be_ixf;ym_202407 d_16; ct_50 YES! I want to make a difference TODAY!

A day as an AmeriCorps member 

As you can probably imagine, serving at City Year Milwaukee turned out to be quite distinct compared to prior years as innumerable amounts of modifications and challenges arose due to the coronavirus pandemic. Granting all this, there were many highlights throughout the year, thus far, not only with my teammates, but with everyone at City Year Milwaukee!

A day in the life of virtual service

Starting off each morning, the Julia A. Uihlein team serving at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School logs into our morning meeting to share joys, appreciations, ripples and/or windows with each other before moving on to important announcements for the day. As the time quickly passes, we end the call by bringing it on a break before everyone goes their separate ways, serving our students and supporting our partner teachers, until the end of the day when we join our final circle!

Up until recently, I would go straight into prep time where I would formulate session plans for the upcoming week, review the current lesson and activity for intervention time and work on anything else that needed to be done that would best support my partner teacher and/or students. Once prep time was over, I greeted the eighth-grade students before going into a breakout room with my group of five students.

Small tutoring groups

I start my small tutoring groups, or interventions, with a warm-up activity and review expectations before moving onto the different sections of my lesson plan. Following the warm-up, we proceed to the “I Do” part, which is where I introduce a new strategy or topic to my students.

When interventions first started, we focused on learning prefixes and suffixes to support learning new vocabulary words. During this time, I would teach the students four prefixes and four suffixes and follow up with my group to see if they were okay to move forward.

Then we would move on to the “We Do” section. The “We Do” section is where my students and I work together, and I guide the students on an activity based on the new strategy or topic we learned. Our activity would be to highlight prefixes and/or suffixes in a list of words and learn the definition using what we learned.

Next comes the “You Do” section where students would work on an assignment, which would allow me to see the progress of my students and whether or not we needed to go back and review.

Lastly, we closed our intervention group off with an exit ticket and/or goal setting for the next session. This coming week, my group is looking forward to reading Restart by Gordon Korman and completing activities that go along with the novel!

Time was a huge challenge in virtual classes as we were only able to work with one group of students for 30 minutes before the next group came in. Building relationships with each student seemed to be condensed as time was very limited, but as time went on, Milwaukee Public Schools allowed students to return to the classroom where schedules were completely changed, allowing for an extended time with the students! As of now, the Julia A. Uihlein team continues serving and supporting our students and partner teacher virtually!

Learning and development days

In the middle of the week, all staff and corps of City Year Milwaukee join together for a site-wide meeting where we have a briefing for the upcoming week. During this time, we hear joys, appreciations, ripples and/or windows from others that we do not get to see on a daily basis. In addition, we go over important announcements and share beneficial tips for working virtually while supporting our partner teacher and students. Choice sessions are organized on multiple occasions where the corps members are able to choose what they would like to do during this time. Some are team builder activities; some are to provide resources and/or tips for a variety of topics and there are other opportunities to independently work on post-service plans.

Even though we are virtual, there have been many highlights throughout the year thus far, ranging from team builder activities, socially distant meet ups and conversations! All in all, as an AmeriCorps member, I show up and put my all into supporting my students and partner teacher through concurrent learning.
About the author
Brittany Miller proudly serves as a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member on the Julia A. Uihlein team at Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School and supports middle school students.

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