211 Reasons Why We’re Grateful

By Jen Keyte, Instructional Sharing Senior Manager, KIPP Foundation

In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we asked teachers to take time out of their days, which is no small feat considering the hard work they do each day in their classrooms, to show gratitude. Gratitude is one of the seven character strengths we focus on with our KIPP students, so it’s important for us as adults to live the value of gratitude as well. Because we teach as part of a team and family at KIPP, we asked teachers to show gratitude by celebrating an idea or resource one KIPP educator shared with another for the benefit of our KIPPsters.

We were thrilled to receive 211 submissions from teachers who took time out of their incredibly busy schedules to model expressing gratitude to a teammate. Teachers celebrated and shared 211 impactful ideas ranging from how to motivate students to how to associate movement with vocabulary. They came in the form of lesson plans, assignments, and even videos of instruction that are now hosted on KIPP Share, our online sharing site. Over the next few months, we plan to feature these great ideas on the Team & Family blog to make sure teachers and students outside of KIPP can benefit from these influential ideas as well.

In the example below, the Dean of Teaching and Learning from KIPP NYC College Prep thanked a teacher from KIPP King Collegiate High School in the Bay Area for sharing her method of teaching students how to construct an argument by sharing a video. Take a look:

Nate Smalley thanks Katie Kirkpatrick:
Katie’s work teaching her students to build thoughtful, well-reasoned arguments has transformed the way our high school students in New York think and write. Her methods have inspired the creation and implementation of an interdisciplinary, school-wide model for argument and writing. From her lone classroom, Katie’s work has served as a catalyst for classrooms across our school. Over the course of the past four years, I’ve been lucky enough to learn from Katie’s method of argument that she describes in brief here. It’s as accessible as it is brilliant.

Although teachers can’t always borrow each other’s resources and implement them in the exactly the same way in their own classrooms, the sharing of ideas sparks creativity and allows teachers to innovate more quickly. KIPP teachers are able to build and improve upon each other’s work, from New York to the Bay Area, for the benefit of our KIPPsters. I’m thankful for the teachers who find the time to share their resources and ideas, extending their impact beyond the walls of their own classrooms and schools. I’m thankful for the teachers who found the time to say thank you to the colleagues who have inspired them, and I’m thankful to be part of a network that lives this credo for the benefit of our kids: “If a teammate needs help, we give.”