The Chalk Blog

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

Teaching Replacement Behaviors

Saving time and energy with proactive teaching strategies!

“We can’t hold kids accountable for things we’ve never told them we expect. Behavior should be treated like academics. Students have to be taught the skills they need.” Erin Green, Director of National Services Operations at Boys Town, had this right!

As a former teacher of students with emotional and/or behavioral challenges, I found myself spending much of my time creating functional behavior assessments and behavior support plans, writing individualized education plans, collecting data, developing reinforcement programs and intervening in behavioral crisis. Far less of my time was spent actually teaching! And rarely did I proactively teach replacement behaviors. Can anyone relate?

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, 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

Accommodations, Modifications, and Interventions [VIDEO]

Keeping Up With Educational Jargon

There is so much educational jargon to keep up with these days, and oftentimes it's hard to remember it all. In this video blog, Keely does an excellent job of explaining, and giving examples, on how to use the words 'accommodation,' 'modification,' and 'intervention.' Review these words and the appropriate uses for them here!

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Topics: Video, Literacy, Special Populations

Creating an Inclusive Classroom: Working with Exceptional Learners 

Today’s classrooms include students with disabilities, English Language Learners, gifted students, as well as other exceptionalities. Teachers need to be well-equipped with knowledge and evidence-based instructional practices to successfully support the needs (and strengths) of all learners.

Book editors, Wendy Murawski and Kathy Scott compiled and shared valuable expertise from leaders in the field of education in their book, What Really Works with Exceptional Learners. Here a sampling of some of the most helpful dos and don’ts when working with students with special needs and other exceptionalities.

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Topics: Special Populations

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

Task Boxes for Students with Special Needs [VIDEO]


Task boxes are an excellent tool to use with students with mild to severe disabilities who are working on transition skills for home or work. Additionally, task boxes can increase independence as the teacher or assistant can begin to fade prompting and cueing as the student develops the skills needed to complete the task.

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Topics: Video, Special Populations

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: Special Populations, Video

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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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

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