Written by Nolan Benson, City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member serving at Dr. George Washington Carver Academy of Mathematics and Science.
Photo credit: Daniel Kleiman, City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps Member

50 Acts of Leadership group (a group where we talk about what it means to be a leader and we set goals to monitor our progress towards being school leaders), 12:50pm: Walk with class downstairs to the gym and wait for my four scholars that I work with on social and emotional learning to get their lunch. Take them up to the City Year room. “Anybody have any acts of leadership to share?”

Lunch, 1:30pm: Relax. Eat. Relax. Write out objectives for sessions on white boards.

Math group, 2:15pm: Return to class, and have the three Monday math group scholars line up. Walk up to the City Year room. “Good afternoon scholars.” “Good afternoon Mr. Nolan!” “Today we are going to work on ordering fractions. Now we could just do this worksheet, or we could play a game at the end. It’s up to you. Show me you can stay on task during my time, then we can have some fun with fractions! Could someone read the objective?” All three hands go up, I pick one. “Scholars will be able to…” Ten minutes pass, they are getting a little off task. Raise your hand. The scholars raise their hands and return to a level zero. “Thank you scholars for returning to that zero. Twenty more minutes pass. “Okay scholars, I think it’s time for a game! All three of you need to stand on one side of the room. I’ll be at the other. I’m going to give you three fractions. You must work together to order them from least to greatest. If you get it right, I will say green light. You may walk towards me until I say red light. If you get it wrong, I will say red light. That means you cannot move. Once you reach me, you win!” Scholars are really into this game, I should use it more often!”

English Language Arts (ELA) group, 3:00pm: Return math scholars to class and pick up my ELA scholars. “Good afternoon scholars.” “Good afternoon Mr. Nolan!” “Today we are going to learn about Get the Gist while reading our book, “Number the Stars.” Could someone read the objective?” Both of them raise their hands. I pick one. “Students will be able to…” Scholars remain on task as we read together. “How would you react to Annemarie’s current living situation? She is your age.” “I would be scared!” One answers. “Why?!” I ask. “Because there are soldiers on the street and I wouldn’t go outside. “Good! What else?” These two seem a little bored with reading. Good thing I planned something new for next week. But at least they are staying on task.

End of School Day, 3:45pm: Return ELA group to class around 3:40pm. Say bye to my partner teacher. Check out with the scholars in the other 5th grade classroom. Go up to City Year room. Sit down and process the day. Teammates come back from outside. I talk to a few about their day.

CLC, 4:30pm: Go down to small cafeteria. Help 3rd and 4th grade scholars with their homework in CLC until 5:30pm.

Final Circle, 5:45pm: “Good evening everybody.” “Good evening Nolan.” Let’s start this circle off with some joys, ripples, and appreciations.

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