Design Tunnel

I’m so excited to announce that we are now recording at Design Tunnel studio in downtown OKC. Design Tunnel is a marketing and video production company. You can check out their website or connect with them on Twitter @DesignTunnel_OK and FacebookDT logo

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First interview at Design Tunnel with Alberto Jiménez Hidalgo. Talking about technology in the Early Childhood Classroom.


Episode 008: Interview with April Mickelson


April Mickelson is a remedial specialist at Jackson Enterprise in Oklahoma City Public Schools. She started out as a kindergarten teacher (which is my favorite grade too) and now as a remedial specialist she serves her school as a reading interventions, lead professional development facilitator and a literacy coach.

The Balanced Literacy approach has 8 components: read aloud, guided reading, shared reading, interactive writing, shared writing, Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop and Word study. Balanced Literacy combines the ideas behind whole language and phonics programs. This approach to literacy allows the ELA teacher to look at the big picture of teaching reading and language arts.

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

  1. Share about your education background/experience.
  2. What is the Balanced Literacy approach?
  3. What are the main components of Balanced Literacy?
  4. Why is the Balanced Literacy approach superior to other literacy programs?
  5. Describe a Balanced Literacy lesson.
  6. What would the lesson plan need to have in it? i.e., what would need to be different about lesson planning for a Balanced Literacy approach has opposed to other lesson plans?
  7. What are mini-lessons? What should be included in a mini-lesson?
  8. When you enter into a classroom, what do you look for in a classroom using a Balanced Literacy approach?
  9. What are the practical steps for teachers who need to being implementing a Balanced Literacy approach?
  10. What advice would you give teachers who are on the fence about implementing a Balanced Literacy approach?
  11. What are your go to resources for Balanced Literacy?

Episode 007: Interview with Brandi Sickler

Brandi Sickler is one of my favorite people. I could have interviewed her about anything! She is a kindergarten teacher at Tulakes Elementary in Putnam City Schools. Brandi has taught in early childhood classrooms for 11 years, has her masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and runs a blog called Teach.Empower.Kinder. You can find her on Twitter @brandi_sickler and on Facebook.

For this interview we focused on Brandi’s passion for Flexible Seating (linked is her blog post that includes pictures of her classroom). Flexible Seating has recently taken off in classrooms from PK to twelfth grade. I love the idea of having a relaxing and open classroom. In this episode, Brandi talks me through how she finally took the plunge and gives her practical advice to teachers considering a change in their classroom set-up.

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

  1. Tell us about your teaching history/ educational experience.
  2. What gave you the idea to start flexible seating in your classroom?
  3. How did you get started?
  4. What types of flexible seating do you provide in your classroom?
  5. What materials and supplies do you provide to your students that support flexible seating?
  6. How have your parents responded to flexible seating in your classroom? Students?
  7. Have you noticed changes in student engagement? Achievement?
  8. What advice would you give other teachers interested in making the change to flexible seating?