The Chalk Blog

Barb Istas

Recent Posts

Teachers and Books - Read ‘Em and Reap!

Great "curl-up-next-to-the-fireplace" book ideas

Hey, topnotch teachers! Whatcha reading on the sidelines these days? Reading for pleasure in my free time? What’s free time anyway? Is there such a thing -  and if so, why don’t I have some?  

Research tells us we must offer students choice for independent reading and teach them self-selection skills so they’re able to find and finish books they love and learn from. But, that’s a whole other course 5040: Increasing Comprehension with Close Reading in Your Classroom - or two 5009: Reading Instruction for the Head and Heart.

This blog post is really for you, teachers. Educators trying to practice what they preach will read books for both pleasure and learning. So, what are you reading right now?  Besides the read aloud or novel you are teaching or re-teaching, what are you reading for your own enjoyment or benefit? 

Read More

Topics: Literacy, Teaching Excellence

Refresh with Walk & Talks [VIDEO]

Sparking Student Engagement

A lull in learning is never fun - refresh your students with this movement activity! Even though November can be a bit chilly in some states, especially Minnesota where Learners Edge is located, you can still find ways to incorporate the walk and talk. Perhaps taking a walk through the halls of your school or a lap around the gym will be just enough movement to spark student engagement! 

Read More

Topics: Video, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Instructional Strategies

Practice Writing with Daily Pages [VIDEO]

Building Writing Confidence in Your Students

Are you struggling to get students to write with confidence? Maybe they need an extra boost! Check out these awesome tips from our Curriculum and Instruction team member, Barb. She'll convince you to try Daily Pages in less than 2 minutes...

Read More

Topics: Video, Educator Coaching, Teaching Excellence

How to Get the Most Out of Professional Development Days

3 cheers for PD days - precious time to build your teaching toolkit!

At Learners Edge, my team is full of professional development super fans. Granted, it’s our job - but we do consider ourselves lucky to actually believe in what we practice and preach. We’re also tuned-in to teaching enough to know that professional development (PD) opportunities are usually viewed from one of two lenses: 

  1. Love it.
  2. Hate it. 

PD is a necessary opportunity to focus on your instructional practice and consider new ideas for implementation. With the goal of supporting students and yourself, every educator has a million outcomes to meet!  It’s daunting, to say the least, but PD can be the key. So instead of preaching to the choir - I say we lift up the naysayers and the PD pessimists, to see if we can encourage a slight shift in mindset for the next round of required learning. And in order to truly reach the intended audience, I’ll keep it short and sweet!  Here are some insights on how to make the most of your next PD Day!

Read More

Topics: "personalized professional development", educator wellness, Teaching Excellence

How to Make a Parent Phone Call

The parent phone call can often be a scary and intimidating situation for even the most experienced teacher. Below is a sample script designed to help make the most of the precious few minutes you have on the phone with parents, covering key concerns and communicating effectively.

Read More

Topics: Teaching Excellence, educator wellness, Parents

Substitute Teachers aka Super Subs to the Rescue

Whom do we turn to when we’re called out of the classroom? When the flu attacks or someone in our family needs us near, whom do we call to cover our teaching responsibilities?  When we’re lucky enough to attend a professional training or workshop, how do we keep our daily instruction on pace?  We call a substitute teacher, a super-sub, of course!   

Read More

Topics: Substitute Teachers, Teaching Excellence

Nonverbal Communication in the Classroom

What You Don't Say Makes a Difference

As a Learners Edge Curriculum & Instruction Specialist, I’m constantly prompted to reflect on my classroom teaching career. And, I’m very happy to report, the low moments fade from memory and you get to keep the joy and carry it with you forever. How great is that? 

One of my most powerful teaching and learning memories is from a two-day workshop I attended on nonverbal communication in the classroom. I believe it’s true - when the student is ready, the teacher appears! This learning opportunity transformed my teaching. I shared my learning with colleagues and mentees over the years - whenever I had the chance. Today, if I could look you in the eye, stand by your side, and nod my head, you would feel the positive energy I still feel toward nonverbal communication! 

Read More

Topics: Teaching Advice

Creating Parent Connections

Introductions Matter

Relationships are built on communication and start with a warm and welcoming “Hello!” Classroom teachers have a special responsibility to build positive working relationships with parents, guardians, and families of each student on their roster. Research proves the power of first impressions and common sense supports the importance of this teaching and learning goal. However you choose to send out that first greeting -  with intention and a little bit of effort, it will pay off - for students, families, and you, the teacher!

Read More

Topics: Parents, Teaching Advice

Avoiding August Anxiety

How to Avoid Letting Anxiety Get the Best of You!

It’s August, teachers. These three words summon fear of future school days ahead for many educators. Dreams of teaching duties interrupt summer slumber. For countless rational (and irrational) reasons, this third month of summer rings a familiar bell that often rolls out the red carpet for August anxiety. Ugh. Sigh. Panic and despair. Educators are becoming well-trained to identify and intervene with student anxiety, but unfortunately anxiety targets teachers, too.    

Let’s take a breath together and consider these questions:  How does anxiety meet and greet you every August? What can you do to avoid August anxiety? 

Read More

Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, anxiety

STEM, Middle School, and Girl Power: An Interview with Ms. Lauren Wester

 

Anyone who’s ever worked in a middle school or raised an adolescent, will nod and smile when Lauren Wester says her middle school-age students make her laugh every day. “There isn't a day that goes by without a student saying or doing something that cracks me up,” she claims, adding, “I also feel like they are in this magical in between; their brains are developed enough to understand jokes or sarcasm, but still open to and reliant upon adult help. It feels like I’m truly helping shape them.” 

Ms. Wester teaches 7th grade life science and 9th grade forensic science in a large suburban school district. Her teaching targets range from fun and focused learning to serious life skills that reach beyond the classroom out into the community and global society. 

Read More

Topics: STEAM/STEM, Gender Differences

Learners Edge is passionately committed to providing you with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help you succeed in your classroom and in your career.

Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!

Request a Personalized Course Recommendation

 

Recommended Posts

Insights...

from Great Teachers

At Learners Edge, we strive to bring you applicable, relevant advice and strategies that you can implement in your classroom right away. We use The Chalk Blog to share teacher advice that may be helpful to you and to highlight some of the exceptional coursework

Enter your email below to have these strategies & ideas delivered right to your inbox.

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Recent Posts