First Day Back!

My 2013 school supplies staples

My 2013 school supplies staples

This morning I had my first official day at KIPP University Preparatory here in San Antonio and it was  wonderful. I am jazzed to work with  a great leadership team as well as to have the opportunity to serve kids in a truly one-of-a-kind role. I am the 11th grade U.S. History teacher by morning and the Assistant Principal by afternoon – holla teacher/leader hybrid role! I am also a Miles Family Fellow this year and have been impressed by the quality of the programing so far. I have so much to learn about being a leader of adults and look forward to sharing what I learning (and hearing advice from you) here.

My back to school ritual involves the purchase of the above school supplies (Sharpie higlighters, Paper:Mate Sharpwriter pencils, Pilot Precise rolling ball pens in blue (V7!! not V5!!) as well as a new Moleskine planner. One of the first things I like to do is plan the layout of my classroom. I draw a floor plan for the room and then make a plan for how I want each of the walls in the room to look like; I try to plan down to the detail for the various white boards and really think about what makes sense in terms of communicating information to students, creating a space for student work/collaboration, and also personalizing the space. In the past, I’ve “wallpapered” my room with butcher paper (always blue) and hung up the Cesar Chavez quote “There is no substitute for hard work” but this year I’m at a new school and so I’m thinking about potentially “re-branding” my classroom. A local San Antonio theme? A focus on personal history? I’m in to character development these days and I’m working at a KIPP school so maybe something around that?

One of the other hugely exciting aspects of planning my classroom this year is that my classroom is actually a church banquet hall:

The banquet hall (and my classroom this year!) at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio which is the temporary home of KIPP UPrep

The banquet hall (and my classroom this year!) at Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio which is the temporary home of KIPP UPrep

The round tables with chairs! The MASSIVE space! The chandeliers! The massive wall of windows on one side! Folks, I’m in love. Good luck trying to get me back into a traditional classroom after this. The one tricky detail is that I cannot hang anything on the walls which definitely cramps my style. But I am determined to overcome and here are my initial ideas: 1) I get a bunch of rolling white boards, 2) I build some kind of freestanding PVC structures that hold either clotheslines or those big sheets of shower board from Home Depot. Presto! I pin student work to the clotheslines and use the shower board for additional white board space. Any suggestions?


6 thoughts on “First Day Back!

  1. Congratulations! (Sharpie highlighters are the best!)

    I like your rolling white boards idea. I also once worked in a classroom with non permanent dividing walls that we could thumb-tack things into (or thumb tack stuff like a white board to). Ours were small, but I googled and saw this too:

    I’m also LOVING this planner system: I have 2×2 inch full-adhesive post-its to go with it. They fit perfectly in the columns.

  2. Jenny says:

    I love it! Those tables and all that space are going to be amazing, just like you and your Moleskin 🙂 I can’t wait to visit

  3. FRich says:

    This is AWESOME! Congrats to you on so many levels Abby. First for the hybrid role – you will be amazing and there is no better person that to be influencing students AND teachers at the same time! Also, wow how cool for a history class to be in that massive room! So many ideas came to mind as I saw that picture. I can’t wait to see how you unveil that room into an explosion of learning adventures. Let the journey begin!

  4. Ashley says:

    Love your blog and can’t wait to see what you do to your new room! Congrats! I’m a teacher in training – no tips from me just yet. 😉

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