New Los Angeles Elementary Charter School

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A Day at New LA


7:45-8:10 am: Breakfast – Dana arrives at school in time to pick up her breakfast from Revolution Foods and eat before school starts. She sees some of her friends and sits down to eat in the supervised breakfast area. She chats with her friend about what they are going to do in class today and wonder if there will be a new animal to study in science class. When Dana is finished with her food she takes her trash to the recycling station where she separates food, clean recyclables and trash into separate bins provided there.

8:10 am: Start of School - At 8:05 am Dana walks with her friends to their kindergarten classroom. They place their bags, lunchboxes and coats in their cubbies and go to the carpet for the day’s opening activities.

8:10-8:30 am: Calendar/Opening Activities – Dana’s teacher Ms. Diaz takes attendance then selects a classmate to come up to the calendar to write the new date. The class sings some songs about the days of the week, the months and seasons. Today is the 95th day of school and the class brainstorms different ways to get the number 95. One student suggests adding 90+5 while Dana suggests counting by 5s to get there. Ms. Diaz charts all the ideas and hangs them up. They are nearing the 100th day of school and Dana is excited for the 100th day party they are going to have.

8:30-9:30 am: Literacy – Everyone takes a stretch break and then returns to the carpet. Ms. Diaz holds up a book and reads the title and author out loud, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. Dana loves books but she struggles to read so read aloud is her favorite time of day. Ms. Diaz asks the class to make a prediction about what the book might be about. Dana notices that there are crayons with faces and arms and legs on the cover so she suggests that it is about magical crayons that can talk. As Ms. Diaz reads the students pay close attention. Sometimes Dana doesn’t understand a word, she remembers that Ms. Diaz always tells them to ask so she raises her hand and asks. Ms. Diaz explains the word and thanks Dana for speaking up. Ms. Diaz stops now and then to define words or ask the class for predictions. She also encourages them to imagine how Duncan might be feeling as he reads the letters from his crayons or identify with the emotions expressed in the book. When the book is over Ms. Diaz asks if this story could really happen. Dana knows that crayons can’t really write letters or talk and Ms. Diaz says that this is called fantasy.

After the read aloud students work in literacy centers. Dana is in a group that gets to work with Ms. Diaz, everyone in the group has a copy of the book they are reading together. They take turns reading aloud while Ms. Diaz helps with decoding, vocabulary and intonation. When they get to a point where a character is speaking Ms. Diaz stops them to talk about quotation marks and exclamation points and demonstrates how they can read with feeling when they see these marks on the page. Every student tries reading that line with feeling and Dana thinks it is kind of like acting.

Other students around the room are working independently while Ms. Baker the aide circulates around the room to help out.

9:30-9:50 am: Nutrition/Recess – Dana gets her snack from her bag and goes out to the kinder play yard. She joins a few friends who are assigned to garden duty this week. After eating her snack she goes to the raised bed garden and starts by pulling weeds. The students notice that the peas are starting to look plump and they ask if it is time to harvest them. Ms. Diaz says they’ll harvest on Friday and share with the class during lunchtime. Before recess is over Dana gets a watering can to carefully water the vegetables growing in the box without wasting any water. Dana had never seen peas that weren’t frozen or from a can before so she is very excited to try these fresh peas on Friday.

9:50-10:50 am: Math/CGI – Dana comes back to the classroom after nutrition, she knows it is time for math so she gets out her math journal and waits for the warm up. Ms. Diaz puts a 2x2 grid on the board with the following numbers: 12, 17, 5, 11 and asks the kids to think about which one doesn’t belong and hold up their fingers to show how many different responses they have. Dana can think of two ideas: 12 because it is even and the others are odd and 5 because it is only one digit. When it is time to share with her elbow partner he points out that 11 also doesn’t belong because it is the only one that has two of the same number. When the teacher calls the class back together Dana is surprised when other kids come up with lots of other possibilities. When they are done charting and discussing they have at least 15 on the board.

Now it is time for counting collections, Dana and a friend choose a bag filled with paper clips and set about counting them. Dana makes a mark on her paper for each paperclip she counts and writes the number next to it. She notices that her friend it making groups and asks what she is doing. Dana’s friend shows her that she is making groups of 10 and on her paper she is writing a circle with the number 10 inside to indicate the entire group. Dana knows how to count by 10s and realizes that she can do this too. When Ms. Diaz comes around Dana and her friend explain their discovery and Ms. Diaz asks them to present their ideas during closing. When the session is over all students gather on the carpet and Dana explains the grouping and counting by 10s.

10:50-11:20 am: ELD – Dana speaks Spanish at home but she has older brothers and sisters who speak English with her so she feels pretty comfortable in English. During ELD time she is in a group with other students who speak fluently but still need some support in academic language. The teachers call this the Bridging group. Dana likes this time of day because she gets to go to a different classroom just like her older siblings do. Dana has ELD class with Mr. Barry who teaches 1st grade. There are students from the other kindergarten classes in her group and some 1st graders as well. Mr. Barry starts with a read aloud of Press Here by Herve Tullet. This book is interactive and Mr. Barry gets on the floor with the students so they can be more involved. As he goes through the book he asks different students to follow the commands such as press all the yellow dots, shake the book or blow on the pages each time resulting in a new configuration of dots on the following page. Dana loves it when all the dots “slide” to one side of the page and Mr. Barry acts totally shocked.

After the read aloud Mr. Barry gives each student some blank paper and asks them to write some new pages to add to the book. Mr. Barry encourages the students to write and spell as best they can and asks students to read to him as he circulates. To close the class each students shares their ideas for additions to the book.

11:20 am -12:00 pm: Lunch/Recess – The students leave directly from ELD to lunch. Dana gets in the lunch line and takes her tray to a table where some of her friends are playing. After eating and cleaning up after herself she goes out to the play structure in the kinder yard where she likes the slide best.

12:00-12:20 pm: Silent Reading – Dana is sad when recess is over but she also loves the calming time she is about to spend in the classroom library. She enters the room and selects a book from the blue bin, which she knows is one she can read by herself. Dana’s favorite spot in the room is under the counter near the cubbies and she nestles in there to read. As Dana looks around she sees that everyone is reading quietly even Ms. Diaz who has brought her own book from home.

12:20-12:50 pm: Writer’s Workshop – Ms. Diaz begins writer’s workshop with a mini lesson about capital letters. She reviews the times when a capital is needed and points out the difference between lowercase and capital letters on the various charts around the room. Before she releases the students to begin writing she asks them to be conscious about using capitals and especially when not to use them (middle of a word).

Dana gets her writing folder and decides that today she is going to continue to work on a story she started yesterday about when she went to a Dodgers game with her family last summer. She notices that some kids are conferencing with the teacher or each other and others are publishing. Dana wants to publish this story so she can read it at Author’s night at the end of the year. She remembers seeing her older sister read at Author’s Night and can’t wait for her turn.

12:50-1:40 pm: Art – After Writer’s workshop Mr. Perez, the art teacher arrives. He wheels in a cart full of art supplies, like paper, paint, markers, glue and much more. He asks the students to remind him of the names of the 3 primary colors (blue, red and yellow) as he holds up cards with those colors on them. He then assigns one color to each table group of students. He instructs them to get up and look around the classroom for something that is that color and bring it back to the table. Dana’s table get’s blue so she heads directly for the Unifix cubes she uses during math time. There are many colors there but she chooses a blue one and goes back to her table. Once all the students have returned with their items Mr. Perez tells them to share the items at the their table. The other students at the table have returned with a bead, a marker and a blue homework folder. Almost immediately they notice that they don't all look the same and some kids start to argue about which item is the real blue. Mr. Perez expected and hoped this would happen. He pulls the class back together and they discuss the range of hues that colors represent and he explains that we get different colors by mixing the primary colors. On each table he places a three, sealed jars with water colored with red, blue and yellow food coloring. He tells the students to hold the jars up to the light to see the colors better then suggests they use more than one jar. The room is filled with oohs and aahs as they see green when they hold yellow jar in front of the blue one. After they play for a while Mr. Perez summarizes using a large blank color wheel (six small circles forming a circle on the page). First, using a crayon he colors in the primary colors one in every other circle. Then he asks the class what color was produced when they mixed red and blue – purple. He colors the blank circle in between the red and blue purple and so on until the color wheel shows red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Mr. Perez says that in their next class they will actually get to mix paint and create a drawing my mixing colors. There is some time left in class so he gathers the students on the rug and reads Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. In this story some white mice get into some paint and mix it all up. While he is reading he encourages kids call out the colors that are produced each time the colors mix, they are delighted when they know what will happen when the yellow mouse dances in the blue puddle.

1:40-2:30 pm: Science – Today is a science day! Dana returns to the classroom to find that Ms. Diaz has brought out clear plastic tubs with snails in them. They begin on the carpet talking about science safety and how to treat the animals kindly (something they do every time they have live animals in the class). Ms. Diaz asks a student to get up and walk across the room to get a pencil. When the student returns she asks the class to describe what parts of her body she used to move across the room. Some responses are: legs, feet, knees. Now Ms. Diaz tells them that not all animals move in the same way. Today they will be looking at how the snail moves. She reminds them about the goldfish they had last week and asks a students to remind the class of how they moved (using fins to propel themselves through the water). Dana works in a group of 4, students to look at the snails in the tubs and discuss how they move. Ms. Diaz circulates through the room but allows the students to explore on their own and draw their own conclusions initially. About 10 minutes in she calls the class to attention and asks students to share out any interesting observations or any questions they have? Dana shares that if you look at the snail from below you can see the bottom of it’s body as it is moving through the clear plastic. Others observe that they are able to climb up the side of the container and don’t fall off. One student asks if snails can only move on smooth surfaces like the plastic and the teacher asks if there is a way they can discover the answer to the question. Some students suggest trying to put the snails on the carpet or taking them outside the playground. Ms. Diaz brings out a box of materials with different textures that they can try. Some students place the snail on sandpaper while others use the carpet or a leaf. After discovering that snails can move around on most surfaces one student wonders if the snails move at the same pace on different surfaces so he asks for a stopwatch and the students organize races and record the times for each surface. After more observations the teacher calls for the students to clean up and join her at the carpet. There, they share more observations as she records them on a large chart. The students cannot wait for the next time they get to observe the snails.

2:30-2:40 pm: Closing – Remaining at the carpet, Ms. Diaz reminds the students about the field trip next week to the California Science Center and reiterates that permission slips are due by Friday. She dismisses them one row at a time to gather their backpacks and get in line at the door for dismissal.

2:40 pm: Dismissal – Dana is brimming with excitement about her day and can’t wait to tell her mom about the snail races. Tomorrow she hopes to finish her story about the Dodger game so she can start conferencing.