There are defininately differences between 6th grade here in Panama and 6th grade in Oregon for my son. For the most part, the students stay in the same classroom and the teachers rotate in for each subject, instead of students rushing to different classrooms for different subjects. Each student in my son's class has the same schedule and they all stay together. They only go to different areas of the school for subjects like technology, P.E and maybe art, I will hear about that one today.
All of their personal school books are kept on a bookcase in the classroom and doled out as needed, so they are not carrying them around all the time or forgetting them at home.
Another difference would be that they actually have a class on values. All of the grades have this course and it is called "The Leader in Me." I like the idea of having a positive class like this all year for kids.
Here in Panama, there are many parades and holidays. So, students are encouraged to join the parades and the bands. Music and art classes are still important here.
There are uniforms in all of the schools here, or at least all of the ones that I know about. The school my son attends is pretty relaxed and he wears jeans, black tennis shoes and a green polo shirt with the school emblem. It makes getting dressed in the morning really easy, no decisions to make. They even have uniforms for gym class.
Some things are the same. There is an electronic communication system that shows grades, calendars and important messages just like we had in Oregon. However, I think they use this system a little more faithfully than in they did in Oregon. That might be because this is a smaller school and the entire 6th grade has 30 children instead of 100+ and it is easier to keep track of the small numbers.
I went through his school books as we were laminating them to see what he would be learning this year and was quite surprised. In history it was not on just Panama, it is on the Americas....South, Central and North. He will be learning about envirnomental stuff like recycling, wind-water-solar energy, agricultural practices....ummm...the math, I did not look too closely at that one, since it was all in Spanish, but it looked like mainly algebra. I think it will be a good year for him.
Looking at the schedule, I was surprised that some classes were 1.5 hours some days and less on other days. My son said that on the 15 minute recess, the kids leave the classroom and all walk around outside for 15 minutes in a pattern. Not because someone told them they had to, but it just works out that way. :)