By Kevin Bruin, first year AmeriCorps member on the Bakersville Elementary School Team (pictured above, second from left, from Opening Day with his team)
The life of a City Year AmeriCorps member in New Hampshire is an incredibly interesting one. Follow me as I take you through a day in my life at Bakersville Elementary!
5:45 AM – It’s time to wake up! My alarm goes off each morning at 5:45 and I try (emphasis on try) to get up as soon as possible and out of bed.
6:00 AM - Sharing an apartment with three other corps members means it’s a daily race to the shower so once I am up, it’s time to (groggily) head to the shower and the get dressed.
6:30 AM – Breakfast time! I always eat breakfast in the morning because it’s the most important meal of the day. This morning I had a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and a banana with a cup of tea to wash it all down.
7:15 AM – Time to leave for the lot to meet my team! It’s about a 5 minute drive from my apartment and once there, I break off with my team and get ready to start our service!
7:45 AM – I’ve now made it to school and checked in with my partner-teacher. Mrs. Harris and I begin talking about LEGO League this afternoon and planning out our next steps! This morning time is a great time to get centered with my teacher for the day and do any planning we need to do together.
8:05 AM – Time for car patrol! Every morning I go out with my teammate Blair and we open car doors for the students so they can be enthused and ready to go in the morning! With a big smile, an energetic mood, and my high-five hand raised, I help get these students to enter the school ready to learn and have fun while doing it! The parents all seem to love the energy and so do the students!
8:45 AM – Time for school and time to learn! Now the day has started and I have returned to my classroom. I walk around the class a bit to check on their morning work. This morning we are working on array’s so I am sitting at my desk with a few students talking them through it. They aren’t pros just yet but I know they will get it pretty soon!
9:00 AM – Morning meeting time! Each morning we have a different student read the message from Mrs. Harris to the class while everyone sits and listens. Once read, we break off for our math hour!
9:15 AM – Time for math groups! Today we are doing multiplication zap-it and it is so much fun! For those who don’t know, zap-it is a game where you answer a multiplication problem that is shown to you and if you get it right, you hold onto the stick it was on. If you get it wrong, it moves onto the next person and if you get a stick with the word “zap-it” you lose all of your sticks. It’s a ton of fun and a bit of a nice competition for these kids to encourage them to practice their math facts.
10:00 AM – Snack time! Every day at snack I get a group of kids over at my table and we tell each other riddles. Today I asked them, “I have two coins that equal 30 cents and one of them isn’t a quarter. What are they?” Only one kid got the correct answer but it took them a while!
10:15 AM – Reading group time! Today we are reading “Kid Power” by Susan Beth Pfeffer for the first time! It’s a cute story about a girl who needs to raise money for a bike and decides to start a business to and realizes her passion! It’s worth the read.
11:15 AM – Time for Library. While the students are in library, I have time to prepare for my upcoming lessons with students. Today I am prepping for my 50 Acts of Kindness group where we will be talking about leadership outside of the classroom.
12:15 PM – Lunch time. During lunch I take my 50 Acts of Kindness group with me in my classroom. During our lunch, we dive into the topic of leadership outside of the classroom and discussed ways to show leadership to other students. My group came up with the idea today to pick up trash in the hallway and show appropriate behavior while walking in the hallway.
12:45 PM – Recess! Every day we are in school we have recess and, if we are outside, I am almost always at the basketball hoop shooting around with the kids. Today I spent recess teaching a few students how to dribble a basketball under their legs. It was a little cold but the students and I kept moving and learning new tricks on the court.
1:15 PM – It’s time for LEGO League! Every Thursday after recess we get visited by LEGO Dan and work on our LEGO robotics program. This week we started building our first machine and the students really took off with it. The excitement in their eyes was very visible and I am very confident that they will strive with their robotics engineering program!
2:40 PM – It’s the end of the school day but not the end of service as it is time to head to the 21st Century afterschool program.
3:15 PM – After school clubs: Today I am helping out during homework club. Homework club today was pretty calm so I was able to take one of my students to read. We read a book about El Niño and the effects it could have. Hearing her read this book to me, and the progress in her reading from just a couple of months ago, was incredible.
4:15 PM – Work time! So now the day is winding down and I am off to get some work done. Today I am grading and organizing our rocket math folders and setting the students up to get it done on Friday. Though it can be a bit tedious, I love seeing the progress my students are making in math each day and celebrating with them when they notice they moved on to the next letter.
5:15 PM – Debrief. It’s now the end of the day and almost time to go. Last thing on my list to do before we leave is to check in and get a quick pulse of the staff. The team pulse today was really good and we are closing out a great week with a break!