Liberty 5th Graders Buddies with Douma Kindergarten

OTTUMWA—Kindergarten students at Douma braved the cold on Wednesday to spend time with their fifth grade buddies at Liberty.


Kindergarten students in Kathie Mason’s classroom walked to Liberty to work with their fifth grade buddies on reading and technology. The activity was a reward for earning 10 Douma Delightfuls, part of the school’s Positive Behaviorial Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. Walking to meet their buddies was “very motivating,” according to Mason.


Last fall, all fifth graders walked to Douma to collaborate with kindergarten students. They have continued to communicate during the first half of the year. Examples include fifth graders sending candy canes to students before winter break and kindergarten students sending “You’re a star” messages to their buddies.


“The fifth graders do a great job of modeling the Bulldog Beliefs,” said Lauren Strathman, fifth grade teacher. Students spent an hour reading and learning about technology. And many have formed relationships with their kindergarten buddy. Several students asked “can I be partners with the same student I had last time?” she said.

One kindergarten student reversed the rolls. She was proudly reading books to her fifth grade buddy. A brother and sister were reading together. The siblings had asked to be paired as buddies. Mason was proud of how engaged her students were.


“The biggest thing for me is the relationships,” said Mason. “We can’t have enough people to connect with.”