our movie night.

See my next post for info about what we are doing this year!


  1. Love this idea! My classroom is based in an elementary school and I've been looking for ways to get some "same-aged peer interactions" going and this gave me a great idea to start a club at the highschool (grade 9-12) down the street and plan one evening social event a month for our students and the students in the club to attend. I'm going to get thinking on this as I love the idea and I know that I can have my students do some of the preparation. I also know that there is a core group of grade 9 girls that would probably be interested in coming out as they have helped out in our room before :). Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  2. That's a great idea! We are planning to get together with the peer collaboration club at our high school this year, so the kids can meet each other and see what the program will be like when they get to high school. I'm always amazed at how easy it is to get kids interested and involved; I'm always worried I will have to bribe them or have some sort of great incentive for peers to participate, but they show up just because they love it! Good luck setting up your program!