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?

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 001: Interview with Telannia Norfar

Mrs. Telannia Norfar is a high school math teacher at Northwest Classen in Oklahoma City Public Schools. She is Northwest Classen’s Teacher of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year, works to organize EdCampOKC, is the recipient of the presidential award for excellence in mathematics and science teaching, was recently featured in the Oklahoma Gazette, and is the upcoming president of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Telannia is amazing and one of the things she is nationally known for is Project Based Learning (PBL). So I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting with her about PBL and how it works in her math classroom.

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions for Telannia you can find her on twitter @thnorfar or check out her blog PBL Birdside View

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

  1. Share with us your educational background and experience.
  2. How did you become interested in PBL?
  3. How do you set up a PBL lesson with your students? How do you prepare your students’ parents?
  4. Describe your favorite PBL lesson progression.
  5. How do you assess learning through the PBL process?
  6. How do you identify people in the community to get involved in the process? What is their role?
  7. How does using PBL and involving the community in the learning process affect student learning and engagement?
  8. What advice would you give to teachers looking to implement PBL?
  9. How may times a year do you implement a PBL lesson?