High-Quality Instruction episodes focus on providing teachers with research-based professional learning and resources on high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials, best teaching practices, and learning environments that will lead to student success.

Episode 53: Building Effective School Community Partnerships

Looking for ways to build effective school-community partnerships? In this episode, Early and Elementary Learning Specialists, Becky Lewis and Samantha Statler discuss the benefits and importance of forming effective school-community partnerships. Tune in to hear a little more about where you can start on your journey to building effective school-community partnerships.

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Episode 42: Interview with Weston Kieschnick

Join award-winning educator and best-selling author Weston Kieschnick along with two of the Early and Elementary Learning Specialists as they discuss the importance of teacher-student relationships. Weston walks us through what relationships really mean when it comes to teaching and learning and how they are truly the foundation for everything that needs to happen in a healthy classroom, school, or district.

Weston reminds us that the single greatest gift we can give a child is a relationship with a caring adult who truly believes in them and the great things they can accomplish.

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Episode 41: Building Positive Relationships with Students

Teacher-student relationships are crucial for successful learning, especially after the year everyone has had. As educators, we must be focused on more than meeting the academic needs of our students, but we have to focus on meeting their social and emotional needs as well. As we prepare for a new school year in West Virginia, the shared message is that relationships and the social/emotional well-being of our students are among the top priorities. Although we know the importance of relationships, we often miss discussing the why or the how.

Today, Brittany and Becky discuss the research behind why building strong teacher-student relationships are so important. Educators need to know how they can make sure they are meeting the social and emotional needs of their students. Brittany and Becky talk in-depth about seven habits that give us the “how” behind building those important relationships.

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Episode 40: Structured Literacy

It is difficult to have a conversation around English Language Arts instruction without the terms Science of Reading and structured literacy coming up, but what exactly is structured literacy? Structured literacy is a way that all students can acquire literacy skills through lessons that are direct, explicit, appropriately sequenced, systematic, cumulative, and intensive. Each of these elements is crucial for our young learners as they begin their journey as readers. Not only is it important for teachers to address all components of literacy, but the focus of structured literacy aligns almost perfectly with the WV College and Career Readiness standards for ELA at the elementary level, which are broken into five different domains: Early Learning Foundations Reading, Writing, Speaking/Listening, and Language.

Today, Becky Lewis switches gears as Maggie Luma interviews her about structured literacy. Becky shares from her previous experiences as a classroom teacher while also sharing research surrounding the topic. She gives great examples of how the different elements that characterize structured literacy work together to help teach our young readers and how her experiences have also helped her have a deeper understanding of structured literacy.

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Episode 37: Interview with Alyson Kangisser and Jessica Watt

Our students enter our schools and classrooms with more on their shoulders and hearts than we realize. Supporting their mental health is a crucial step in helping them lift this weight, but it can seem like a daunting task for any educator. Collaborating with other staff within our buildings can be a great way to make supporting and developing positive mental health practices in our classrooms more manageable and intentional.

Sara Hutchinson and I sit down with school counselors, Allyson Kangisser and Jessica Watt, to discuss their roles, as well as how they collaborate with classroom educators within their schools to plan and implement intentional mental health practices that benefits all students.

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Episode 36: Supporting Mental Health in the Classroom

Student mental health is currently a big focus in education. But what do educators need to know about mental health and where can they begin?

Sara Hutchinson and I sit down to discuss these questions and more as we focus today’s conversation on the West Virginia Tiered System of Support with a specific focus on supporting mental health in our schools and classrooms.

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Episode 33: Interview with Vanessa Harlow

The Science of Reading is not a new idea, but it is currently trending in the literacy world today. What are some examples of how district leaders and educators can take the science from the Science of Reading research and apply it to their schools and classrooms?

Today, Maggie Luma and I sit down with fellow West Virginia Educator, Vanessa Harlow, to discuss some ways that Grant County Schools has been doing this over the past several years.

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Episode 32: The Science of Reading

Science and Technology have contributed to many advancements in the way we live, learn, and work. One such advancement is the science behind how we develop as readers, known as the Science of Reading. The research and knowledge behind the Science of Reading has been gaining more and more attraction in the world of literacy education. But what does it mean and what implications does this have for educators?

Today, Maggie Luma and I sit down to discuss these questions regarding the Science of Reading as well as some key takeaways for educators.

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Episode 31: Interview with Amanda Peyton

In education, family engagement and family involvement are often used interchangeably; however, the distinction between these two terms is crucial to understand how to build strong, meaningful partnerships with parents and families.

Today, Blake Turley and I sit down with fellow West Virginia Educator, Amanda Peyton, to talk more about parent and family engagement. Amanda provides a great perspective on the difference between involving families and engaging them, along with some simple yet impactful examples of how McDowell County educators are building strong partnerships with their families.

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Episode 30: Interview with Milagros Nores

Engaging parents and families and working to create strong partnerships is an important way for educators to enhance the overall well-being of the children in their classroom. During the recent unprecedented times, we have experienced, the home-school connections and the strength of these partnerships may seem compromised. But what does the research say?

Today, Blake Turley and I sit down with Milagro Nores from the National Institute for Early Education Research to discuss family engagement. Join us as we talk about the research findings regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and early childhood education, along with the lessons that have been learned about the role of family engagement.

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Episode 29: Interview with Dr. Doug Fisher

Engaging students in learning is a complex process that involves many different elements that are intricately woven together. Balancing these various elements can at times be overwhelming, regardless of the environment in which learning is taking place.

Listen as Dr. Doug Fisher joins the conversation today to talk about some of these elements and shares tips focused on how educators can promote student engagement.

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Episode 28: Wonderfully Unexpected Moments of 2020

It is no secret that the 2020 school year had its fair share of challenges. However, teachers across our state have experienced a number of “wonderfully unexpected” highlights over the course of the past year as well. This very special bonus episode is not only a celebration of the one-year anniversary of this podcast, but also a celebration of the unexpected but certainly cherished moments West Virginia teachers have reported despite the very unfamiliar teaching and learning environment brought upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Episode 27: Improving Student Engagement During Remote Learning

Engaging students in a remote learning environment is a new challenge for many teachers. In this episode, fellow Early Literacy Specialist, Samantha Statler, joins me to discuss the importance of student engagement. We talk about how teachers can monitor and promote student engagement in non-traditional learning environments by adapting some familiar strategies that are used in face-to-face lessons.

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Episode 24: Interview with Silas Kulkarni

Currently, educators are trying to balance the issue of remediating skills that resulted from last spring’s school closures with teaching grade-level content. It can seem like a daunting task but there’s hope. Accelerating student learning is the key to helping teachers balancing these two issues as well as making the overwhelming task manageable.

In this episode, Christy Schwartz and I will be continuing our conversation on accelerating student learning. We will be getting insight and advice on this critical topic from educator and social entrepreneur, Silas Kulkarni.

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Episode 23:  Accelerating Student Learning

Educators across West Virginia are continuing to face challenges surrounding the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on education. The biggest challenges are addressing the unfinished learning that occurred as a result of the school closures while also ensuring that students are mastering current grade-level skills and standards. When we pair these two challenges with additional obstacles such as changes in the instructional environment, social distancing measures, and the more traditional provocations that educators face, it is easy to conclude how overwhelming it is for educators to find a starting place and begin developing a plan to aid in tackling each of these challenges. How do you know where your students are academically? When should you assess? What exactly is acceleration, and how can you use it in your classroom?

Today, I am talking with Christy Schwartz to discuss the answers to these questions and more regarding the importance of student acceleration in the classroom.

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Episode 22: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Communication

We navigate our world through communication. Our lives are largely impacted by our ability to effectively communicate with others both locally and globally. With advancements in technology, we find ourselves redefining and refining what it means to effectively communicate. With a heavy emphasis on communication world-wide, effective communication skills are even more important for our students to develop now than ever before.

Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are going to conclude our four-part miniseries on 21st-century skills by taking a close look at communication and how educators can help to develop effective communication skills in the classroom.

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Episode 21: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Creativity

The world around us is currently enveloped in innovation. Everyday modern technologies, medical advancements, and improvements are being developed at a rapid pace. The individuals behind these innovations are undoubtedly creative likely because they were taught and actively encouraged to approach problems with their different perspectives How can educators ensure that they are helping their students develop this creative mindset?

Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are joined with Lene Jensby Lange, an educational consultant from Denmark, to continue our conversation surrounding 21st-century skills by taking a close look at creativity and how teachers can stimulate creative, innovative thinking in the classroom.

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Episode 20: 21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Collaboration

Currently, our world is grounded in innovation which has created a workforce that is team-oriented. This has made collaboration a desired skill for employers to seek out in potential employees, which in turn makes it a critical skill for our students to develop for the future.

Today, Sara Hutchinson and I are joined with Lene Jensby Lange, an educational consultant from Denmark, to continue our conversation surrounding  21st-century skills by taking a close look at collaboration and how teachers can nurture collaboration in the classroom.

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Episode 19:  21st Century Skills: A Close Look at Critical Thinking

In recent years, our workforce has changed at a rapid pace. To adapt to these changes, the world has realized that our students need to be prepared for the careers of tomorrow. The focus in education has adapted to reflect this realization and out of this the 21st Century Skills were identified. What exactly are these skills? What makes them so crucial for future careers? How can we address these skills within a COVID-conscious learning environment?

Today, I am talking with Sara Hutchinson, the K-5 English Language Arts Coordinator in the Office of Early and Elementary Learning at the West Virginia Department of Education, to discuss these questions regarding 21st Century Skills and to begin examining the 21st Century Skills that are known as the 4 C’s

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Episode 18:  Interview with John Lydon

Cultural responsiveness is a critical component to achieving educational equity and it is easily left out of many conversations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges faced by marginalized students have intensified, making it even more prudent to address this inequity now. Developing cultural awareness is the first step that we can take to ensure that we are providing all students with challenging and empowering learning experiences in this ever-changing landscape.

Today, Brittany Fike and I sit down with John Lydon, Director of Academics at Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago, to continue our discussion on equity and culturally responsive education.

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Episode 17: Contrasting Realities: Culturally Responsive Education During School Re-entry

Right now, our world is full of contrasting realities and those differences will be evident in classrooms across West Virginia this fall. In order to improve the way in which we do “school” and to counterbalance these vastly different realities, educators can begin building their knowledge base about the educational inequities that students face. Today, Brittany Fike and I have a conversation centered around culturally responsive education and what educators can do to address educational inequities.

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Episode 14: Interview with Dawn Miller

Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful practices that both educators and parents have to increase children’s vocabulary and knowledge about the world. Today, I sit down with Read Aloud West Virginia’s Executive Director, Dawn Miller, to discuss how this organization is spreading the practice, power and magic of interactive read alouds across West Virginia.

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Episode 13: Interview with Kelly Bryant and Mimi Browning

Remote learning is something that most educators have limited knowledge and experience in navigating, but something almost all educators are learning to navigate during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This episode follows the remote teaching and learning journey of two inspirational teachers, Kelly Bryant and Mimi Browning, from Logan County.

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Episode 12: The Power of Interactive Read-Alouds

Classroom “read alouds” have traditionally been part of the elementary classroom for a very long time. However, the way in which we read aloud to children has evolved into an interactive process with the power to increasingly enrich children’s literacy skills. Today, I am talking with my colleague, Christy Schwartz, about what interactive read-alouds are and the power they have to develop children’s literacy skills both in and out of the classroom.

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Episode 11: Interview with Anna Rowe

Today, Brittany Fike and I sit down with childhood trauma expert and trainer, Anna Rowe. Anna’s experience both professionally and personally on childhood trauma gives her a unique perspective of this crucial topic that impacts so many children.

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Episode 10: Interview with Amber Nichols

Remote learning is something that most educators have limited knowledge and experience in navigating, but something all educators are learning to navigate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, I sit down with Amber Nichols to discuss the remote teaching and learning journey that she has been on over the last month.?

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Episode 9: Childhood Trauma – Unlocking the Door to Learning

Childhood trauma impacts more students every year. But what is childhood trauma? What events cause trauma? How can educators become trauma-informed?

Today I am talking with State Early Literacy Specialist, Brittany Fike, about childhood trauma and the initial steps that educators can take to create trauma-informed classrooms.

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Episode 7: Interview with Kelcie Blankenship and Claire McCoy

Remote learning is uncharted territory for most public educators, but it is a topic almost all educators are learning to navigate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, I sit down with Kelcie Blankenship and Claire McCoy about their journey in providing instruction remotely.

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Episode 6: The Power of Self-Talk

Self-talk is a powerful life skill that adults use to help them get through challenging situations and that it is typically developed through many years of experience. Is there a way that we can speed up this process and help students develop this vital life skill in our classrooms?
Today, I sit down with Maggie Luma, the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading State Lead and Coordinator at the West Virginia Department of Education, to discuss how self-talk can be easily adapted to fit into any classroom.

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Episode 1: Our Most Precious Investment

Being a leader of literacy involves so much more than helping children learn to read. So, what exactly does it involve?  Join us as we discuss the WV Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the four crucial components for developing a solid literacy foundation, and our efforts to help every community in West Virginia develop as leaders of literacy.

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Browse past episodes by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading category:

School Readiness

Attendance

Extended Learning

High-Quality Instruction

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