A day in the life of ... Palma Lindsay

15th November 2013 at 00:00
The classroom is a very different place from when this California kindergarten teacher started out, 35 years ago. But despite the digital revolution, she finds that some things never change

It's 6am and I can hear the alarm on my iPhone announcing the beginning of a new day. I hit the snooze button. After stealing a few more minutes, I check my email and iCalendar to see what the day has in store for me. In my 35 years of teaching, I have found that each day brings a new adventure.

I dress, then quickly whip up a protein shake and a latte to drink in the car. The eight-mile drive to Peachland Elementary School takes about 30 minutes in the morning traffic. I drink my shake and drive through the Santa Clarita Valley, a suburb 30 miles north of Los Angeles, with the car top down and the heater on.

As I pull into the parking lot, I can see the children arriving at school - walking, riding in cars or travelling on school buses. About 60 per cent of our students are English language learners who speak mostly Spanish at home. For many, this is their first school experience.

I walk on to our 53-year-old campus at 7.30am. Upon entering my classroom, I turn on the four computers, the smartboard and the document camera. I set out iPads and iPods loaded with educational apps, check my school email, switch on my microphone and get ready for my first group of students - 14 kindergarten children aged 4 and 5.

At 8am, we begin a literature lesson using the 84-inch smartboard. We are learning to recognise letters and the sounds they make, sight words and numbers up to 20. We are also learning about our five senses, magnets and landforms.

I send my students off to their tables and start meeting small groups of four or five children, working on specific skills to meet the needs of their group. We use iPods, counting cubes, small whiteboards - anything to make learning fun. I test individual students with an iPad - the data helps me to target specific skills and regroup children for future lessons. Students also use the computers, iPads and iPods to consolidate skills.

In addition to all this technology, our classroom is filled with hands-on activity centres to enhance academic and social development. We have a play centre, painting easel, puppet stage and classroom library, all purchased through grants I have applied for over the years.

At 10am, we head to our outdoor playground for break time. When we return to class, an additional 14 children join us. I teach whole-group lessons using the smartboard and each day students attend a different class: music, science lab, computer lab, library or physical education.

After lunch, the first group of children go home and I repeat the morning lessons with the second group. They go home at 2pm. That's when I check my email, plan lessons on my computer and attend meetings, usually until 5pm.

My evening work includes creating new digital activities on my computer. Thirty-five years ago I taught with a chalkboard, chalk, paper and pencils. Although the tools have changed, my goals remain the same: to create projects and encourage teachers to "keep the fun in the fundamentals".

Your day

Do you want to tell the world's teachers about your working day, the unique circumstances in which you teach or the brilliance of your class? If so, email ed.dorrell@tes.co.uk

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