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Friday, May 7, 2010

Life at Hillwood

Hillwood Academic is a non-religious, Kindergarten through 8th grade school located in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco, California. Because school hours are held in a Victorian house, there aren't too many students enrolled with a maximum number of about forty students. (Currently, there are thirty-seven students) Also, because there are so less students, there are only three classes: Kindergarten to 1st, 2nd to 4th, and 5th to 8th. Here are the class schedules.

For the Kindergarten to 1st grades:
It starts off with the attendance of the students along with the flag salute and the date. Afterwards, it continues with math and language arts followed by recess. Then, the students move on to the reading and learning centers where they read a book in class. For lunch, it is always something homemade by our cook, Ms. Martha. After lunch, it is either science or social studies with phonics or the learning centers. Followed by that, the students get a half hour recess where they play games in the school's play yard. The teachers also pass out snacks and the students practice writing in their journals. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, their daily schedule is accompanied by music, Spanish, and art.

For the 2nd to 4th grades:
The first subject they study during the day is math and spelling. Next, the first reading group gathers together and after, it is time for a half hour recess. When the students get back in, it is time for the second reading group to get together. When they are done, it's time for lunch which is followed by recess and read aloud with free time. Then, it s time for phonics and/or science and with snacks. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, there is music, Spanish, and art classes.
For the 5th to 8th grades:
First thing in the morning is to turn in all of the previous day's homework. Then, the students work on math. Currently, the 7th and 8th graders are learning algebra while the 5th and 6th graders are working on decimals. The math lasts all morning until 10:30 with a ten-minute break in between. Following math, it is time for literature! Right now, the whole class is reading excerpts from The Odyssey. Starting next week, the 5th to 6th grades will start reading Holes by Louis Sacher and the 7th to 8th grades will start on To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Again, it is a long period, ending until time for lunch. Every month, we have two students assigned to be our lunch monitors. They are in charge of bringing up the lunch pots and getting all the utensils ready for all the students. Part of the lunch break, our teacher brings us to the park each day for an hour, weather permitting. After we get back, we have a study hall where students are to work on assignments that are due or get a head start on early assignments. After study hall, our teacher comes back for either history or science depending on the weekday. And then last but not least, we end the day with grammar, writing down homework, and packing up.
Being in a small school is really helpful everyone knows everyone. For example, I know all the little kids downstairs while they know me and all the 2nd to 4th grade boys look up to the 7th to 8th grade boys. Also, people don't make fun of you. Sure, there's the usual joking kind of teasing when someone hits themselves by accident or otherwise. But, it isn't serious where people form groups against each other or physically hurt each other.

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