The Chalk Blog

Ten Ways You Can Increase Your Resilience to Avoid Teacher Burnout

Teacher burnout is an epidemicEducators are asked to do more with less. Paperwork, student discipline, high stakes assessment, standards…the list goes on and on.  

The statistics on teacher burnout are scary, especially if you are fresh out of college with a teaching degree and hoping to make a positive impact one student at a time. More than 41% of teachers leave the profession in the first five years. This is not surprising when 48% of teachers say they are regularly under great stress. Sadly, 55% of teachers indicate their morale is low or very low. These numbers are disturbing given the fact that many people choose the field of education for very altruistic reasons. 

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Topics: Teaching Inspiration

Integrating Literacy Strategies in the Mathematics Classroom

Literacy and Math Unite! 

As far back as I can remember, literacy has been a love of mine. I have fond memories of curling up on my grandma’s lap,engaged in picture books, then later independently reading every book of The Babysitter’s Club and Boxcar Childrenseries. Throughout my educational experiences, I have grown to become a skilled and confident teacher in the areas of reading and writing. Math, on the other hand, has been more challenging and less enjoyable for me, as well as forseveral of my students.  

Determined to be a more effective math teacher for my students with special needs, I began to explore literacy strategies for math. The research I found regarding the benefits, including increased levels of student engagement, supported my decision to introduce mathematical concepts with popular children’s books.  

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Literacy

Useful Email Tips for Effective Teacher-Parent Communication

Recently I had the opportunity to share some of my favorite highlights in our new communications course here at Learners Edge: Course 5037:Stronger School Communities Through Improved Communication. Today, I’d like to tackle a specific teacher-parent communication challengeparent emails. Up to 90% of communication is nonverbal, so just imagine how much we don’t ‘see’ when we open up our inbox! Often, anything other than the most basic message is lost in an email. These potential misunderstandings can have a big impact on teacher-parent relationships, so it’s important that we spend time developing our email skills to build and maintain positive connections with families. 

Here is a quick checklist of ideas for writing emails that will help you improve clarity and develop trust with parents. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you’re going through your inbox—and see what an impact a few small changes have! 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Tried & True Strategies for Getting to Know Your Students

August sneaks into our summer flow and suddenly those pesky reality reminders start to infiltrate daily thoughts. The lists that circulate inside our barely semi-rested brains are long with “to-do priorities” that can scare us right out of our teacher minds. 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

How to Use Graphic Organizers With Your Students [VIDEO]

Graphic Organizers are a fantastic, researched based tool to help students solidify academic knowledge, solve problems, or plan work. This video blog will give you some ideas on using graphic organizers with students.

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Topics: Teaching Inspiration, Special Populations

August Amazing Teacher Spotlight

Back in April, Learners Edge announced our first ever, Amazing Teacher Contest and we were overwhelmed with the nominations we received. Collectively, the nominations captured the essence of what makes a good teacher a great one — creative classroom teaching; connection with students for whom an exceptional adult role model makes all the difference; and an uncanny ability to push students beyond what they think is possible. Because of these fantastic nominations, Learners Edge will profile inspiring teachers throughout the year - teachers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in unique and exceptional ways.

One such Amazing Teaching Contest nomination was Katie Settimio. Katie is an 8th grade Math teacher in Ohio. Read below to learn more about Katie and the strong bond she forms with her students to help make a difference in their lives.

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Topics: Learners Edge News

How to Improve Communication Skills

“I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again. Simple, honest, human conversation. Not mediation, negotiation, problem-solving, debate, or public meetings. Simple, truthful conversations where each have a chance to speak, we each feel heard, and we each listen well.” --Margaret Wheatley 

We all know the joy of a good conversation. We walk away from these experiences thinking to ourselves, “she knew just what to say to make me feel better,” “I feel so inspired and energized,” “we could talk for hours!” Most of us also know the disappointment when conversations don’t go well. We wonder where it went wrong or how we could have shared our thoughts with each other more productively. There is no doubt that communication plays a vital role in life. It is not only essential to sharing information and knowledge, but it also helps people to develop trust, respect, and connections with others. I believe much of our happiness and sorrow comes from our ability, or inability, to communicate and connect with others in meaningful ways.  

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Topics: Teaching Excellence

How to use a Word Wall in your Classroom [VIDEO]

A Word Wall is a great, easy visual for your youngest readers. This tool aids with reading and writing in any content area—check out this video and learn how to incorporate this literacy strategy in your classroom!

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Topics: Literacy

How to Have Effective Communication with Parents

Former diplomat, Barbara M. White once said, “Building trust is a process. Trust results from consistent and predictable interactions over time.” This is a statement that we must keep in mind as we interact and converse with the parents and guardians of our students. Effective communications with parents are dependent, in part, on the level of trust between teachers and parents. If you have developed trust with parents, the information you give them will be taken at face value. If no trust exists, parents may put every statement you make “under the microscope.” If you want to have exceptional conversations to improve the teamwork between home and school, consider building trust first with your students’ parents and guardians.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

How to Support Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

 I am the mom of a toddler, a typical toddler who has his share of tantrums and meltdowns (sometimes in public, sometimes at home). Although his receptive language skills are strong, his expressive language skills are still developing, causing frustration when trying to communicate his wants, needs, and feelings, hence the tantrums. When I can figure out what he is trying to tell me, we can work together to solve the problem. Determining the reasons (or functions) behind his behaviors is known as functional behavioral assessment. 

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