The class schedule is posted each day in each classroom. Children become adept at reading the schedule and knowing what is planned next. Teachers carefully construct the daily schedule to provide a balance of work and play, group work and individual work, structured activities and unstructured time.
Sample Class Schedule for a 2/3 Classroom:
8:45 Morning Math
9:15 Group Gathering
10:15 Independent Reading
12:30 Quiet Reading/Read-Aloud
1:00 Project Work—research, writing, planning, building, discussion
3:00 Clean-up & Suitcase
Each school day includes Group Gathering. The entire school community sits together to hear announcements, welcome back children who have been absent, and introduce visitors. This meeting is led each morning by a student and every student in the school is given an opportunity to lead Group Gathering at some point during the school year.
Lunch is a time for the entire class (including the teacher) to sit down for a full half-hour to eat and converse together. Immediately following lunch is all-school Recess. This is an important opportunity for free play and for multi-age play for all the children in the school.
After Recess, many classes have a Quiet Reading time when children can enjoy books together, or listen to the teacher read aloud.
At least once during the day, often in the afternoon, teachers plan Choice time during which students can choose from a variety of play activities. This is a time when children can socialize with peers and explore blocks, games, art materials, or other activities they select themselves.
At the end of the day, most classes do some version of Suitcase by writing down, collectively or individually, some of events of the day (packing their “suitcase”). This provides children a way of reflecting on what has happened in the classroom on a daily basis, as well as creating a document for reflecting over weeks or months.
On some days, students attend special classes such a P.E. and Music. In designing our school schedule, we strive to keep specials limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays so that teachers can count on having uninterrupted blocks of time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for academic and project work.