Hi, I’m Becca and I’m an AmeriCorps Education Fellow at The Learning Community! My day starts at 8:30, where I come in, coffee in, and start to prep for the day. I’m a part of the ELD and Extended Day program team, so I spend my morning getting ready for the classes I’ll be teaching that day, including ELD, recess and lunch, and an engineering class after school.
One of the biggest parts of my day is teaching ELD, or English Language Development, which is a part of day for all of our students from kindergarten until fourth grade, and then for some students in the later grades. ELD helps students who speak other languages, such as Spanish, practice their English using sentence frames and vocabulary to help them express their ideas. This is so important because without this specific practice with the language, many students will not be at the language level required for success in their future. I work with three groups of students—a group of second graders, third graders, and a group of fourth graders—on practicing speaking and writing with the help of our ELD kit. Each kit has a theme, such as Snowy Destination, where we learn vocabulary specific to that kit (such as ‘chilly’ or ‘backpacking’,) as well as sentence frames that are usable in anything they write. This is a really fun thing to teach, because it encourages the students to come up with creative sentences and experiment with vocabulary.
Another part of my day is monitoring recess and lunch. Recess has been particularly interesting as of late because the cold weather and the amount of snow we’ve received, so we’ve had a lot of indoor recess. Indoor recess forces both the students and myself to get creative about how to spend our time indoors. My students’ two favorite activities during indoor recess are coloring sheets (sheets of flowers and Minecraft are the biggest hits), and a break dancing station, where one at a time students preform breakdancing moves on the rug—as long as they’re being safe, of course. After recess, we transition to lunch, where I get a chance to ask students about their day, encourage them to eat fruits and vegetables, and listen to them read me the jokes off the back of the milk carton. This time of day gives me a chance to interact with the students while they’re more relaxed and not trying to take in as much new information.
Once the school day is over, the extended day program starts. Once the students have had snack, they go to their activity for the day. Most days, I assist outside providers who come in and run programs, but on Wednesdays, I teach an engineering course for third graders called Hop to It! In this class, students help characters Indy and Jacob creating traps to capture an invasive species in New Zealand, the cane toad. They have journals for reflection and opportunities to test their traps. The students are really excited to test their traps with our wind up frog, and they come up with a lot of really good ideas. This time of day is fun, but encourages them to think critically and to enjoy engineering.
After the students have dinner and work on homework, they get picked up, which is when my day ends, usually around 5:30. My days are busy, but they’re also very rewarding. I go home tired every night, but by the next morning, I’m ready to go back to school and start a new day. The Learning Community is a really enjoyable place to serve, and I’m really glad to have the opportunity to work here. Thanks for reading my post!