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Camp enables kids to teach
Coaching Camp pic
Teresa Conowal helps students produce a short film in iMovie during an editing class. Students learn how to make and edit films during the class and, in return, will help teach other students next school year. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Students at Kilough Elementary spent last week learning how to help their fellow students in the classroom.

The elementary school held its inaugural Summer Coaching Academy the week of June 24 through 28. Funded by a grant from Sawnee EMC, the camp is aimed at teaching students how to share experiences with other students, allowing both parties to learn from them.

"It started when I taught a group of third- and fourth-graders to coach kindergarten and first-graders. They would come in 30 minutes early each morning to learn," said Teresa Conowal, a Kilough Elementary teacher. "What we started seeing was that both the students and the coaches had a huge boost in confidence. We also started seeing the coaches go back to their classrooms and coaching their peers, as well."

Conowal said that the program's goal is for students to gain leadership skills from the classes and that students involved were also showing dramatic improvements in confidence.

"Our goal is oral reciprocal metacognition, which is sharing your thinking out loud," said Kilough Elementary School Principal Tracey Compton. "These students will be taught how to, instead of just giving answers, share orally, how they think and solve problems."

The 15 students were selected by their homeroom teachers based on a rubric of criteria, such as showing a willingness to learn, being outgoing and an ability to communicate with their peers, Compton said.

According to Conowal, the students were already showing reception to the teaching methods on day one.

"When we started the first morning, the students didn't really want to do the camp, but by yesterday afternoon, half of the class was giving feedback, not only to their team leaders, but to other teams as well."

The students worked hands on with technology as well as other students in order to hone their skills as coaches.

"I think the most exciting thing that we've done is learning how to use iMovie," said Sam Hulsey, 10.

Hulsey said he hopes that the group will learn to be good coaches for their future classmates.

"I hope to learn to be more patient," Hulsey said. "I really hope that I'll learn to be a good coach."

Fellow student Grant Bryan, 9, agreed with Hulsey.

Bryan said that he was looking forward to learning techniques to be more patient with peers that may not grasp concepts as quickly as others.

"I really hope to learn to not get agitated when someone I'm teaching gets something wrong," he said.