Student Stories

Student Stories

Stay Curious, Challenge Yourself, Make a Difference
Greenfields Academy is a dynamic and unique educational environment. Here’s what a typical day looks like for a student in our Elementary Program.

Day in the Life, Elementary Program
Will, age 8

Arrival (8:00-8:30AM)
On a chilly November Monday morning, Will gets to school at 8:10AM. He’s greeted at the door by one of his guides, Josh, and signs in to school on the tablet at the door. He hangs his coat on his coat peg, and trades his sneakers for indoor shoes. For this school session, which started after October break, Will and his fellow students have been working on a project-based learning challenge, the Entrepreneurship Challenge, or eShip Challenge. They are all getting ready for the Greenfields Children’s Business Fair at the end of the month, where they’ll sell products they’ve developed to their families and the public in an evening event at the school. Will plans to sell origami boxes, and he’s pulled out his supply of materials so he can make a few before the school day starts. At 8:25 Josh rings the chimes, signaling five minutes until launch, time to wrap up free play and prepare. Will puts away his boxes and materials and goes over to the couch to look at a video about prehistoric sea life that Mason is watching on his Chromebook. When they’re done watching, Mason puts his Chromebook away, and they head to the library.

will 1will 2will final

Morning Launch (8:30-8:45AM)
The kids arrange themselves in a circle as they’ve done every morning since school started in September, and they all have their favorite spots. Josh leads the class in a quick centering activity to get everybody calm and then talks over what happened the day before and preps everybody for the day ahead. They’ll be engaging in core academic work, spending time on the eShip Challenge, and having PE. Today is also a Cosmos Club lunch day. Loretta, their other guide, asks the students to talk about their weekends, and after a bit of sharing, they close launch and start core.

Individualized Core Learning I (8:45-10:30AM)
Will starts core time by meeting with Josh and the other students in his daily goals group. Will listens to Mason, Amelia, and CJ’s goals for the day, then shares his daily goals. He plans to complete 3 math lessons on fractions on the Khan Academy website, read 20 pages of Holes for his Book Club tomorrow, and work on some of his words for Spanish Club. For the first part of core time, Will reads his book on his favorite beanbag chair in the quiet room. When he’s done he gets his Chromebook from the charging station and settles in at a study table where he spends 45 minutes learning about decimals and fractions through Khan Academy.

Mid-Morning Break (10:30-10:45AM)
Recess20140902_103052At 10:30 there’s morning break, and Will joins the group of students who take off with Loretta to Brands Park to clear his mind. He and James organize a quick game of tag with the other kids who are outside.

 

Individualized Core Learning II (10:45-11:30AM)
When Will gets back for the second half of core time he works on memorizing his Spanish vocabulary words. When he finishes, he makes a last-minute decision to work on some English spelling words on the Spelling City website before lunch. As core wraps up, Will fills out his daily goals results in his learning binder. He exceeded his goal in math, completing 3 lessons on fractions and 1 on decimals. He read 25 pages of his novel for Book Club, he worked on his Spanish and some extra spelling. In the reflection space in his binder he writes down his plans to work on his short story before Writer’s Workshop and learn more spelling words tomorrow so that he can meet his weekly goals for English. He puts away his Chromebook and his binder and gets ready for lunch.

Lunch and Free Time (11:30AM-12:30PM)
group watching videoEvery day there is a different theme for lunch, including Socratic discussion, Town Hall, and Civilizations, where the kids talk about world history. Today’s is Town Hall, and while they enjoy their lunch, the students are voting on what class pets to consider and when to have a school spirit week. After lunch, the class scatters to read or play games together, or relax with a book in a quiet place. Some of the class goes out with Loretta to the park for a quick football game after their meals.

Projects, Discussions, & Enrichment I (12:30-1:45PM)

When 12:25 rolls around, everybody cleans up from lunch, finishes up their games and projects, and gets ready for project time. The current challenge, eShip, is broken into islands (units) that focus on the steps and skills needed to start a business. Will has reached the island where he will estimate his budget for materials, labor, and sunk costs. He’s been struggling a little with the concept of fixed costs versus variable costs, and he asks Maxwell for help. Maxwell has finished his work and helps Will determine which of his costs are fixed. Will computes the numbers and it looks like his origami box business can be profitable! Now he just needs to sell his budgeted amount at the Children’s Business Fair! He finishes up his eShip island page and files it away in his project binder.

Mid-Afternoon Break (1:45-2:00PM)
girl explaining workFor mid-afternoon break Will chooses to stay in, the morning was chilly and he finds his favorite bean bag in the library to curl up with his book while a small group of students heads back to the park.

 

Projects, Discussions, & Enrichment II (2:00-2:45PM)
Every afternoon period is dedicated to a different topic: music, art, PE, or project time. Today, Will has PE. Will and his group walk across the street to Brands Park with the teachers from We Got Game for PE class, where they complete a fitness challenge to see how close they are getting to their personal fitness goals.

Clean Up & Close the Day (2:45-3:15PM)
Back from PE, it’s time to wrap up the day. Will goes to the classroom sink, grabs a paper towel and a spray bottle and begins spraying and wiping tables. Every student has chosen a clean up job, and wiping the tables is his for this week. CJ has the same job and they work together while the rest of the students pick up materials, sweep up, and put away books in the library. The students finish clean up at 3:00 and sit down with the guides in the library to wrap up the day. Socraticphoto 6Kids discuss their eShip progress. Anna wants everybody to know she’s decided to sell homemade candles at the Business Fair, M.J. is excited to remind everyone about the Book Club meeting she’s leading tomorrow morning, Josh mentions that Socratic Lunch, where the kids will discuss the role of robotics in society, will be tomorrow, too, and Loretta reminds everyone that Maria is going to be at school for art class. Josh wraps up the meeting and students get up to pack backpacks, switch to outdoor shoes, check for parents gathering outside the front door, and get their coats. As parents arrive Loretta sends each kid out the door, Will says goodbye to the guides and his friends, and heads out to meet his mom, eager to tell her about what’s ahead for tomorrow.