Students as Coaches in the Classroom

Hey everyone! I have been using a new (to us) model in our classroom recently and I thought I would share it with you in case it will work in your classroom.
Students as teachers has always been a powerful idea in the classroom. I’m sure most of you have used a peer teaching model. 
This is similar.
Before we start a unit, I administer a preassessment to all students My students know I am simply looking for what they know about the topic. It is very low stress, but they always seem to want to do well.
When I check their preassessments I look for true understanding of the concept. Those that show mastery and understanding are selected to be the coaches for that topic. 
I spend a great deal of time helping my students understand that we all have things that we are great at doing and we will all have a chance to coach during the year. As we know, even our strugglers have amazing things to offer in our classroom. 
Once the coaches are selected, I meet with them as a group to discuss our vision…and I have found they have wonderful ideas. This is a quick little 5-10 minute meeting and takes places when we can squeeze it in…because isn’t that how life in the classroom is? We make sure the goal is understood and what our game plan is for reaching that goal.
I have included our Tips for Coaches that has helped a ton in our classroom.  
There are several fabulous blog posts about leaders vs. bosses and we have referred to them often. We worked very hard to make sure that the coaches do not think of themselves as “know-it-alls” or that they are not going to work (because we know that coaches sometimes work harder!).
Here are our tips:
I have 16 students (Yes, it’s amazing!) so I try to stick with 4 teams of 4. 
I was super unique and named the teams red, yellow, blue, and green.
Because we may have coaching sessions in 2 topics during a day, I bought color coded, inexpensive hats for the coaches, just so that those being coached (and I) can keep track.

Now, my job during this time is to make sure that the coaches are leading AND participating in the activities, as well as staying on track with our game plan. I also conference with teams during this time to monitor how much success is taking place and redirect if necessary.
I gather all of the materials needed ahead of time and put them in color coded large envelopes (but I am currently in search of color coded boxes with lids – hello Plastic Fusion paint).
So far, this has been a great model for our classroom. The coaches get to share their expertise and knowledge with others and the students receiving the coaching are getting help from students at their level backed by the coaching plan (and me).
I would love to hear about it if you try this in your classroom.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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