Episode 014: Technology Integration

Education, Education Podcast, Technology

This is episode 1 of the Passing Notes Podcast Tech Series. I am so excited about this series. The next six episodes are going to focus on the different aspects of technology use in the school.

For episode 1 we focused on Technology Integration. Technology integration can be an intimidating process for even a seasoned teacher, especially considering how fast technology is moving. Episode 1 will focus on integrating technology in your classroom in meaningful ways. This and the following episodes will give teachers practical strategies for how to ease into technology in their classroom. The educators that I interviewed will give you their insights and practical advice for how to use technology in your classroom and throughout your school.

Jeni James is one of my favorite educators. She is an Instructional Technologist in Putnam City Schools. Jeni helps teachers all over the district with integrating technology in their classroom. She is a big believer in letting students explore and experience their learning. She encourages teachers to not only use technology to learn from but to also create and use as a tool to share their knowledge.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Jeni (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Tell us about your education background/experience.
  2. Why is technology integration important in today’s classroom?
  3. Why is it important for students to have opportunities to use technology in the classroom?
  4. Are there stages of technology integration? Examples?
  5. What are some practical steps to help teachers get started using technology in the classroom?
  6. How do teachers move past the replacement stage of technology into more advanced stages of technology integration?
  7. What role should digital citizenship play in technology integration?
  8. How do teachers ensure that digital citizenship is a part of their instruction?
  9. What are your favorite technology tools?
  10. What are your favorite go to resources?

Episode 013: Interview with Kristy Cooper

Education Podcast, Relationships

For this episode of Passing Notes, I interviewed Kristy Cooper. Kristy is a 13-year veteran, teaching math and leadership at Del City High School in the Mid-Del School District. I have followed Kristy on twitter for years and have always been inspired by her deep relationships with the students she serves and her ability to empower her high school students in leadership capacities! Kristy is an amazing person and her personal life journey is inspiring to her students and other educators! You can find Kristy on twitter @kriscoop80

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Kristy (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Tell me about your background and experience as an educator.
  2. Explain the work you do with your high school students.
  3. Leadership has played an important role in your classroom and how you design lessons, what are the important steps teachers can take to setting up leadership opportunities for students?
  4. I would imagine that the leadership looks different for every student, what do you advise teachers to do to help draw out students who are more hesitant or don’t see themselves as a leader?
  5. What role has building relationships with students has had on building leaders in your classroom?
  6. How do you tap into your students’ culture and background when empowering them to be leaders?
  7. What role does team building and relationship building between students play in your classroom?
  8. How do you teach leadership?
  9. How do you tie the community into your leadership class?
  10. How do you empower your students to take the lessons they learn in the classroom with them into their communities and throughout your school?
  11. In all things we scaffold for students, how do you provide scaffolds for students growing and developing in their leadership skills?
  12. You have been an incredibly inspirational person to many educators, how has your personal struggle with health impacted your students?
  13. How has your daily dedication to your students effected/changed how you view your health/healing?
  14. What advice do you have for teachers who are looking for ways to adapt their classroom to provide more leadership roles?
  15. What go to resources inspire you?

This episode was recorded at and mastered by Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

The Tech Series

Education, Education Podcast, Podcast, Technology

I am very excited to share with listeners that starting August 10 the Passing Notes podcast is going to get techy! Every other week we will be releasing an episode focused on an aspect of implementing technology in the classroom or school. I talked with excellent educators across the state on topics from gamification to coding! I cannot wait to share with you what I learned from these excellent educators.

Episode 012: Interview with Kethzia Njikam

Education Podcast, Relationships

Kethzia is a parent educator with Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Parents as Teachers program. Kethzia meets with families regularly to support parents and guardians as they raise their children during the important development years before school entry.

Parents as Teachers is a home visiting program. Parent Educators meet with families, the OKCPS program particularly focuses on families with children between the ages of prenatal and school-aged, with the focus of strengthening families and building protective factors while connecting families to necessary resources.

Many school districts have a parent educating programs used to bridge the gap between home to school. Through this interview I wanted to engage educators in understanding a program that they may not be aware of in their school district and further glean lessons from home visiting that could be translated into school and classroom practices.

So, what is home visiting? I had to figure that out when I started working for OKCPS. Parent Educators meet with families, our program particularly focuses on families with children between the ages of prenatal to school-aged, with the focus of strengthening families and building protective factors. Kethzia is an excellent parent educator! If you are interested in knowing more about Parents as Teachers, click the link.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Kethzia (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Background/educational experience.
  2. What is home visiting?
  3. Tell us about the particular model that you use?
  4. What does the model you follow offer the parents you serve?
  5. Is there a benefit for parents participating in a home visiting program?
  6. Are there results beyond participating in the program for families?
  7. What could classroom teachers take away from the home visiting model?
  8. Do you see a benefit to teachers using home visiting to connect parents to the classroom?
  9. What recommendations would you have for classroom educators considering using home visiting their students’ parents?
  10. What are the obstacles classroom educators should consider before home visiting?
  11. How might using home visiting support classroom practices?
  12. What resources have inspired/guided you as a home visitor?
  13. What advice do you have for teachers considering implementing home visiting in their classroom?

This episode was recorded at Design Tunnel in downtown OKC!

Episode 011: Interview with Melissa Meek

Education Podcast, Relationships

Melissa Meek is a 18-year veteran teacher. During that time she has served Tulakes Elementary in Putnam City Schools as a fourth and fifth grade teacher. She has helped implement a sports program for students, ran the after school program, was Teacher of the Year, and has served as mentor teacher to many new educators.

Melissa is great at so many things but she is the best at building relationships with her students and their families. She uses every opportunity of her day to build up and encourage her students. She works side-by-side with her parents to increase student success. Melissa is an incredible teacher!

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Melissa (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Tell me about your background in education.
  2. Why do you believe it is important to build relationships with students? Parents?
  3. What steps do you take to build a relationship with a new student or family?
  4. What are the most important things to remember about building relationships with the families you serve?
  5. Have you ever had a difficult time building a relationship with a student or parent? What did you do?
  6. How has building a relationship with a student or parent changed the way you interacted with that student or parent?
  7. How has building relationships with your students transformed you classroom? How has building relationships with your students’ parents transformed your classroom?
  8. What tips do you have for building relationships with students? with parents?
  9. What books (resources) have inspired you as you have built relationships with students and parents?
  10. What advice do you have for new teachers who are struggling to develop relationships with the families that they serve?

Episode 010: Interview with Stephanie Hime

Education Podcast, Instructional

Stephanie Hime is the Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction in Clinton Public Schools. Within her role she is also the EL (English Learners) Facilitator for her district, which according to their website, 30% of students are classified as EL students. Recently Stephanie moderated a Twitter chat on the topic which challenged me to learn more about my own district and how we are serving our English learners. You can find Stephanie on Twitter @MrsHime or Pinterest.

Teaching students whose native language is not English in schools where the target language is English can be difficult. Students who fall into the category of English Learners (EL) spend much of their school day translating learned content into their native language and then translating information back into English in order to answer questions and engage in discussions. Many teachers that they don’t have the confidence to meet their EL students’ needs.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Stephanie (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Share about your background/experience in education.
  2. Explain the work you do in your district for English Learners.
  3. What are the stages of language development learning another language?
  4. Why is it important for teachers to know and understand the progression of language development?
  5. What are the main obstacles teachers come across when teaching English Learners?
  6. What are the main struggles for students who are English Learners in the classroom?
  7. What strategies should teachers implement to support English Learners in the classroom?
  8. What interventions are most effective for teachers to use when working with English Learners?
  9. What should teachers remember when communicating with parents of English Learners?
  10. What are some resources that you direct teachers to?
  11. What other advice do you have for teachers?

Episode 009: Interview with Andrew Rose

Education, Education Podcast

Andrew Rose in an ELL Instructional Facilitator in the OKCPS district with a background as a high school World History and English teacher. He works with teachers in specific schools through professional development and in Professional Learning Communities on ways to support English Language Learners.

For my interview with Andrew, we spoke specifically about Newcomers. Newcomers are English Language Learners (ELL) who have recently arrived to the United States. They may be in Kindergarten or 10th grade. The focus on teaching Newcomers has become an education hot topic – so much so the US government has created a resource for teachers to guide them through meeting the needs of students who fall into this category. Check it out here – Newcomers Toolkit.

Below are the questions I prepared to ask Andrew (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):

  1. Share about your background/experience in education.
  2. Explain the work you do for OKCPS.
  3. When are students considered a newcomer and what does that term mean?
  4. What is the difference between the classification of a newcomer and the umbrella category of English language learning student?
  5. Why is it important for teachers to understand this difference? Should it impact the teaching strategies that they use?
  6. What are the main obstacles teachers come across when teaching students considered to be newcomers?
  7. What are the main struggles for students who are considered newcomers?
  8. What interventions are most effective for teachers to use when working with students considered to be newcomers?
  9. What recommendations do you have for teachers working with parents of newcomers?
  10. What are some resources that you direct teachers to?
  11. What other advice do you have for teachers?