The Chalk Blog

6 Strategies for Maintaining Student Engagement During the Holidays

The holiday season is an exciting time for young students. They want to enjoy the upcoming break and the holidays with their friends and family. Unfortunately, it also means they face distractions from their studies. As a teacher, you want to develop student engagement strategies to help them keep up with the last few weeks before their final tests and the start of their break.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Using Positive Reinforcement in the Classroom as a New(er) Teacher

B. F. Skinner, psychologist, behaviorist and author once said, “The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.”

Let’s face it-classroom management and working with students to display good behavior in school is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. Many theories and research-based best practices have come and gone. To add to our challenges, many educators, parents and other professionals often have conflicting opinions about rewards vs. punishment and intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. As a new(er) teacher, you have to formulate your own thoughts and ideas related to the topic, but let me give you a few things to think about!

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Topics: New Teacher

Google Arts & Culture in the Classroom [VIDEO]


Do you ever wish you could take your students to historical sites and museums around the world to show them the beauty of art in person? No, you don't need to win the lottery to take them, you simply need internet access. With Google Arts & Culture, you and your students can experience the best examples of art & culture from around the world without ever having to leave the classroom. Learn how to use this tool in your classroom to expose your students to the greatest art the world has to offer.

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Topics: Video, Technology

6 Favorite Activities for Outdoor Education

Cabin fever, anyone? I bet your students have it! Don't fret, I have a few ideas for you to capitalize on winter and ensure learning at the same time!

Lakeville, MN is the home of Learners Edge and freezing cold winters. Most districts have cold weather closure policies. Winter weather can prove challenging for schools, teachers and students. The largest school district in Minnesota, Anoka-Hennepin, closes school when the wind-chill is below minus 40 degrees or air temperature is below minus 25 degrees. Occasionally, the Governor will close all Minnesota schools. But until those closures occur, we might have students who haven’t been outside for recess for DAYS as they are mandated to stay inside if the temperature drops below zero. These bodies are restless, full of energy and some students may even struggle to regulate their behavior. These factors make learning more difficult.

There will be times, though, when you can get outside with your students. Yes, even in the winter and even in the winter in Minnesota! To get you started, here are my top six favorite ideas for outdoor education in the cold.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Practicing Gratitude in the Classroom

November kicks off the holiday season with high expectations for a cozy and festive time of year. It is a time to share traditions, connect with loved ones, and give thanks. Now is the perfect time to celebrate gratitude with your students and start some classroom traditions to last the whole year! 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Easy Parent Communication with Social Media Tools

5 Tips to Save Time and Stay Connected 

Fact:  Students perform better when parents communicate often with teachers and become involved in school. 

Also a Fact: More than 50% of American internet users are spending time on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. 

There’s no denying it.  Social media is now a necessary tool for staying connected to the world around us, so many teachers are going where the parents are.  It’s much more likely that a parent visits Facebook or Instagram daily, whereas a visit to your class website may only happen once in awhile.  Teachers are increasingly turning to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share class news, special events and photographs of classroom life. Parents are immediately notified about new posts on their mobile devices, increasing the chances that information is viewed and parents become engaged.   

But as teachers with many demands from administrators, students and parents, not to mention our own families, we can find these important methods for communication to be overwhelming and time consuming.  That Facebook post feels like just one more EXTRA thing to do!  So how can teachers minimize the work involved, yet maximize the potential benefits of social media tools?  Keep reading for 5 simple tips for using social media tools in parent-teacher communication. Don't forget to download our free cheat sheet with 25 easy ideas to get you started.   

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Topics: Technology

Happy Thanksgiving from Learners Edge!

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Topics: Learners Edge News

Using Visual Supports for Student Self-Regulation [VIDEO]


Students that struggle to self-regulate need tools to help them do so. Because of their heightened emotions during times of upset, the use of visual supports (instead of verbal redirection) might be helpful. Take a look at two self regulation strategies for students in our video blog below.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Video

Reading List Recommendations from our Team

All Learners Edge courses are written by the Curriculum and Instruction Team. We are former educators who believe in personal and professional development. Each team member enjoys creating content and writing. As you can imagine, our team members are also voracious readers which is good because one of the perks of our job is that we get to read A LOT! We all love to learn and sometimes even read for FUN! 

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Topics: Literacy

Increase Student Engagement with Quote Boards


I’ve been making my students famous for about the last 10 years…..

Strategically placed at the front of my classroom is a gigantic piece of plain, white butcher block paper that is framed with colorful construction paper on all four sides.  It’s an obvious, relevant, and practical participant in my classroom…It is my quote board. 

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Topics: Teaching Advice


from Great Teachers

At Learners Edge, we evaluate completed coursework that great teachers have submitted for their continuing education/professional development.

Often times, teachers knock our socks off with their insightful and meaningful material.

We use The Chalk Blog to highlight some of the coursework we receive and share teacher advice that may be helpful to you.

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