This episode of Passing Notes is a cross over with the OPSRC podcast School ZonED. I sat down with Executive Director Brent Bushey and talked all things education and podcasting. You can find out more information about OPSRC -Oklahoma Public School Resource Center – on their website, Twitter, or Facebook.
Reflecting on the 2018-2019 school year, what areas of growth have you identified for the coming school year?
What resources are you looking to for growing your practice in the 2019-2020 school year?
What podcasts/books are you listening to and learning from this school year?
How can you be a resource to other teachers and to parents in the coming school year?
What do you need from your school leader or other teachers this school year? How are you advocating for those resources?
For this episode of Passing Notes, I visited with Dr. Joanna Lein. Joanna is the Executive Director of the Teaching and Leading Initiative of Oklahoma (TLI). TLI is a nonprofit organization based out of Tulsa, OK that works to develop the skills, knowledge, and mindsets of teachers and school leaders with a focus on novice teachers. You can find Joanna on Twitter @JoMabeeLein or follow TLI Oklahoma @OklahomaTli.
What spoke to you in this episode?
Where is your struggle? Classroom management? Guided reading? Instructional practices? Differentiation?
What micro skills do you need to grow during the 2019-2020 school year?
What are your goals for the 2019-2020 school year? How do you plan on growing? What small steps can you take towards that goal?
How are you sharing your knowledge with other teachers?
How are you supporting novice teachers?
In the coming year, have you considered time in your day to reflect on your teaching practice?
Erin Barnes is a principal and former teacher of Epic Charter Schools. She is also a co-host of the OklaSaid Podcast and the producer of the podcasts The Emancipation Podcast Station and Navigating School.
I sat down with Erin to talk about how thinking outside the box and allowing students to demonstrate mastery through a variety of means provides educators with a more authentic forms of assessment.
What do you currently use to assess student mastery?
Do you currently use any alternative forms of assessment when determining student mastery?
What alternative forms of assessment have been the most effective for you?
Have you ever considered using student podcasting to determine student mastery? How would creating a student podcast help you identify mastery and needs for remediation?
What other forms of authentic assessments have you tried or considered trying? How did this experience grow your thinking about assessments or student mastery?
What are your next steps towards changing assessments in your classroom?
This is part 2 of my interview with Kristi Mraz. This episode will focus more on learning environments and creating a mindset for learning You can find Kristi on Twitter @MrazKristi or on her blog www.kristimraz.com.
What values does your classroom environment portray about your teaching philosophy? What do you want it to say?
What current classroom practices do you have in place that doesn’t match up with your values? How do you plan to change that?
Have you audited your schedule lately? Is your schedule designed with child development and current research on how children learn in mind?
Do you feel like a manger of students or a curator of community? Why?
Take a moment to write down your beliefs about students and learning. What evidence exists in your classroom of those beliefs? What steps do you need to take to demonstrate your beliefs in practice?
For this episode of Passing Notes, I interviewed Kristi Mraz. Kristi is a prolific writer and teacher researcher. She has co-authored a number of books; including, Purposeful Play, A Mindset for Learning, and Kids 1st from Day 1. Kristi teaches in New York City Public Schools and supports teachers across the nation. You can find Kristi on Twitter @MrazKristi or on her blog www.kristimraz.com.
What questions/problem of practice do you have about the work you do with students?
What struggles/barriers exist for implementation of purposeful play in your classroom/school?
Do you view play as an important part of your educational practice? How does your planning provide evidence of this value?
How do you avoid the trap of cute?
Do you view play as a right or a privilege?
How are you bringing the energy of play to academics?
How do you use your play personality in your teaching/classroom environment?
Amy Curran is the Oklahoma executive director of Generation Citizen. She works across the state to bring the programming of Generation Citizen to school districts and to also advocate for strong civics education in our state. You can find Amy on Twitter @amycurranokc.
Generation Citizen is a national organization that works to empower young people to become engaged and effective citizens. In Oklahoma, Generation Citizen partners with local school districts to provide curriculum and training for teachers that actively involves students in civic engagement. You can find Generation Citizen on their website or on Twitter @gencitizen or @GCFeelingOK.
Below are the questions that I prepared to ask Amy Curran for this episode:
Introduce yourself and your organization.
What does Generation Citizen do? What ages/grades does the organization work with? What districts/schools does the organization currently work with?
What are some of the projects the organization has been involved in within the state?
Why is Civics Education important?
Where do teachers start?
What are some good examples of implementing strong Civics Education practices in the classroom?
What classroom strategies/content is available? What classroom strategies/content should teachers focus on?
How do teachers engage in promoting civics engagement/practices in their classroom if they don’t have a strong understanding of the process?
What positive outcomes occur from civically engaging classroom practices?
What role does having knowledge of history and current government practices play in being civically engaged?
What resources/supports are available to teachers?
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):
Share about your background/experience in education.
Explain the work you do in your district for English Learners.
What are the stages of language development learning another language?
Why is it important for teachers to know and understand the progression of language development?
What are the main obstacles teachers come across when teaching English Learners?
What are the main struggles for students who are English Learners in the classroom?
What strategies should teachers implement to support English Learners in the classroom?
What interventions are most effective for teachers to use when working with English Learners?
What should teachers remember when communicating with parents of English Learners?
What are some resources that you direct teachers to?