My students need folders, envelopes, dividers, labels, note pads, pencils, erasers, baggies, and storage bins to conduct and organize their peer tutor duties.
A. A. Milne said, "Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it's not all mixed up." My peer tutors want to conduct their duties in a way that is not all mixed up so they can they can spend time focusing on the heart of the program: building positive relationships!
I am the school counselor at a public, K-5 school in Tennessee.
My students are a diverse group culturally, ethnically, and economically. I work with all of our 850+ students in grades K-5, providing classroom guidance and individual and small-group counseling services.
In addition to supporting students' academic growth, I am tasked with teaching life skills and encouraging character development. These diverse responsibilities come together in my peer tutor (PT) program, where 4th- and 5th-grade students conduct weekly, one-on-one tutoring sessions, providing assistance and encouragement to younger, academically at-risk students.
When I began this program nine years ago, I begged teachers to refer students so each of my 30 peer tutors would have a child to help. Each year since, the program has grown as teachers see the important help provided by the peer tutors. This year already, 130 peer tutors are working with 130 study buddies, and each week I receive more requests for help.
The folders, tape, envelopes, pencils, erasers, note pads, address labels, baggies, and dividers requested in this project will be used to support my peer tutors' work with their study buddies; the storage containers will house these materials.
Each Friday morning, the peer tutors and their study buddies line the halls of my school. Working in dyads, they practice sight words and math facts, read stories, review for tests, and play educational games. An observer would hear words of caring and encouragement, such as, "I like the way you're working," and, "I love coming to see you every week!"
Each peer tutor has a folder used to organize their duties. The folders hold the PT training materials. Taped into the folders are envelopes which house stickers, pencils, and erasers for the study buddies. Also in the folder is note pad paper to record each PT visit. Address labels and baggies are used when the tutors take home materials to make goodie bags for their buddies.
Ultimately, the peer tutor program is about the relationships built between the peer tutors and their study buddies.
As the struggling students bond with their tutors, they become more engaged in school and begin to achieve at a higher level. The buddies begin to imitate the pro-active behaviors of their tutors, promoting emotional health and wellness. At the same time, the peer tutors experience the value of helping others and have the opportunity to practice responsibility and leadership.
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