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First and Fifth Graders Collaborate and Learn Together!

 At Indian Trail Elementary School, all of our students are part of a very special PACK. The Timberwolf PACK is one full of pride and excitement, and here at the Trail, we are all about being caring and collaborative students who work together to make a difference. Mrs. Southard’s first grade class and Mrs. Cosma’s fifth grade class have been collaborating with each other every week. The two classes are “Reading Buddies,” and each first grade student is paired with a fifth grade student. The two classes began the year simply reading to one another during their time together, but their teachers have allowed the relationship between the students to become even more meaningful by allowing them not only to read, but to become a partnership that is globally aware and technologically skilled.

When Mrs. Southard and Mrs. Cosma saw how well their classes were working together as reading partnerships, they decided to approach them with another piece of the educational puzzle. Each class at ITES represents a country from around the world, and they spend the entire school year studying that country and becoming a more globally competent individual. Mrs. Southard’s class chose to study Japan for the 2012-2013 school year, and Mrs. Cosma’s class elected to study Brazil. Because the two countries are parts of two different continents on two different sides of the world, their teachers thought that it would be a great opportunity to expose all of their students to not only one, but both, countries and their cultures. If the students could learn about both countries, they would be an even more globally proficient student who could recognize and appreciate a variety of cultures from a variety of locations.

The two classes spent two weeks working on their research. By using both books from the library and the Mac laptop carts, the students spent the first week working in their partnerships to research and document various facts about Japan that would be relevant and meaningful to both the first grade students and the fifth grade students. The following week, they again worked in partnerships, this time to discover and record various, relevant and meaningful facts about Brazil.

The two classes worked so well together, and although Mrs. Southard and Mrs. Cosma set out to collaborate together through the reading partnerships, they were so impressed with the manner in which their students worked together, collaborating and caring for each other and for their education. Our global research together, aided by technology and good old-fashioned bookwork, truly embraced our school’s vision. All of our students really did work together to learn and make a difference and unlocked their potential to be competent learners of the 21st century.


Written by: Erica Southard and Jessica Cosma
Posted: Nov 27, 2012 by Ben Shealy

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