Nuts and Bolts: Our Schedule and Curriculum
Our students attend our program twice a week for two hours, either on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. The majority of our sixth grade students are in a separate class, and our seventh and eighth grade students meet together. The first day they attend (Monday or Tuesday), is called “Enrichment Day”. The students have an activity for 30 minutes followed by two homework sessions that are broken up by a snack break. Our enrichment activities consist of hands-on activities such as building rockets, learning how to code Dash robots, taking a cooking class, and reading and discussing short stories or articles. We also have representatives from student clubs like the Paly Robotics Team (palyrobotics.com) and the MakeX Studio (makexpaloalto.org) come and do activities with our students.
The second day our students come (Wednesday or Thursday) is “Tutor Day”, when our volunteer tutors from Stanford University or a local high school (Paly, Gunn, or Castilleja) are paired one-on-one with our students. The tutor-student pairs often complete an activity together during the first half hour before working on homework. These activities consist of things like “literacy circles”, math games, study skills practice, goal-setting sessions, etc.
Typical Program Schedule
Class 1: Monday/Wednesday 4:00 to 6:00 pm (sixth grade only)
Class 2: Monday/Wednesday 4:00 to 6:00 pm (mostly seventh/eighth grade)
Class 3: Monday/Wednesday 6:00 to 8:00 pm (mostly seventh/eighth grade)
Class 4: Tuesday/Thursday 6:00 to 8:00 pm (mostly seventh/eighth grade)
(Sample times based on earlier class)
4:00 - 4:35: Check in; Binder Check; Class Activity: Students open to their Binder Reminders (class planners) and show their tutor or the Classroom Director that they have written down all their assignments. Then we have a class activity around math, literacy, study skills, or a hands-on STEAM activity.
4:35 - 5:00: Homework Session I: HARDEST TOPIC FIRST! Tutors help their student choose the hardest subject or assignment and tackle that FIRST. If students claim they have no HW or are finished, have them log into Schoology to check all assignments for the week. Then refer to the back of this sheet for next steps.
5:00 - 5:10: SNACK break: Kids who need to fill in planner or organize their binder from the Binder Check need to do this then.
5:10 - 5:50: Homework Session II: If students finish their homework, they are encouraged to study for upcoming tests, complete math activities on topics for which they need extra practice, or check a book out from our library and read silently.
5:50 - 6:00: Exit Ticket and Clean up: Tutors log in online and complete a four-question “Exit Ticket” survey about their student’s productivity, organization, and behavior. Students clean up their work areas and return all materials to their proper place.
6:00 - 6:15: Tutor Debrief: (After students are dismissed.) Tutors log on to Slack at the end of each session to give a brief overview of how the session went and note any areas of progress and/or concern. DreamCatchers staff lead lessons and discussions about how the day went, answering any questions or issues that may have come up. Twice a month there is a lesson on a particular curricular topic, such as math or writing strategies, socio-emotional learning, or study skills.