I remember “buddy time” in kindergarten was always something to look forward to. An older, “cool” 5th grader would come and read to us. They would teach that the “ways of the world” and it was forever an older friend to watch out for you on the playground.
“Buddy time” in 5th grade was always something to look froward to. Someone to give you undivided attention while you taught them everything you knew (which was a lot!) and read them books that only 5th graders could read.
So we’ve started “buddy time.” My older students teach the younger ones the national anthem and lead them through calendar time. The younger ones get a language model from the older students and someone to look up to that is like them. The older students feel empowered and its been beautiful to see the racial boundaries (yes we’ve got those here too), and “tough guy” face crumble as they are challenged to modify the activity for their particular buddy. I think I might have a few teachers in the making!