"Patricia's" Day at Lakes and Bridges

A Typical School Day at Lakes and Bridges

It’s Tuesday at 8 a.m., and Patricia, a fourth grader, has just arrived at school. She finds space for her book bag and runs over to join a jump-roping group of friends. As she jumps, she looks around and sees kids building with Legos, playing board games and reading books. That’s what she loves about getting to school early: she has so many choices of fun things to do.

At 8:15, teachers gather students in homeroom groups for Bridge Rally. Today the fifth graders are leading a chant/stomp routine of U.S. States and Capitals. Its part of the school’s “Where Do We Live” theme, and she’s surprised to find that she’s memorized almost all of the words to the chant.

Patricia’s homeroom class meets together at 8:30 to spend some time getting ready for the day. All of the students will be busy in multi-age classes all morning and will meet together as a fourth-grade group in Science or Social Studies class this afternoon. Patricia likes the way her groups for ELA, Personalized Instruction and Enrichment (PIE) and Math are all working on the same skills. She doesn’t worry about taking too long to finish or asking lots of questions because everyone in her groups is working hard too. At Lakes and Bridges, she doesn’t feel pressured, she feels smart.

Because she is learning how language is structured and why letters make different sounds when they are in different positions in words, reading is finally making sense. In fact, she likes to read now and looks forward to her weekly trips to the library. She has discovered that she likes writing stories and drawing pictures to illustrate them. This quarter, she has chosen the LEAP Authors’ Group, which meets every Wednesday. Tomorrow she will read one of her stories and the other authors will critique her work. Wednesdays are her favorite days because of LEAP. There are so many choices of interesting things to do. She’s thinking of taking Computer Graphics next quarter.

Math has always been hard for her, and she used to dread math class. At Lake and Bridges, math isn’t so bad. The teachers are always showing how to use manipulatives and cool strategies to solve problems. The Math U See curriculum is different from her old school too. This year the teachers help students focus more on really understanding the process of solving and explaining math problems.

Patricia feels energized during the day, thanks to chances to “get the wiggles out” and avoid long stretches at a desk. She really enjoys the three physical activity breaks every day, including two scheduled movement classes and a recess after lunch. She likes the chance to move her body and rest from mental work.

Science and social studies classes are also interesting at Lakes and Bridges. Patricia’s homeroom class has four weeks of social studies class following the S.C. Standards for fourth grade. The next four week block will be spent in science class, also following S.C. fourth grade standards. Reading and understanding how to comprehend what you read are worked on in every class.

The last hour of the day is divided into 30-minute blocks of either Social Skills or Technology for one block, and concept review and homework completion in the other block. Patricia’s parents love that she has little school work to complete at home. Now they can spend time together playing games, watching TV and attending her soccer games. They often join her for reading during her 30- minute home reading time.

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