Teachers and students have kicked off the 2016 calendar year, and the AIM research team is busy visiting participating AIM classrooms to continue collecting data and observing students’ engagement with the AIM materials. Watch a sample of the active student discussions researchers are observing:
To date, the AIM Buddy Project data collection includes:
- Teacher surveys from 90 participating classrooms and over 1100 student surveys from participating students
- Over 60 videos documenting buddy-pair discussions, reflections, and reactions to the AIM interactive features and the AIM topics.
The research team has begun scheduling the second round of student surveys across all participating schools—4 schools using the AIM Buddy Project curriculum, 2 schools using the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies curriculum as a comparison program experience, and 3 schools completing surveys without program participation. Responses from the first and second round of surveys will be compared to measure any changes since the start of the program.
Also researchers are preparing to conduct one-on-one interviews with approximately 60 participating students and 30 teachers.
- In the student interviews, we will ask about the program, about the topics, and about things they learned from their buddies and the interactives.
- From the teachers, we will learn how the interactives and other program materials may have helped them approach the topics.
One of the goals of the AIM Buddy Project is to have teachers to reinforce the learning and make connections to other classroom experiences. Here’s an exciting example of one connection made:
- In a 2nd grade classroom, students were working on the “Dear Adil” interactive feature. In the story, Arthur develops a pen pal relationship with a Turkish boy and he struggles with what it means to be an open, curious, and interested pen pal. Following the buddy interactive session, the teacher offered her class an opportunity to become pen pals with children in South Africa at a school where her daughter is a Peace Corps volunteer. This real-world experience will give students the chance to interact with their own pen pals and then compare their experiences to those of Arthur and Adil!
Watching buddy pairs connect and begin to open up as they share their thoughts and feelings around the AIM topics is one of the most gratifying parts of the research. To give you insight to this, we’ll end with a brief discussion between buddies as they begin to understand Buster’s difficulty in forgiving Binky for using his joke in “Buster’s Growing Grudge,”
Big buddy: “Why do you think it is easier to forgive others, instead of feeling upset?”
Little buddy: “Because if you feel upset, you’ll get just madder and madder, but if you forgive, you might just feel a little bit better.”