The Chalk Blog

5 Reasons Why I'm Grateful for my Masters Degree

A Thank You Letter to My Master of Arts in Education

Dear My Very Own Master of Arts in Education (MAEd),

I am writing to thank you for your impact on my career and personal life. When I decided to sign up for you, I was a second-year teacher with a newborn baby. I was overwhelmed and trying to quickly learn my two new roles in life (special educator and mom). It was crazy town! At that time, the VERY LAST thing I was thinking about was continuing my education. MAEd, I had no idea I needed you, but I did! Because I am thankful for you, I would like to share how you’ve changed my life!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Masters Degree

How to be "Folks"

Everybody Needs Somebody.

“Jolly came home bleeding and she doesn’t have folks.
‘Nobody doesn’t have folks,’ I said.
‘I’m Nobody, then,’ she said, ’‘Cause I don’t.’ Her whole face was scraped like it had a grater taken to it, like it was cheese.”

-Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

In Make Lemonade, 14-year-old LaVaughn takes a job as a babysitter for 17-year-old Jolly, who has lived in foster care her whole life, and has two children from fathers who are not in the picture. As the story goes on, it’s clear that Jolly doesn’t really know how to do life – manage money, raise healthy children, even hold a job – because she has never really had what she calls “folks”: people who took a vested interest in showing her how to do things. LaVaughn helps Jolly to navigate through some of her issues and shows her resources to help her get on her feet, and to find resources for her to learn more about how to access a good life for her children and herself.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Social Emotional Learning

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! 

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Topics: Video, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Instructional Strategies

How Do I Discuss Politics in the Classroom?

Engaging Students in a Respectful Manner

As we near the 2018 midterm elections, it’s hard not to feel that the United States is intensely divided on political topics across the spectrum, and unfortunately, those divisions can play out in our classrooms. So the question many teachers may be asking themselves is: do I allow a space for my students to discuss the elections, or politics in general, in class?

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

Halloween Trivia for the Staff Lounge

Q: What is Samhainophobia?

Halloween comes with its own challenges and can cause educators STRESS! Harvest party planning. No time to bake your favorite pumpkin bars. Do we celebrate Halloween or don’t we? Organizing parent volunteers. Taking your own children Trick or Treating. Extremely hyper students one day, overly tired students the next. UGH!

But never fear, Learners Edge is here! We’ve developed this fun trivia game just for you.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Holidays

Using Personalized Learning to Increase Intrinsic Motivation

Let me ask you a few questions…How motivated would you be to learn a new skill your supervisor demanded you learn? Would your motivation level be high or low if the skill you needed to learn was of no interest to you? What would you think if your supervisor could not provide a reason for you to learn the skill? Would you be motivated if you had to learn the skill the exact way your supervisor learns best?  

These situations occur daily in our schools! Teachers are told what to teach and how to teach it, and then students are told what to learn and how to learn it.  

What if I told you there is another way to teach and learn that can increase intrinsic motivation? 

You want to keep reading, don’t you?! I believe personalized learning increases intrinsic motivation, but by all means, you decide… 

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Topics: Personalized Continuing Ed, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

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

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

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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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