The Chalk Blog

Susanne Leslie

Susanne Leslie, is the Lead Curriculum & Staff Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Susanne worked as a parent educator in Minnesota's Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program and worked with parents of 0-5 year olds. Susanne is the proud parent of two daughters.

Recent Posts

Learners Edge Launches New Continuing Education Course: Growing Gifts

Course 5066: Growing Gifts: Stories, Supports and Strategies in Gifted Education 

Everyone likes a good story. 

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers by Judith Galbraith and Jim Delisle, is filled with stories to help the reader understand how it feels to be identified and labeled “gifted.” 

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Topics: Social Emotional Learning, Special Populations

Achieving Success with English Language Learners

This blog was originally published on November 6th, 2015, but it was so well received we wanted to share it again! We also added our Top Three Tips when working with students who are ELL.

As teachers we are constantly trying to improve ourselves, our teaching strategies, and our ways of interacting with each unique student. Learning is difficult in itself, but a language barrier makes things more complex. Below are 3 tips from Learners Edge about how to work with ELL students, along with some additional suggestions from Jennifer Marks, a teacher from Northborough, MA , who took Course 842: Achieving Success with English Language Learners.

Tip 1: Learn the culture. 

On a recent trip overseas, I was delighted to sit down with a group of people who had emigrated from Africa to Norway. In talking about what leaving their country was like (they all spoke Arabic, Norwegian, and English)—they shared how helpful it was when teachers learned about their native culture. Understanding just some of the cultural norms helped the teacher, the students, and those who had emigrated transition to a new culture in a way that felt respectful and supportive. When teachers try their best to pronounce names or to honor cultural norms (i.e. food restrictions, social mores) it helps to alleviate micro-aggressions which can feel hurtful to those who are new. 

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, diversity, Special Populations

NEW Course Alert: 5057: Move, Grow, Play!

Using Play to Teach and Learn

When traveling, I find it captivating to learn how different cultures educate their children. While in Germany, I observed school kids carrying canvas bags with the phrase “spielend lernen” printed above a colorful picture. Because I don’t read German, I asked my friend to translate: 

“Play to learn.” 

Play to learn is the message author Lisa Murphy, in her book, Play: The Foundation of Children’s Learning, encourages us to embrace, recognize and understand, and it is the book you will receive when you register for our energizing new course 5057: Move, Grow, Play! Using Play to Teach and Learn. 

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Topics: Social Emotional Learning, Instructional Strategies, Teaching Advice

Engaging Families and Communities in Students' Education

Student success is a shared interest of both school and family.” 

Research informs us that students whose parents [and communities] are involved in their education are more likely to: 

  • Adapt well to school 
  • Attend school regularly 
  • Complete homework 
  • Earn better grades 
  • Have better test scores 
  • Graduate and go to college 
  • Have good social skills 
  • Demonstrate positive behaviors 
  • Have better relationships with their parents 
  • Have higher self-esteem 

*Bonus: parents who are involved in their children’s education at a young age are more likely to stay involved with their children’s education as they grow 

(*Adapted from “The Importance of Community Involvement in Schools” by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Retrieved 8/2/18. ) 

So, how can teachers engage and involve families and communities in students’ education?

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teaching Advice, Instructional Strategies

Happy Mother's Day!

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Topics: Learners Edge News

Teaching Self-Compassion and Self-Confidence

My friend, Anne, is a second grade teacher.
Anne and I became friends at our gym, and we always take the time to catch up when we see each other. Last week, I asked Anne how the school year was going, and she responded, “Today, teaching was like having a birthday party for 28 seven-year-olds…six times in a row.”
No wonder she sleeps in on Saturdays.

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Topics: Teaching Excellence

On-Site Continuing Education Courses Are Coming!

Do you remember learning about Paul Revere’s ride warning the Patriots “the British are coming, the British are coming!”?

Well, get ready, because…
On-sites are coming! On-sites are coming!
You don’t need a horse, but saddle up for a wild ride!

Here are the details:

Learners Edge will be offering 8 on-site courses, including 3 new courses, this summer in Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the river from Omaha!) led by our fabulous veteran instructor, Lance Raabe.

Registration opens March 21, 2018. 

Join fellow teachers and Learners Edge for 2018 On-Site Courses in Council Bluffs, IA. These continuing education graduate credit courses will inspire you!

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Topics: Learners Edge News

Caring for the Mental Health of Students [VIDEO]

Suicide is a difficult topic. Did you know that by talking about suicide, you actually help decrease its likelihood? To learn more about suicide prevention, join us for this short video blog, where you will learn how to increase suicide awareness, and ways to help students who may be struggling with mental illness. 

Please share the suicide lifeline number with your students: 1-800-273-TALK.

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Topics: Special Populations, Video

Reaching At-Risk Students: The New Tools for Students with Challenging Behaviors


Half of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and students with challenging behavior are one of the reasons why.

As educators, we don’t want another trend, or quick fix. We want to understand why our students are experiencing social-emotional-behavioral challenges, and what we can do to help them.  

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Topics: Special Populations

Mental Health Warning Signs. Caring for the Mental Health of Your Students

Everyone has mental health.

Everyday, we are reminded that our physical health is essential to our well-being. But, it is important that we recognize how our mental health, and that of our students, affects our well-being, too! Did you know that one in five children between the ages of 13-18, have, or will have, a serious mental illness?1 As teachers, how can we determine if a student is struggling with a mental health issue? Check out our list of 10 mental health warning signs:

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Topics: Special Populations

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!

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