A Teacher’s Day

A TEACHER'S DAY

From team building in the morning to after-school activities, see what a typical day is like for a KIPP NYC elementary, middle, and high school teacher.
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ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

KYLE MORRIS

As a founding teacher and Empire Fellow at KIPP STAR Harlem College Prep Elementary, the funny and fashionable Mr. Morris moved up with his KIPPsters each year and is now co-teaching 2nd grade.

“We are here for a passion and a love for our kids and to build the leaders of tomorrow. You will definitely grow here as a professional.”

7:30 - 7:45 AM

Morning Huddle

Each morning, the KIPP STAR Harlem Elementary staff gather to review logistics. Staff members rotate leadership of this gathering, ensuring that all teachers get some morning motivation to start the day off RIGHT and as one team and one family.

7:45 - 8:00 AM

Arrival & Breakfast

I pick my students up in our school’s courtyard every day at 7:45am and bring my students to our classroom for breakfast. Students eat quickly while I finish up some final prep and circle around to say hello to everyone. I love the opportunity to start the day with greetings and positive conversations with students.

8:00 - 8:08 AM

Morning Meeting

My favorite part of the day is morning meeting because this is really the time where we build community in our classroom. It allows me to get the kids excited to learn and to warm up their brains for the day. We do calendar math, going over the days of the week and the months of the year, and make daily announcements. We also do our problem of the day, which I choose based on the math topics students may have struggled with in the previous day’s lessons.

8:08 - 9:45 AM

Guided Reading

We group students for guided reading based on their STEP reading level. The STEP Literacy Assessment is how KIPP NYC tracks student progress in reading. It is similar to F&P, but only features the fiction genre. I have a group of 12 students, and each day we do Reading Mastery which gives my students tools to decode tricky words. We also split students into groups of 6 for close reading. After guided reading is over, students transition back to classrooms and put their book baggies away.

9:45 – 10:05 AM

Recess

Each day (weather permitting) I go outside with my class and supervise during their recess time.

10:10 - 11:40 AM

Content Block One

Our second graders at KIPP STAR Harlem switch classes like middle school kids. My co-teacher and I teach math, while my colleagues focus on ELA, writing, science, and social studies. My co-teacher and I have a great relationship and we really feed off each other during class. We learn from observing each other and giving feedback to one another after our lessons. Sometimes we team teach and sometimes she will jump in and parallel teach – our style just depends on the content for the day and the needs of our students at that particular moment.

11:45 AM – 1:15 PM

Content Block Two

We have three 2nd grade homerooms, so during the second content block, I teach the same math lesson to a new homeroom of KIPPsters. Members of our regional Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment team frequently observe my classroom, along with my principal and the deans at my school. My coach meets with me on a regular basis and I also get feedback during my lessons, allowing me to improve my instruction in the moment. I think it’s really important to get this “in the moment” feedback so my bad habits can be corrected quickly.

1:15 – 1:40 PM

Lunch

All teachers supervise each day during lunch. We help ensure all students have food, monitor tables, and support with bathroom trips as necessary.

1:45– 2:25 PM

Prep Time

Each day students attend their art, music, gymnastics, or dance class for 40 minutes. Classroom teachers use this time to collaborate with their co-teacher, attend content or grade team meetings, and prep for lessons for the week. I also meet with my coach on a regular basis and we typically use this time for our one on one coaching sessions.

2:25 - 3:55 PM

Content Block Three

This is our final content block of the day. We believe in using data to drive our instruction, and this is reflected in our lesson differentiation. We take regular assessments and use daily exit tickets to track student progress. We analyze the data to identify gaps in conceptual knowledge, and based on performance data, we form intervention plans. We have intervention blocks on Wednesdays (when we have minimum days) and use morning meeting to provide targeted support to students.

3:55 – 4:00 PM

Dismissal

This is such a zesty, awesome, warm, joyful, and incredible place to work. Why should someone work here? We believe our students are powerful beyond measure and we are here every day to build the leaders of tomorrow. This is why we spend long hours here and do everything with excellence.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

GERARD GRIFFITH

“Griff” is a founding teacher at KIPP Infinity Middle School in Harlem. In addition to teaching social studies, he’s also the basketball coach, the flag football coach, KIPP Infinity’s master of photos and video, and much more.

7:25 - 7:45 AM

Morning Announcements

We begin each day promptly at 7:25 AM. We use this time to greet our students, make announcements, collect homework, and build community.

Watch the video to hear Gerard talk about starting the day off right.

7:40 - 9:02 AM

Prep Period

I use this period as prep time, but it can often be an advisory period where another teacher and I create a space for kids to reflect on their academic and character goals. We look for ways to tackle homework issues as well as ways to celebrate their progress. Sometimes I’ll even do a mini character lesson with kids by showing them a TED talk by Malala or one from Angela Duckworth on grit.

9:07 - 10:12 AM

Teach History

I want our 8th graders to be as independent as possible to prepare them for high school and college. I use a combination of lectures and student-led discussions in my class. Students take notes using the Cornell note-taking strategy which is taught to them in 5th grade. When students take the AP test in high school, they’ll atually use these notebooks. Students come back and tell me all the time how helpful those notes are for taking the exam.

10:15 - 10:30 AM

Snack Time

This is a great opportunity for students to socialize, stretch their legs, use the restroom, and chat with teachers. I’m always looking for ways to connect with students, listening to what’s weighing heavy on their minds or what they’re really excited about. Moments like these give me a better pulse on the school.

10:30 - 11:40 AM

Prep Period

I use my free time to touch base with our 7th grade history teacher to ensure vertical alignment and to share resources with other history teachers. I also meet regularly with our principal about special events, athletic events, our non-fiction exhibition, and other community building activities for staff, students, and families.

11:40 AM - 12:45 PM

Teach History

This year, we’re covering reconstruction through the present, talking about a wide range of topics from the Civil War to civil rights. Students complete a variety of projects including civil war reenactments and essays. We are unifying lessons across all KIPP NYC middle schools, and regional professional development sessions are all about working with other history teachers to align curriculum.

12:50 - 1:35 PM

Lunch

The whole staff shares lunch duties, so one day I might be covering lunch and another day I might be running detention. Either way, lunch is a great time to connect with students and do some tutoring.

1:40 - 2:40 PM

Elective

This time is used for one of our elective courses. I create a lot of videos for the school and the students get involved with editing and starring in the videos. It helps them learn about all aspects of production, working as a team, and more.

2:45 - 3:50 PM

Teach History

One of my classes is a special education inclusion class so I differentiate the classwork to align with student needs. We work on history content, non-fiction content, and Read 180 during this class. All of this work is aimed at improving student literacy skills

3:55 - 5:00PM

After-School / Sports

We have a very robust after-school program at our middle schools. I coach a few teams and organize the KIPP CUP, a girls and boys basketball tournament against other east coast KIPP regions. I love it because after-school and athletics present more opportunities to work with students who need that little extra bit of intervention or praise.

HIGH SCHOOL

GLORIA NAVARRO

Gloria spent three years teaching in a traditional public school before joining KIPP in 2010 where she is part of the math team at KIPP NYC College Prep. “What I love about teaching at KIPP is working with a staff where everyone is on the same page. Everyone has the same mentality and work ethic and motivation and the same vision — work hard for our kids!”

7:30 - 8:15 AM

Getting Ready

I like to get to school a bit before 8am to get ready for the day. I use this time to make sure copies are in place and ensure all my materials for my the lessons are ready. This also gives me time to greet the students as they head to their first period classes.

8:20 - 10:58 AM

Teach Algebra 15:1

15:1 Algebra is a class for our students who need extra support and a smaller class size environment. We teach the same objectives and students take the same assessments as other Algebra classes, but the smaller class size allows for more one-on-one time with each student.

11:02 - 11:52 AM

Co-Planning

The Algebra team meets to discuss upcoming lessons, analyze student work, and decide how we will support the development of our students’ conceptual understanding.

11:56 AM - 12:56 PM

Lunch and Planning

I use this time to each lunch, plan lessons, and meet with teachers or students. I sometimes stop by the Study Skills classrooms to check on some of my students and see if they have any questions.

12:50 - 1:40 PM

Teach Algebra 10

Because of the high need for our students, this class is supported by our Special Education teachers via push-in or pulling out selected students. We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to get every student to be college-ready.

1:44 - 2:35 PM

Planning

This is my last prep period of the day. I use this time to make copies for the next day, review student work, and update my gradebook. I also make parent phone calls when needed.

2:38 - 3:25 PM

Support Algebra 10

During this time, I push in to another teacher’s Algebra 10 class to provide extra support for the students. That same teacher also pushes in to my Algebra 10 classes to provide my students with support. Supporting our kids is always a team effort.

3:30 - 5:00 PM

End of Day

The majority of my time after school is reserved for tutoring students. We aim to create a space where kids can finish their homework, ask questions about the lesson, or receive remediation on some of our recent concepts. I work with the Algebra team to prepare for the upcoming day, and to update families on the progress of our students.