The Quest Day
Each morning the children are greeted at the door with a handshake and a “Good Morning!” Generally, students come in, unpack their things, change into their indoor shoes, grab their Work Journals, and begin to plan their day. Lessons with the teachers begin right away and those children who are not in lessons use their daily plan to begin their own work for the day. Creating that plan includes:
- checking the Lesson Board and recording the time of any lessons they may have,
- identifying unfinished work in their Work Journal,
- consulting their Weekly Plans for follow-up assignments or projects that need attention,
- and, if time allows, choosing from a variety of other work that may interest them. We currently have a number of students writing poems to enter into a poetry contest, while others are conducting research on the history and production of chocolate, octopods, and squid.
Everything your child is working on is recorded in their Work Journal. You can learn more about the details about your child's day by inviting them to walk you through their Work Journals, which they bring home each night.
Every morning in Upper Elementary consists of an uninterrupted three-hour work block. On any given morning you will find students in small group lessons, working on follow up assignments alone or with a friend, or exploring an area of specific interest. Children may be cooking in the kitchen, checking the greenhouse, completing their weekly math, or having a check-in with one of the teachers. There is a hum of activity throughout the morning as the children move from one work or activity to another.
Work and Play
After a solid three-hour work block, it's time for lunch. Each day Lunch Contractors are randomly chosen and their job is to prepare the room for lunch. After taking out the glass plates, silverware, and placemats for the students, the Lunch Contractors randomly place name cards on tables to ensure that the children eat with a variety of their classmates throughout the week. Recently, a child in the class decided to design conversation boxes for each table in order to help them get to know each other. After lunch, Upper El heads out for recess to play Gaga or football, swing on the swings, practice gymnastics, create their own games, or visit with the chickens. Lunch and recess together take an hour... or maybe a little more if the weather is beautiful.
The afternoon schedule varies depending on the day. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons are spent having larger group lessons such as Writers Workshop, science or history. Two days a week Upper Elementary has gym and art in the afternoons. Because Upper Elementary students are responsible for maintaining their classroom environment, the day ends with classroom chores. Jobs include loading the dishwasher, tidying shelves around the room, watering the plants in and outside of the classroom, collecting eggs from the chickens, and taking out the trash/recycling and compost. After the jobs are completed and checked by the children, there is just enough time for silent reading, a read-aloud or chatting quietly with friends before dismissal. It is a long and busy day in elementary and the children work hard. Because no homework is assigned in Upper Elementary, children have the opportunity to go home to be with the family, relax with a book or play outdoors without the burden of extra work. The next day, the cycle starts again.