After some discussion about what students thought contributed to a good learning experience and what a "teacher" needed to do to ensure that, the class collaborated on the development of a rubric for both teacher and participant.
With a class of 30 students and the intent of keeping groups manageable and not so intimidating. 6 different students would teach each day taking 5 classes for everyone to have their turn as teacher. The 24 participants each day would be divided into 6 groups of 4. Each group would rotate after after spending approximately 10 minutes with each teacher. The final minute or two in each session was time designated for the teacher to assess each student's participation and for the students to assess the teacher for that session, as well as self-assess their participation. Each student recorded their assessments in their own booklet with 24 copies of the rubric. Teachers had a different coloured booklet adapted for assessing their 24 students that day. Students handed in their booklets at the end of class, which helped me with switching up the groupings for the next day. I also took the opportunity to scan the assessments to see if I needed to address any concerns about a student's lack of participation or poor conduct. The routine was quickly adopted and after the first class, the following classes ran very smoothly.
The students covered a variety of "How to" topics including card games and card tricks, some origami creations, string games, making friendship bracelets, braiding hair, counting to ten in Swedish and Norwegian, dance stretches, figure-skating moves, and stringing a lacrosse stick. One of the days was designated for outdoor activities which included some rugby, soccer, and ball hockey skills. The feedback from the students was very positive. Several students mentioned they liked learning new things, and I for one got a kick out of trying to lasso "Charlie" the sawhorse bull (see photo).
Now that the sessions are done, I hope to chat with each student to provide them with some feedback based on my own observations as well as from their peers, and to hear back from them about their experience as teacher and participant.
I would do this again but perhaps make some modifications to the assessment process, maybe look at having the group of 4 collaborate on one assessment of the teacher's session, rather than having 4 individual assessments for each session. It would cut down the time it took providing a summary of data for the students to see assessment for learning how to be a better participant or providing more clear instructions.
The activity not only has helped build a more positive classroom environment, other skills are being developed, such as oral communication, adaptability, and problem-solving. I like opportunities for students to have a choice, and setting up environments which reinforce we are all learners and can learn from each other.