When KIPP co-founder Dave Levin talks about great teachers being “warm and demanding,” he’s talking about how joy and rigor must go hand-in-hand in the classroom. It’s possible for students to laugh and learn. Joyful classrooms engage and invest students in their own learning. Keeping the work challenging and fun increases their learning and success.
KIPP owes everything to the energy, enthusiasm, and expertise of Harriett Ball, who mentored KIPP’s co-founders 20 years ago. Her cheers, chants, and classroom mantras (“read, baby, read!”) are woven into the DNA of KIPP’s joyful and challenging approach.
The “Sound Train”
Brandi Vardiman gets everyone aboard the sound train by turning phonics into part game/part song. Brandi is the founding principal of KIPP NYC’s 11th school – KIPP STAR Elementary in Harlem.
Math Quan Do
Using martial arts (and a little humor) KIPP Academy’s Frank Corcoran hooks students into a lesson on trigonometric ratios.
The Joy of Blunders
Math teacher Jeff Li knows that when he makes a mistake in the classroom, it’s a golden opportunity to let his students have a little fun and hone their own skills while trying to spot his mistakes.
See what his students have learned! Check out two students teaching how to solve for the sum of interior angles of a triangle.