Episode 062: Back to School

For this episode of Passing Notes, I decided to do something a little different… I’ve been wanting to do a Back to School episode for awhile now (well since the beginning of last year) where I could talk through the things I’m most excited about for the school year, resources, and books teachers should look into to start the year. Well, there is no time like the present and let’s be honest there is going to be no year like this year! 

To start out, I’m going to do introductions like I always do because I realize I may have never introduced myself. I’m Stephanie Hinton, I’m the Director of Early Childhood for Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Passing Notes with Stephanie Hinton Podcaster. I started my teaching career in Tulsa Public Schools but spent most of my career in Putnam City Schools at Tulakes Elementary. I have taught kindergarten, 2nd grade, was an assistant principal, and a curriculum coordinator. The 2020-2021 school year will mark my 13th year in public education. You can connect with me here at Passing Notes with Stephanie Hinton, Twitter @thestephhinton or Facebook.

Here are the resources and books I recommend you checking out for the 2020-2021 school year:

We are going into the 2020-2021 school year with so much possibility for change and growth, this can be overwhelming so it’s important to start by mapping out and committing to your own growth as an educator. What steps do you want to take to more effectively and efficiently use the new resources and technology in your classroom? How will you consciously identify your biases and be proactively anti-racists? What are your next steps? 

I think it’s also important to acknowledge the fear and stress going into this next school year, it will be unlike any we have had to date, This year will not be easy but I do think we can learn from the task that is ahead of us (whatever that looks like) and forge a better tomorrow for our amazing students!

058: School TurnAround

For this episode of Passing Notes I had the opportunity to interview my previous principal, Mr. Lee Roland. Lee Roland is a former teacher, principal, district-level administrator, and the author of the book Fantastic Voyage: a Story of School Turnaround and Achievement by Overcoming Poverty and Addressing Race. Lee Roland is known for his work at Tulakes Elementary in Putnam City Schools. In this episode we explored the topics he covers in his book and his experiences of school turnaround at Tulakes Elementary.

Reflective Questions:

  • What does your current culture/climate look like?
  • What areas of growth are needed in your current sphere (school or district)? Suspension rates? Academic? Attendance?
  • What are your plans to engage parents and students throughout the school year?
  • What support do you currently need to grow your school? Who do you need to support you? What do you need from your team?
  • What metrics will you look at to measure your school’s growth this year?
  • What are you most proud of that is happening in your school community?

Episode 054: The Power of PLC

For this episode of Passing Notes I interviewed Dr. Keely Frayser. Keely is the Executive Director of Curriculum in the Putnam City School District. Keely and I discussed in depth the power of a PLC community within a school and a district and how PLCs can help change the narrative and community of a school.

Reflection Questions:

  • What does your curtain PLC practice looks like?
  • What are the expectations for PLC and collaboration in your school?
  • What drives your school’s PLC conversation?
  • What data is important for your teachers to discuss during PLC meetings?
  • How does PLC and regular collaboration impact your school environment?
  • Who has ownership of PLCs?

Episode 047: OPSRC

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.

Reflection Questions:

  • 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?

Episode 046: Coaching New Teachers

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.

Reflection Questions:

  • 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?

Episode 042: Student Podcasts

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.

Reflection Questions:

  • 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?

Episode 038: Kids First

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.

Reflection Guide:

  • 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?

Episode 036: Purposeful Play

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.

Reflection Guide:

  • 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?

Episode 010: Interview with Stephanie Hime

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?