A Visit to William Cullen Bryant Elementary School
an Academics Plus School in Philadelphia, PA

Photographs taken by Suzanne Alejandre

William Cullen Bryant Elementary School is located at the intersection of 60th Street and Cedar Avenue in Philadelphia.

There are 30 students in Ms. Moore's kindergarten class.

Because I had the opportunity to spend the morning with her class, Ms. Moore taught part of the Symmetry Unit that she and I have been working on. She started by reading, Grandfather Tang's Story. She held up the cover of the book inviting the children to predict what the story would be about. There were various observations about the sky, grass, and people on the cover of the book but then Ms. Moore pointed to the picture of the tangram puzzle and asked, "Does anyone know what a tangram puzzle is?" One little girl raised her hand and responded, "It's a graham cracker!" I realized that she had heard "gram" and associated it with "graham."

After reading the story Ms. Moore led the students in a literacy activity. Everyday from 8:30 to 11:00 she use the components of balanced literacy which include, independent reading and writing, read alouds, shared reading, guided reading, and modeled writing. When possible, Ms. Moore incorporates math and science during that block of time as well.

Literature - Grandfather Tang's Story

As Ms. Moore read the story to the children she encouraged them to anticipate what would happen before she turned the page.

The literacy activity involved writing a "story" for the day on the whiteboard. After reading it to the children, Ms. Moore called on different children to come up to the board and point to a full word, part of a word, or a letter and read it aloud. As they did this she marked around the part that the child read. After several children did this, Ms. Moore led them in reading the entire "story" several times.

Manipulative - Tangrams

Time was given to get acquainted with the tangrams.

The students tried to make the same
animal shapes as were described in the story.

The children had practiced the names of the seven piece tangram set, including large triangle, medium triangle, small triangle, square, and their new favorite, the parallelogram. Ms. Moore told them that they would play a game. All the children put their hands in their laps to signify that they were ready. She called out a shape, using the vocabulary that she had introduced, and the children held up the corresponding tangram piece. Excitement was in the air as Ms Moore called out "circle." No children held a tangram up in response but instead there were giggles and then a resounding response that "there are no circle tangrams."

Technology - Tangram Java applet

In the lab students practiced sliding (translating) their tangrams using the Java applet.

Paper/Pencil Activities

Students were given a sheet of paper to trace their tangram designs.

Briana proudly displayed her "house" design for me to photograph.

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