Good Shepherd Montessori School

A Day in the Life of an Upper Elementary Student

It is Thursday morning and John is being dropped of at the front door of Good Shepherd Montessori School by his mom. After a quick but cheerful farewell, he grabs his backpack and his tray of homemade muffins and enters the school. John is greeted by Ms. Woody at the front door. “Good Morning, John.”  “Good morning, Ms. Woody,” John responds. “Would you like to buy a muffin? They’re only one dollar.”  He makes his first sale of the day and continues downstairs to his classroom. After hanging up his backpack and gathering a fellow 6th year student, he heads outs to sell his muffins to the parents dropping off their children in the morning car line.

At 8:15 John returns to the classroom with an empty muffin tray. He reports to his peers and teachers another sold out muffin morning, then proceeds to the office to make a deposit into the 6th year account. He quickly checks the currently-collected funds to see if the fundraising efforts are on target for a successful end-of-year 6th grade trip.

John is a 6th year student who for two years has patiently watched the older students plan, prepare, and journey to their annual 6th grade end-of-year trips. He is finally in his third year of upper elementary and has the opportunity now to experience the thrill of organizing meetings, balancing a budget, fundraising, voting on the destination, and negotiating fair student roles with his fellow 6th year peers.

This morning, sales went according to plan and peers are happy to hear the news about the muffins selling out.  John joins his classmates for a whole class community meeting. It is his turn to run the meeting today, along with one other 6th year partner.

After gaining the attention of the class he begins the meeting with affirmations and compliments. After each student has an opportunity to offer an affirmation to a peer, John looks over the meeting agenda and announces the first community concern…a new class pet. He takes three suggestions from his peers and then proceeds to a community vote. He and his fellow classmate tally the votes and announce the community’s decision for a new class pet. It is a tie between a rabbit and a snake. He suggests that the teachers should have time to consider whether this decision is reasonable and moves on to the next item on the agenda. The meeting is run in this fashion until 9:00 a.m., when the daily schedule is announced. The two meeting leaders dismiss their classmates to their morning work.

John decides to check-in with a friend to see what their first work choice will be. He then sits down with his planner to record his three working goals for the day.

The first work on his plan is daily math. He works with one of his friends. They test each other over their multiplication facts. They time themselves and begin to make it into a friendly competition. After this work they log their progress on their Fast Facts sheet and move to goal number two.

After finding out this same friend was not interested in working on John’s next choice of work, he heads off to find a different partner who would be interested in the culture work.

Two other friends, a 4th year and a 5th year, are planning to create a timeline of early human development.  They begin by calculating how many years per inch will allow them to fit 450 million years accurately onto their long strip of paper.

Next they divide up the task of illustrating each hominid represented, using their knowledge from yesterday’s presentation, as well as research from classroom books and the internet.  This is a work that may take several work sessions over the course of a week, so the group decides after 45 minutes to break up for the day in order to pursue other goals.

John takes a 10 minute break with some friends. They eat some apples while they visit. Together they decide that grammar will be the last goal for their morning work.

After negotiating a place to work and gathering the materials, John and one other friend engage themselves in sentence diagramming. This is their work until morning work time has ended. At 11:15 a student rings the chimes for clean-up.

Being a 6th year, John has the role of inspector this week. As students complete their daily clean-up jobs, they check in with John. When John has everyone checked off  he presents the list to one of his teachers and then heads outside for recess. Some fresh snow has fallen today and John is excited to see how the sledding hill is running!

Next in John’s day will be lunch and then one half hour of silent reading. He normally reads his own novel of interest during this time, but lately, the head of school has been visiting the classroom at this time and reading aloud, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This is how John spends his silent reading time.

During the rest of this afternoon John spends one hour of his time in art where he is designing a prayer/peace banner that will be displayed in a downtown plaza during Montessori Education Week. After art he decides to practice some of his current mathematics work.  He works with the fraction pieces in order to try to determine a pattern and figure out the rule of multiplying fractions. This brings John to the end of his work day. It is John’s turn to help gather the students in his anchor at the end of the day and pass out student home folders.

When his dad pulls up at car line, John shakes the hand of the dismissing teacher. “Have a good day Ms. Mariani.” “See you tomorrow, John,” she replies. He smiles and heads home with his dad.