The Chalk Blog

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

Late Homework [VIDEO]

Are you experiencing difficulties with students turning assignments in late? Do you want to help them succeed by allowing late assignments, but feel overwhelmed when they all submit them at the end of a grading period? Well then we have the perfect video blog for you! Check out Dawn's helpful tips on keeping you AND your students on track with late homework.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Video, Teaching Advice

The Best Teachers I Ever Had

Teaching from the Heart

This blog post comes to us from our sister company, iteachiteach is the leading educator preparation partner, offering rigorous, research-based online training with the support of face-to-face mentorship. It was originally published on their blog on March 13, 2018.

For me, school didn’t come easy. I started as a four year old in first grade. My parents were going through a divorce and my mom told the school I was five years old and started me early. I was big for four, as big or bigger than most five year olds, but obviously a year of growing makes a big difference. I was too young to remember most of that year, but what I do remember is my first grade teacher requiring me to stay in during recess and practice my ABC’s. This was tough. I wanted to be outside, what little four year old boy wants to be practicing penmanship? But it was good for me and I quickly caught up to the rest of the class.

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

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. www.edutopia.org ) 

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

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! 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

How to Have a Successful Open House - Dos and Don’ts

Have the back to school nightmares started yet?  They’ll come.  They always do this time of year.  All teachers seem to suffer the same fate in August-- sleepless nights worried about misplaced lesson plans, a classroom full of students and not enough student desks, or alarm clocks that don’t go off on the first day of school.  Those nightmares are a cruel indicator that summer is over and the new school year is right around the corner. 

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, Teaching Advice, Parents

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!

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Topics: Parents, Teaching Advice

10 Fun Questions to Increase Self-Awareness & Avoid Teacher Burnout

As we know, teacher burnout is prevalent among educators. I could list a dozen statistics to support that statement, but I tend to be a problem solver. For me, the questions really become: How do we solve this problem? Prevent it? Recover from it? Here’s the answer: We must build resilience in our teacher selves.  

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, Teaching Advice

Planning Your Year in 3 Days... or Less!

Why Putting off Your Lesson Planning all Summer is OK

It’s almost time for another school year to begin! As I reflect on this transition from summer to fall, I have a confession to make. Every June, I’d head off for summer break with a bucket list a mile long —  adventures to inspire me, self-care routines to re-energize me, curriculum preparation and planning to make each year better than the last. But I’ll be honest, very seldom did I accomplish everything I set out to do, especially anything related to work. More often than not, August would arrive with a mix of panic and exhilaration, and I’d find myself pushed to complete three months’ worth of planning in three weeks (or three days, if I was having way too much fun!). Can you relate? If so, read on to learn a few tips to make the most of your remaining summer planning time!

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

Classroom Organization on Student Anxiety Levels

Do you or your students feel as though you have no where to escape to inside of the classroom? Like there are people everywhere and you can't get a second to yourself? An unorganized classroom environment can create anxious students. It's a good thing Keely is here to tell us all about how our classrooms can benefit from having 'Calm Boxes' personally designed to match each students' needs!

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Topics: Video, Teaching Advice, Social Emotional Learning

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