be_ixf;ym_202402 d_29; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

Paige’s day in the life of virtual service

When I imagined my service year with City Year Milwaukee, I envisioned physically being in the classroom working face-to-face with students. Because my service has looked so different (with service being virtual instead of in-person), I want to share what a day of virtual service looks like.

It is important to note that with learning virtually being so new, it looks different every day. We are constantly adapting to fit the needs of our scholars. What was happening last week looked completely different then, and I am sure next week will look completely different than today.

First Circle

Each morning, I meet virtually with my team. Everyone on my team serves in different grade levels at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Math and Science. During our 15-minute morning meeting, known as “First Circle,” we share joys, appreciations, ripples and windows (JARS). We do a readiness check to make sure each team member is prepared for the day. We do announcements to alert of any changes, tasks that need to be done or events coming up. At the end of our First Circle, we break and go into our different classrooms.

Supporting in our Google Classroom

After First Circle, I go into my Google classroom where my partner teacher and scholars are beginning to meet for the day. I support in a combined third- and fourth-grade classroom. I greet my students during our morning meeting and remind them to have their cameras on, charger nearby and have something to write with and on if possible. Throughout the day, I continue to anchor directions in the chat for my students and encourage them to keep working. I open tabs for them and watch on Go Guardian to make sure they know what tab to be in.

Leading activities in the classroom

Beyond assisting my partner teacher in the larger setting, I have opportunities to lead. I lead my students through independent reading time and “Words Their Way” (a spelling, phonics and vocab program). This has let me get to know my students better. As we work in a smaller group, there are more chances for me and scholars to speak. I can see what areas they exceed or need more help in.

Throughout the day, I lead brain breaks for the whole class. Right now, my students’ favorite brain breaks are doing Just Dance, watching “How to Draw” videos and doing “Around the House” scavenger hunts. This time with scholars allows students to unmute and get to know one another, move around and take a break from their schoolwork.

I stay online in the classroom with students from 9:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. After school, I work on anything I have to get done for my coordinator role for my team. I serve as the communication coordinator for my team. With this responsibility, I write the team newsletter, blogposts and get to lead on any school tours. I also allot time after school for any virtual meetings I might have with my Impact Manager, partner teacher or AmeriCorps members.

At the end of the day, my team meets for a 15-minute meeting called, “Final Circle.” Similar to the First Circle in the morning, we share any JARS, announcements or anything that happened during our school day.

Check out our Instagram page to learn more about our impact in Milwaukee, and see a glimpse into what service looks like for our AmeriCorps members.

About the author: Paige Kelly proudly serves as a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member and is a proud alum of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. When asked why she serves, Paige said, “I serve to improve and change education and to be an advocate for equitable education.”

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