Learning Partners: LPs for Life

Overview LPs for Life gives new meaning to long playing learning partners. It is a cross-aged tutoring and mentoring project where elementary students work with primary students on literacy and other subjects as suggested by curricula needs. Mentors, with their teacher, write the program's mission statement and rules. Planning involves the whole class with cooperative learning as a focal point. Students use technology with Alpha Smart keyboards, desktop computers, scanners and digital cameras as essential tools. Following each LP session, fifth graders write reflections that they share with classmates as an assessment and impetus for future planning. Student generated and personalized incentives add excitement to the culminating showcase.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Decide on Learning Partners (LPs) & plan introductory session.
Choose monthly theme, ex. famous women.
Begin reflections for LP pocket folders.
Research & write biographies of selected women.
Write articles about LP sessions for local newspapers.
Learn to scan work & create clip art for incentives: book marks, business cards, personalized certificates.
Prepare computer slide show (or download, 2.56 MB) & boards for showcase.
Invite school community, parents & staff to showcase.
Meet with LPs & schedule weekly sessions.
Retell or read stories of famous women to LPs.
Share reflections & help them write their own using Alpha Smart keyboards.
Use digital camera for newspapers & exhibits.
Compile photos, articles & reflections in LP Notebook.
Plan showcase agenda together.
Share computer slide show (or download, 2.56 MB), boards & notebook at showcase.
Distribute bookmarks & certificates to LPs.
Discuss connection between mentoring & teaching.
Create business cards to distribute to classroom & school visitors.
Research women & careers on Internet.
Identify rare Image of Phillis Wheatley.
Share image with board members of Boston Women's Heritage Trail.
Visit newspaper office.
Observe photographers, reporters, & editor.
Interview educational writer & local police officer in class.
Interview principal on careers in education.

Learning Standards English Language Art

Connect reading with own and others' experiences.
Use various formats and technology to complete and enhance work.
Understand and use writing process effectively.

Learning Standards Social Studies

Conduct historical and Social Studies research.
Obtain information from a variety of sources.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication & Literacy Skills.
Organize & Analyze Information.
Use Technology.

Assessment Weekly reflections are shared and assessed. Students assess program by completing end of year elementary and primary evaluations.

Software or Materials Used for literature: A Picture Book of Helen Keller by David Adler, 1990: Holiday House; A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David Adler, 1992: Holiday House; A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler 1993: Holiday House; for business cards, bookmarks and invitations: Avery brochure/flyer paper; #3260 embossed greeting cards; for digital photos: HP or Kodak photo paper; for reflections & exhibit: pocket folders, boards, large loose-leaf binder, shaded paper, trifold display boards; for technical support: digital camera, Alpha Smart keyboards; for software: Appleworks, Microsoft Word, Power Point, The American Girls (The Learning Company ages 8 - 12), Inspiration, Printmaster Gold.

Web Sites Peer and Cross-Age Tutoring; Cross-Age and Peer Tutoring; Boston Women Heritage Trail; Women In American History; Awesome Clipart For Kids: Education & School!

Keywords Service Learning, Learning Partners, Mentoring, Cross-age Tutoring, Peer Tutoring, Women's History

Final Words The purpose of LPs is for older students to serve the school community by using their skills to help youngsters. It's apparent that the mentors gain as much from the program as they give. My fifth graders are more confident of their abilities, more mindful of their behaviors, and more willing to go the extra step to help others. An unexpected heartwarmer is seeing budding friendships between LPs. It has led to one student having a calming effect on his behaviorally challenged partner. As a result of this commitment to mentoring, two of my students work with a class of autistic students. No wonder Learning Partners can become Long Playing.

Teacher Tip Reading and sharing reflections has become a cornerstone of our classroom. Sometimes reflections are sad, usually encouraging, often humorous and always informative. Also, you will need at least one pre-session planning period to insure student confidence. Students step into positive leadership roles when they are prepared.

E-mail contact Darlean Lewis misstory12@aol.com

Teacher Bio Darlean Lewis has taught grade five at the Dr. Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School for four years. She is a Lead Teacher and is active in the School Site Council's personnel sub-committee, the instructional leadership team, and the mathematics team. A Spencer Foundation Grant recipient, Darlean researches ways to improve MCAS math scores. Board member of the Rollins Griffith Teacher Center, a program for current and aspiring Boston Public School Teachers, this classroom techie pursues any technology that enhances Learning Partners projects.

Subject Areas all areas

Grade Levels K - 5

Students Partnerships between upper elementary and primary students

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