A Day in the Life of a Marram School Student
What would a typical day look like at the Marram School? Well, each day is different for each student, depending on what classes, studies, projects and jobs they have. Often, the day one plans is not the day one has due to the stimulating and vibrant environment. However, here is what a typical day might look like for a 6th grade student we’ll call Jake.
Jake arrives to school at 8:30 and puts away his coat and belongings in the cubby room at the front door. He signs in at the attendance desk, all the while chatting with two friends about a Nova special he saw last night about the future of robotics. After a few more minutes of chatting and setting up a work space, he makes a list of what he would like to accomplish for the day.
He then takes out his algebra book and begins working. Another friend joins him at the table to work on his research project about Mexico and they chat a bit from time to time about interesting facts his friend is reading. Jake gets confused about one of his algebra problems and seeks out the help of another friend. The friend helps him through the problem and they both return to work.
Jake finishes up his algebra work and hands it to a staff member to be checked just in time for his 9:30 book and creative writing group. There are four other students in his group, or class. They range from 4th to 6th grade. They meet with a staff member on a cluster of couches and chairs in the main room. His book group is in the middle of reading Holes and in addition to recapping the plot so far, the staff member is leading a discussion about fate and if you are in control of your destiny. She also discusses the literary technique of flashbacks and the group cites several examples from the book. The group is encouraged to incorporate a flashback in their creative writing today. Then, the students start working on their stories. Most students have been writing one continuous story since the beginning of the year, each week adding more to it. Jake has been bouncing back and forth between three stories, and today, inspired by the discussion about robots from this morning, decided to work on his futuristic adventure story. After writing for about 25 minutes, the students take turns sharing all or part of their writing from the day. They all keep track of each other’s plots and give suggestions and new ideas. A few of the other students who are not in this book group start to gather around and listen to the stories of the others. Sometimes they even chime in with what they liked best about what they heard or a new idea.
After book group, a few of Jake’s friends invite him to have snack with them. They eat and discuss the possibility of teleportation based on one of the ideas that Jake wrote in his story.
After about 15 minutes, Jake returns to work. He takes a minute to look around the room before sitting down. He sees activity everywhere – a small group of students are in the kitchen with a staff member doing a science experiment, the Etsy subcommittee is meeting at a table balancing budget sheets and deciding on the next project to make, a small group of girls is coloring maps about the world’s fresh water supply and chatting about the content as they color, a few students are working independently and two younger students are working on a math problem together with a base ten set. There is a productive hum as everyone is content to be working on a project of their choosing.
Jake’s project for the semester is about electric cars. He goes to a computer and begins researching the batteries of electric cars. He wants to know how they are made, how long it takes them to charge and how long they last. He also wants to know if there are some things in the batteries that are bad for the environment. Luckily, he found a few good websites the other day, so now he is digging in to taking notes on his outline. He works on this until it is time for recess.
Outside, he plays a game of tag that the students organized. After a while, he takes a break from the running to see if the kids who are making a fort need any help. One of the students who is organizing the redesign of the fort asked him to brace one of the three larger sticks while they try to lace them together with a vine. After working on the fort for a while, it is time for lunch.
After lunch, he plays a game of chess with a friend, as others play a game, draw or read quietly for a few minutes before returning to work. Then, he heads back to work on his research. One of the staff members sits down to go over his algebra work from this morning with him and they work on a few corrections together.
At 1:30, he moves his work to where the history group is about to meet. Even though he is not in that class, he enjoys the discussion. He works on his rough draft for his paper, while listening to the discussion in the background. Today they are talking about the women’s suffrage movement and how women were arrested for trying to vote. Jake was shocked to hear some of those things and to realize that happened only about 100 years ago.
At 2:00, the discussion is over and Jake begins to put away his work. He makes a few notes in his notebook about what he accomplished today and what chapters he has to read for book group next week. Jake has two jobs at The Marram School. His maintenance job is to vacuum the main room. His Work Crew job is to update the computers. He always does that on Thursdays after everyone is finished with the computers for the week. The school is bustling with cleaning and organizing. After he is done with his job, he checks the main calendar. There is a volunteer opportunity at the Dunes that he is interested in helping with next week. He adds his name to the sign-up sheet and then signs out for the day. He changes back to outside shoes and gathers his belongings. A few minutes later, a staff member calls his name when his Mom arrives to pick him up.