A Day in the Life: Lower Elementary

Hi, my name is Dax and I am seven years old. I’m in my second year of Lower Elementary with Mrs. Bouterse and her assistant, Mrs. Myrick. I came to FCM as a toddler and have been here ever since. My parents are active in the school and FCM just feels like an extension of my family.

In the morning, I arrive with my younger brother, Amos, who is in Children’s House  Extended Day. I head straight to my classroom to get settled. First I put away my things in my cubby, then I see what needs to be done in the classroom – things like clean dishes that need to be put away. After that, I focus on my work plan. I meet with Mrs. Bouterse once a week to discuss my plan and make sure I am doing the types of work in each area that are appropriate to where I am in the curriculum.

We begin the day with group, where we first have a few minutes of mindfulness. The world is sometimes pretty busy and loud, and one thing I like about my school is that our classrooms are usually calm and serene. They are even more serene during mindfulness time. Then we take a look at the day’s schedule together.

 After group, I head over to my work plan to see what I might like to work on. Mrs. Bouterse meets with me once a week and we create a work plan together based on the work I’m currently doing and other new lessons if I am ready for any.

I’m working on abstract division now and it’s actually pretty fun! I originally learned about division with the golden beads back in Children’s House, and now I really understand what each number I’m working with represents.

One of my favorite parts of LE is all of the science experiments we get to do. Right now, we are exploring dripstone formations.  With some special directions, we use water and Epsom salts to make a solution, then put it into two glasses with a string going across them. My hypothesis is that it will make a candle shape, and that another candle will make a circle. I check my formations every day to see how they grow. I noticed that if the temperature of the water was hotter, the salt would dissolve faster; also, if we used less salt, it would take longer to make a dripstone than if we added more. It was pretty cool watching it all unfold!

Right now, I’m also doing some research on interesting facts about the moon that later connected to early timekeeping, such as how the moon has regular patterns of appearance and disappearance.

I like how we learn our grammar – we have shapes to represent each part of speech, and seeing the colors and shapes above the nouns, verbs, and all of the other parts helps me to understand the construction of the sentence.

Part of what we learn at school is how to be a good member of the community – not just ours, but the whole world! One of the projects we did recently was choosing where to donate the money we raise through upcycling items such as empty toothpaste tubes and glue sticks. We held a vote for Children’s House Extended Day, Lower Elementary, and Upper Elementary. The Red Wolf Coalition was the winner!

We all need to let out our energy, so we have recess every day after lunch. I like to play soccer or football with my friends most days. Before we go outside, though, we have to finish our jobs. This week, mine is sweeping the back porch. It has been raining, though, so it was more like wiping down the porch!

 Two days a week, I have Art class with Ms. Grace in the afternoon. She asked us, “What is the word that means only one color?” and I raised my hand because I know the answer – “monochromatic”. We have been working on 3-D meandering in our drawings, which is about letting lines wander around the page so the drawing or painting looks as though there is a lot of movement…mine kind of looks like it has ocean waves on it.

We have Spanish two days a week also, and P.E. and Music are on Fridays. In Spanish class with Doña Hilda, we learn vocabulary words and expressions related to a theme, such as the weather or parts of the body. We also learn songs and plays in Spanish that we sometimes get to perform for school events. This gives us a great opportunity to work on our pronunciation. Sometimes we get to do fun activities using our new words, such as word search games.

 School is over at 3:30 p.m. each day and Amos and I head home. We’re pretty tired after all of our work, but we still can’t wait to come back to school tomorrow!