• Garfield Elementary’sAmazing Race to Recess Social Skills Program

    Rationale for intervention:

    ·        Program startedin 2009 

    ·        Why?Observed:  many kids were in office forrecess timeouts; interrupting office staff and missing class time. Office is avery exciting place to be and was not really a consequence.

    ·        No re-teachingof problem behavior occurring.

    ·        Students,teachers, recess supervisors, and parents complained that little was being doneto resolve conflicts in a timely manner.

    ·        Principal andMSW were spending a lot of time with conflict resolution, and seemed to bedealing with the same handful of students.

    ·        Teacherscomplained that kids were missing too much class time to resolve conflicts,(under pressure with AYP) and due to the high number of incidents; we werefrequently unable to resolve the concerns immediately.

    What could we do differently?

    ·        We were alreadyimplementing several programs/tools school-wide:  Make Your Day, Kelso’s Choices, Peace Table,Second Step, Steps to Respect and Kelso’s Problem report

    ·        Kids knew theskills, but were not applying them. Needed coaching to help with application ofskills.

    ·        Saw the show“Amazing Race”.  Liked the idea of usingthe race model and challenges for social skills coaching.


    HowAmazing Race to Recess works:

    ·        MSW staffs all lunch recesses (2 hours per day – no Fridays) with trained peer coaches(assistant coaches) and myself (head coach) in our multi-purpose room. Peercoaches are nominated by their teachers.

    ·        Students (theracers) are referred by recess staff, teachers, parents or studentsthemselves.  Referring behaviors includea myriad of social skills issues: aggressive play, fighting, friendship issues,isolation, not playing by the rules, peer conflicts, needing adult support, andkids in need of support due to injuries/medical notes (i.e. broken arms orlegs).

    ·        The race isdivided into 7 stations or continents (4 indoor and 3 outdoor). These stationscontain games or activities requiring increasingly more complex social skills(activities and games).

    ·        There aresocial skill based expectations for each continent.  Racers are paired with an assistant coach andgiven a passport. The passport is used to record whether the racer met theexpectations of each continent. MSW circulates and coaches’ kids with theirbehaviors as needed. Just before the bell rings, the pairs line up and reportshow the racer did (Did the racer meet the expectations of the continent? Werethere any concerns? What could be done differently tomorrow? Etc.). I remindthem that not every mountain climber conquers a mountain the first time.

    ·        Antarctica(Is a solo mission. Students areexpected to sit quietly, read a book, raise hand for help, or cool off). North America (A 2 person mission. Students, witha coach, are expected to work together to pick a card game, play fairly, playby the rules, demonstrate appropriate winning and losing behaviors and clean uptogether). South America (A 3 personmission with same expectations of NA, but games are more complicated andrequire patience and cooperation skills). Australia (A 3 to 4person mission with added expectations of waiting your turn, and sticking withthe game over several days). Europe, Asia, and Africa are outdoor stations.(Each continent represents a different section of our recess area with its ownexpectations).

    ·        When the raceis finished, the racer is given a small token. The racer is also eligible toapply to be an Assistant Coach if their teacher nominates them.

    ·        Students arealso sent to Amazing Race for conflict resolution, (including filling outProblem Reports, Peer Mediation, and Peace Tables).  I monitor Peace Tables.


    ·         Few to no students in the office for recessbehaviors.

    ·        Students arelearning alternative social skill behaviors(less referrals to the office).

    ·        Students arecoached to practice the social skills taught in class (i.e. 'What would Kelsodo?' or 'What strategies can you use to calm down?')

    ·        AssistantCoaches benefit from leadership opportunities.

    ·         MSW connects with 60+ kids per day 4 days perweek

    ·        Allows time forMSW to check in/support kids.

    ·        Positivefeedback from all staff (Zoomerang survey, 2011).

    ·        Less time spentin class solving recess and other problems, (Zoomerang survey, 2011).

    ·        Decrease inSuspensions, Step 4s (office data).

    ·        Less time outof class for conflict resolution (Zoomerang survey, 2011)

    ·        Frequentopportunities to observe if previously taught social skills are transferring toreal life settings.