The Chalk Blog

Grasp and Grip [VIDEO]

Simple ways to increase classroom play

Skills that should be "simple" have slowly become lost in the shuffle of technology. As teachers, it's important to incorporate activities in your classroom that allow students to work on their grasp and grip. Susie, one of our Curriculum & Instruction team members, is here to give you some quick ideas!

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Topics: Video, Teaching Excellence, Instructional Strategies

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

Getting Students to Write [VIDEO]

Fun prompts to get your class engaged!

Creating writing prompts is easy. Creating FUN writing prompts to boost student engagement... now that's a tricky one! Dawn from our Learners Edge Curriculum and Instruction team is here to give you some fresh ideas on how to get your students to write. 

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Topics: Video, Teaching Excellence, Instructional Strategies

Organizing Class Book Sets [VIDEO]

How to keep class book sets intact

Teaching every student how to keep their paperback books intact throughout the year can be a very difficult task. Keely from Learners Edge is here with three simple suggestions that you can implement in your class!

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Topics: Video, Educator Coaching, Teaching Excellence

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? 

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Topics: Literacy, Teaching Excellence

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

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...

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Topics: Video, Educator Coaching, Teaching Excellence

Video Reflection [VIDEO]

What is micro-teaching?

When it comes to reflecting on a video recording of yourself, you are your own worst critic. While this is a challenging technique, it can truly help you improve your instruction in the classroom. Watch this video blog by Keely to learn the best ways to implement micro-teaching in your practice.

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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!

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

Tch Tips: Four Ways to Communicate with Families

 Communication is Key!

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Tchers' Voice Blog at our sister company, Teaching Channel.

Depending on when your school year started, you’ve probably made it through the initial sprint of setting up routines, establishing the foundation for your class culture, and everything in between. Now as you move into the fall, it’s time to evaluate and refine your communication with families.

  • How are you letting them know about your classroom’s activities?
  • How are they learning about the progress of their children?
  • How are you getting families involved?

Check out these four tips for communicating with your students’ families throughout the school year.

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, educator wellness, Parents

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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