Full & Half Time Student Schedule
Country Classroom Daily Schedule
Morning Welcome: unpack, coats and backpacks hung up, sign in
Art: paints, clay, “beautiful junk” (buttons, corks, yarn, shells, beads, lids)
Writing: book making supplies, many papers, pencils, crayons, markers
Reading: listening to audio books, felt board for re-telling
Math: balances, puzzles, games, pattern blocks, cubes, pegboards
Dramatic Play: dress-up clothes, scarves, pillows, kitchen, farm stand
Blocks/Building: legos, blocks, cars, marbles
Puzzles and Games
Science: bubbles, water, shadows, magnets, simple machines, bones
Teacher Center: to work on specific literacy and math skills
Theme Related Centers
Class Meeting: social curriculum, math, and literacy skills
Calendar and Daily Message
Music and Movement: songs, dances, finger play, games
English and Spanish
Read Aloud Related to the Theme
Math, literacy, science, social studies and art activities united by a theme
11:15 – 11:45
Half Day Program Ends – pack up and head home
Relax and Read: individual reading time
Read-Aloud Story to Re-gather
Math Time (M, W, F)
Writer’s Workshop (Tu, Th): mini-lesson, writing time, sharing
Free Choice Centers
Class Meeting: Thank you’s and challenge/solution sharing
Read aloud, sharing children’s work and learning, song
Pack Up, Afternoon Recess, Dismissal
Student Schedule Explained
Children come in and are greeted by their teachers and friends. They share their latest news, catching us up on the antics of their cats or baby brothers. Each child puts her coat and backpack in her cubby, puts on slippers, and hands me a folder that goes back and forth from school to home each day. Everyone signs in on our chalkboard, and picks a center.
Two children are constructing a castle in the block corner. Three others have set up a doctor’s office in dramatic play. One child is studying the seeds that are sprouting by the window, and calls over some friends to see how they have changed since yesterday. A teacher or volunteer brings a few students over to the table to work on making word families in shaving cream. With a few reminders, children clean up the area where they have been playing before picking a new activity.
After an hour of centers work, everybody does a final clean, and we gather on the rug for our morning class meeting. We sing songs, write and read a daily message, and do activities around the calendar. As attentions spans dictate, we move to finger play, dances, and other movement activities. We speak (and sing) in both Spanish and English.
All that dancing works up an appetite, and we break for a snack that everyone brings from home. The children sit and talk, helping each other clean up the inevitable spills.
Now, it’s time for Theme Work. We start with a read-aloud related to our theme, and then we jump into an activity. For more about what a theme looks like, check out this link. This is a hands-on, brains-on time of exploration where we use all the disciplines to really dig deeply into a topic.
It’s time for another break in our day, and we head outside for morning recess. If it’s sprinkling, we put on our boots and raincoats, and get pretty wet exploring the puddles. If it’s snowing, we put on lots of layers, and catch the flakes on our tongues. Teachers are around to support problem solving, but we encourage children to find their own solutions to difficulties.
Our half day students head home, and our full day students sit down for lunch.
As children finish lunch, they clean up their space, put away their lunch boxes, and find a cozy place for “Relax and Read.” We put on some quiet jazz or classical music. For some students, this might be a nap time as they stretch out on some pillows. For others, it’s a chance to look at books, alone or in a small group. It’s a time for the teacher to read with children who are ready to read or already reading. After half an hour, we gather together for another read-aloud or maybe a story told by the teacher or the whole class.
At this point in our day, we do a math activity or “Writer’s Workshop.” Often the story we just read may lead into a particular type of writing or a particular math game or activity. While math and writing are integrated throughout the day, this time gives us a little extra time to focus on these skills
It’s time for more centers, and the children jump in.
We gather one final time on the rug and share some of our work from the day. We might do a little reflecting and problem solving on the challenges of the day and take turns thanking a classmate or teacher for particular parts of the day. We sing together and maybe dance too.
Everyone packs up, and it’s time for our afternoon recess. The children play and play until it is time to head home.
We are going to begin the year with a “Building Community” theme. Every child in the class makes a “Peep,” not the marshmallow variety, but a little clothespin person with fabric, yarn, paint, and lots of glue to hold it all together. These “Peeps” then set out to make a town. They come up with a way for making decisions which lets us talk about some different forms of government. Classes in the past have decided on majority rule democracies and consensus based decision making – I have yet to find a group willing to make me dictator, but I always suggest it. They name their town, and start the planning part. What does a town need to thrive? Everyone takes on different roles: librarian, chef, doctor, veterinarian, firefighter, teacher, postal worker, farmer, police officer, engineer, etc. Once they come up with a list, we start to visit these places to see what they have in them and what people there really do. We read books, generate questions, and try to answer the questions. Meanwhile we are building our town, a combination of houses and professional buildings built out of shoeboxes, fabric, egg cartons, pizza tables, and other great finds from the recycling bin. After lots of hard work, our town is done, and it stretches around the room. It’s time to bring our town to life, so we start playing. After a bit, we meet as a group to de-brief and figure out any issues. Our firefighter is feeling overwhelmed answering all the calls for help – maybe we need a team of volunteer firefighters. Eager hands shoot into the air. Do we need to pay for services and products? Let’s make some money. Then we play some more. I could leave the room for half an hour, and I really don’t think anyone would notice, but I much prefer to observe, ask the occasional question, and of course, have my little clothespin person join in the fun.
During this theme, we engage in social studies practices as defined by New York State: gathering, interpreting, and using evidence; comparison and contextualization; geographic reasoning; economics and economic systems; and civic participation. We work on Reading Standards for Informational Texts, Writing Standards, and Speaking and Listening Standards as defined by the Common Core. But if you ask the children what they did in school, they would say, “Play!”