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 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?