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

Raul Garza – KIPP Academy (South Bronx)

Raul Garza is a 2007 New York City Teaching Fellow teaching 2nd grade at KIPP Academy in the South Bronx where he helped students launch a community garden in an abandoned lot.

7:15 - 7:50
7:15 - 7:50
BREAKFAST

The day starts at 7:15 with a hearty breakfast. We greet our students with hugs, handshakes, and/or high fives and use this time to correct homework from the previous night.

7:50-8:10
7:50-8:10
COMMUNITY CIRCLE (VIDEO)

On Mondays the whole school gathers to discuss elements of our school culture. On other days our class gathers in the meeting area to learn more about our classroom culture.

8:10 - 8:35
8:10 - 8:35
CALENDAR MATH & MORNING MESSAGE

Our homeroom, The Jazz Cats shift from a circle in the meeting area to our rug spots to go through our daily Calendar Math Routines. Among our favorite songs are 'The Days of the Week,' 'The Months of the Year,' and 'What's the Weather?'

8:40 - 9:40
8:40 - 9:40
READING WORKSHOP

We start the real core of our academic day with reading. My co-teacher and I alternate between teaching phonics and reading comprehension, while the students move stations between us.

9:40 - 10:20
9:40 - 10:20
LITERACY CENTERS (VIDEO)

Possibly one of the most important points of our day is Literacy Centers. Students practice rhyming words, sight words, sounds and letters in various Literacy Centers. In small groups, we work on Guided Reading to meet students at their level and to improve their reading through word tackling strategies.

10:20 - 10:30
10:20 - 10:30
SNACK

Students take a break from our busy day to enjoy a snack provided by one of our families. My co-teacher and I take a moment to recharge and partake in a snack with students.

10:30 - 10:40
10:30 - 10:40
MATH ROUTINES

During this time, we practice some of the quick, but ever important math skills including counting (by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10), shapes and ordinal numbers.

10:45 - 11:35
10:45 - 11:35
PREP PERIOD (VIDEO)

Students transition to one of our arts teachers (currently Dance, Music, or Physical Education) for a much needed movement break. We use this time to finish up correcting homework from the previous night and to prepare materials for the next day's lessons. This is also a time we might catch up with a parent.

11:30-noon
11:30-noon
LUNCH

My co-teacher and I switch off lunch duty so if I'm not using this as a prep, I'm eating lunch with our students.

12:00 - 12:30
12:00 - 12:30
RECESS

Whoever takes lunch duty usually takes recess duty as well. In the beginning of the year, recess starts as a structured center time where our students learn to play together, and then as the year goes on, it becomes less structured where our students play to their own liking, but always remember to be nice.

12:30 - 1:00
12:30 - 1:00
NAP

After recess, our students return to our classroom to rest. For some students, this means taking a brief nap, while others simply take a serene moment from the day to gather their thoughts or to quietly enjoy a book.

1:00 - 1:50
1:00 - 1:50
MATH

Math comes after a dance party wake-up from nap. During this time, we get into the new math instruction for the day. In early elementary, we work on developing number sense so our students can understand basic arithmetic and number stories.

1:50 - 2:30
1:50 - 2:30
WRITING WORKSHOP

During writing, we teach our students to develop their own voice with the written word. In the beginning of the year, this starts with the distinction between text and pictures as well as basic letter formation and letter-sound correspondence.

2:30 - 3:10
2:30 - 3:10
SCIENCE OR SOCIAL STUDIES

Science and Social Studies are each taught twice a week. We start the year off learning about being healthy and our school community and move outward to the world around us.

3:10 - 3:45
3:10 - 3:45
FREE PLAY

With the close of the day comes FREE PLAY. We manage the games and activities in the classroom and even partake in the dramatic play. Students rotate between centers, including Dress Up, the Kitchen, Dinosaurs, Dolls and Reading.

3:45 - 4:10
3:45 - 4:10
PACK UP AND DISMISSAL

Our students pack up their backpacks and make sure they have their homework, their sight words, and the rest of their belongings as we prepare to continue our hard work at home.

4:15 - 5:15
4:15 - 5:15
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OR WORK TIME

Two to three times after work, we stay after work to learn some fantastic new methods for management, centers, asking meaningful questions, and more.

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Middle School

Gerard Griffith – KIPP Infinity (Harlem)

Gerard “Griff” Griffith 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 - 7:40
7:25 - 7:40
MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS (VIDEO)

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

Click the play button to hear Griff talk about starting the day off right

7:40 - 9:05
7:40 - 9:05
PREP PERIOD

I use my prep time to plan lessons, provide feedback on assessments, and research new ways to incorporate technology into my class.

I also sit in on other 8th grade classes to learn from my colleagues and ensure consistency across subjects.

9:07 - 10:12
9:07 - 10:12
TEACH HISTORY CLASS

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.

10:15 - 10:30
10:15 - 10:30
SUPERVISE SNACK

Students are provided with a snack each morning. This is also a time for our students socialize, stretch their legs, use the restroom, and chat with their teachers.

11:30 - 11:40
11:30 - 11:40
PREP PERIOD

I often use my free time to touch base with our 7th grade history teacher to ensure vertical alignment and email other history teachers to share resources. Once a week, I meet one-on-one with our Dean of Teaching and Learning to review unit plans, analyze assessment data, and discuss instructional goals.

11:40 - 12:45
11:40 - 12:45
TEACH HISTORY CLASS

I enjoy making videos (and collecting superhero figurines), so I incorporate media as much as possible in my classes. Students watch portions of documentaries that correlate with the time period we study and then we use it as a springboard for small group discussions and debate.

12:50 - 1:35
12:50 - 1:35
LUNCH

Each teacher rotates in to either take kids down to our cafeteria or pick them up. It's always a fun time to reconnect with the students midday to lunch duty with the kids. We share our cafeteria with KIPP Infinity Elementary School so the teachers make sure the students are respectfully entering and leaving our shared space.

1:40-2:40
1:40-2:40
VIDEO ELECTIVE (VIDEO)

In addition to teaching history, I also teach a video editing course to a select group of students. Using the computers in my room, the students develop short commercials, music videos, and slideshows. Students direct, edit, and star in the productions and learn about all aspects of video production.

2:45 - 3:50
2:45 - 3:50
TEACH HISTORY CLASS

One homeroom on every grade level is an inclusion class, so I differentiate the lesson and classwork. The special education teacher pushes-in to provide additional support.

4:00 - 5:00
4:00 - 5:00
COACH SPORTS (VIDEO)

Twice a week, I coach a sports team after school. In the fall, I coach co-ed flag football, and in the winter I coach boys' basketball. We play games against other local charter schools, including other KIPP schools.

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High School

Nicole Niewald – KIPP NYC College Prep (South Bronx)

Nicole Niewald is a 2008 Teach for America alumnus and a founding teacher of KIPP NYC College Prep. She is also one of three 2013 Math for America fellows teaching for KIPP NYC.

8:00 – 8:50
8:00 – 8:50
TEACH BIOLOGY

Our Biology sections are set up for students who need extra support and attention. They take the same assessments, but the lessons from day to day are more differentiated. A smaller class size allows for each student to receive individual support if needed.

8:55 - 9:43
8:55 - 9:43
TEACH BIOLOGY (VIDEO)

Our Biology sections are set up for students who need extra support and attention. They take the same assessments, but the lessons from day to day are more differentiated. A smaller class size allows for each student to receive individual support if needed.

9:46 – 10:35
9:46 – 10:35
CO-PLANNING TIME

Each department has one shared prep period so I use this time to collaborate and co-plan with our science department.

10:38 - 11:29
10:38 - 11:29
PLANNING

I use this time to eat lunch, lesson plan, tutor students or meet with colleagues. Every teacher has either 4th period or 5th period free (half of the student body is at lunch during each of these periods).

11:32 – 12:22
11:32 – 12:22
BIOLOGY – WITH SUPPORT

Some of our special education students need more support. In courses with push-in support, another teacher works closely with 1 or 2 students throughout the lesson. This additional support includes, but is not limited to, reading questions aloud, rewording of questions and statements in order to scaffold content, and one-on-one support for independent practice.

12:25 - 1:15
12:25 - 1:15
PREP

This is another prep period in the day where I can meet with my instructional coach to review and tweak my lessons for the week.

1:18 - 2:08
1:18 - 2:08
BIOLOGY – WITH SUPPORT

Most teachers will teach four classes a day. This year I teach five, but teachers who take on an additional fifth class still have about the same number of students to make the amount of grading fair.

2:11 - 3:00
2:11 - 3:00
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

This is a College Board approved course that prepares top juniors and seniors for a college with nightly readings in a college-level textbook, full length lab reports including excel data analysis, and complete field work.

2:11 - 3:00
2:11 - 3:00
AP ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (VIDEO)

Our lessons extend beyond the classroom: a lab at the Museum of Natural History; a tour of a dairy farm and apple orchard in upstate New York, and testing the water quality in Central Park's Harlem Meer. In the spring, students take the AP Environmental Science exam to earn college credit.

3:15 - 4:30
3:15 - 4:30
COACH SOCCER (VIDEO)

All students engage in some type of extra-curricular activity during this time called "KIPP Block." On Wednesdays, we have advisory, and I meet with a group of students who I advise during their entire high school career.

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