The Chalk Blog

Staying Safe, Sheltering in Place, Serving Teachers

Nationwide, we have been practicing social distancing. Located in Minnesota, Learners Edge is following the lead of our governor and soon will be sheltering in place. Businesses considered essential will remain operational. Because we serve teachers, we are one of them.  

Here is our plan: 

Work remotely, support each other, stay positive, serve teachers.  

We continue to be fully operational with the majority of staff working remotely and two staff rotating on-site to mail textbooks from our continuously sanitized book fulfillment area. 

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Topics: Learners Edge News, educator wellness

How to Find Your Calm

Meditating Through Tough Times

“Hi! What’s Your Mantra ?”  

A loaded question, to be sure, considering that my mantra can be different (and occasionally snarky) according to the situation: “Getting cut off in traffic is good for me!” or “Snow is lovely and not at all inconvenient.” And lately the one that I have little choice in:“Keep calm and practice social distancing.” 

Mantras are phrases that are repeated as a form of calming and meditating. This practice aids us in centering ourselves to come back to a pure sense of awareness. It’s so powerful and enticing that retreats and clinics include “mantra” in either their name or their mission statement. Better yet, science has affirmed this practice as a way to help ease the mind, body, and spirit. It can be a word, a syllable, phrase, or just a sound. The less complicated, the better.

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Topics: educator wellness, Self-Care

Online Resources for Teaching English Learners

Tools to Help You Adapt Online Learning for ELs

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Special Populations, English Language Learners

5 Tips for Teaching Special Education Online

"This is no small task!"

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Special Populations

What is COVID-19 and Resources for Helping Our Students and Schools

Perspectives and Plans

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7 Ways to Be a More Culturally Responsive Educator

Bringing Diverse Perspectives Into Your Teaching

On a scale of 1-10, how culturally responsive are you? Maybe you’re just getting started bringing diverse perspectives into your teaching, or maybe you’re well versed in culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices and are working to support others in this work. No matter your place on the journey to responsiveness, there’s no doubt that there’s always room for growth. 

Increasingly, the young people showing up in our classrooms come from a wide variety of lived experiences, linguistic backgrounds, and cultural ways of being. In fact, there are now more children of color than white children in America’s public schools, according to the Pew Research Center. Many educators have begun the work to embrace and celebrate diversity, make individual connections with students and families, evaluate curriculum and materials for relevance and bias, and some have even joined committees to analyze school policies and practices. If this is you, bravo! Becoming a more culturally responsive educator requires not only a change in mindset, but also the acquisition of new skills, and most importantly the desire to continue learning.  


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Topics: Culture and Language, Culturally Responsive Teaching

6 Great Books for Spring Break

Time to Read and Relax!

Teachers! Spring break is just ahead, we promise. In celebration of this momentous occasion, we’d like to offer our reading recommendations for your consideration as you: 

1) Visit the restroom any time you want. 

2) Drink coffee in your PJ’s (all day long if you so choose). 

3) Grade nothing and create zero lesson plans.  

4) Binge watch your favorite shows. 

5) Rest, rejuvenate and relax, oh, and of course read! 


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Topics: Books, Spring Break

5 Indoor Recess Activities

Please. Send. Sunshine.

Here in Minnesota, we are stuck in a vortex of grayyyyy and cold. Whether you’re with us in Minnesota or not, below is a list of five no-sun-need-some-fun inside recess ideas to get you and your students through the last weeks of winter:  

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Early Childhood

This is US.

Celebrating Black History Month, Year-Round

Scrubbing the oatmeal from the blue enamel pot in my kitchen sink, I looked up when I heard, 

“It’s a story we need to tell.  
Not just in February--the coldest and shortest month,
but every day of the year, because this is our story.  
It’s not “us and them, it’s February so we’ll take some time out and do this.” 
It is every single day.  
This is the story of us.  
And, guess what? There’s no “them,” which is what we all try to make up.  
In the U.S., it’s us. Not them.” 

These words are from Ken Burns, the well-known documentarian. He’s discussing his film project, “Baseball,” which tells the story of the Negro Baseball League and baseball great Hank Aaron. Burns uses the film to demonstrate how far we have come, yet how far we still have to go. 

Films, books, movies and experiences teach. Since I have a lot to learn, I decided to watch, read, ask, and attend so I could more fully understand our nation’s history.  

Our history. 

The story of us.  

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Topics: diversity, Black History Month

No More Sick-Day Stress

Swap Your Sub Plans for Digital Student Plans

Writing substitute teacher plans can put teachers into full on panic-mode. Who needs the added stress when you’re already feeling terrible?! Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly put together an easy-to-follow lesson plan for your students in your absence? Rather than trying to cram all of the notes and directions for the sub into a coherent doc, create a step-by-step plan for your students to follow. Instead of sub plans, write student plans! With readily available technology, students can work through your digital lesson independently. The benefits are countless:

  • Create digital plans quickly from home using digital resources.
  • Keep students on track with the scope and sequence of the curriculum. No more busy work or time fillers!
  • Eliminate substitute teacher confusion and misunderstanding.
  • Allow the substitute to simply monitor student work time and focus attention on behavior supervision.
  • Review submitted student work from home to prepare for your return back to work. 
Convinced? Here are 4 great tips for going digital with your "student plans”: 
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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Substitute Teachers

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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