The Chalk Blog

7 *Secret* Google Tools for Teachers

Unlock Google’s treasure trove of tools and apps you never knew existed!

We all know (and love) Google’s suite of apps for education—Gmail, Chrome, Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets—for creation and collaboration within the classroom. These apps have significantly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day learning for millions of students and educators. But did you know that Google has been simultaneously developing tons of other tools behind the scenes that can help students accomplish goals, save time, and think creatively? Check out these 7 “secret” Google tools that are sure to become your new favorites!

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, 21st Century Learning

Why and How to Use Your Walls

Promote Learning Using Every Aspect of the Classroom

I bet you use a variety of methods to increase the likelihood a student will learn the concepts being taught. You might use teachable moments, great books, novel activities, and the occasional dollar store purchase to engage and encourage student interaction with new ideas. But do you use your walls? If you don’t, you should, and here are a few reasons why! 

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Instructional Strategies

Have you met Dr. Brené Brown?

Allow us to Introduce You!

As of March 2019, over 38 million people have watched Dr. Brené Brown’s viral TED Talk on vulnerability. Dr. Brown, a self-described “shame researcher,” and professor at the University of Texas in Houston, shares her life’s research about trauma, shame, courage, and vulnerability and how understanding their impact leads to transformational change.

We know our new course offering The Practice and Power of Vulnerability in the Classroom will disrupt your teacher equilibrium as you learn what vulnerability means for teachers and students, why vulnerability is the casualty of shame, and feedback best practices for students, colleagues, and parents.


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Topics: educator wellness, Courses

Teacher Feature: Carol DeGeorge

Interview with Carol DeGeorge

When we were kids, our minds were blown when we saw teachers outside of school. It was so out of context, but mysteriously cool: we saw them as humans, rather than just as their professional selves. 

To this end, the Learners Edge Chalk Blog interviews teachers in a regular segment called "Teacher Feature!" To hear more about the people behind the magic in the classroom, read on, and be inspired by these fantastic education superstars.


Carol DeGeorge is a Social Studies teacher at Fox Lane High School in Bedford, New York. She earned her BS in Communications and her MS degree in Secondary Education/Social Studies from Iona College.  Carol also holds a Masters in School Administration and will soon be completing her third Master's degree, in Human Resources. She has been teaching for 27 years, including time teaching in Poland and China. In fact, she has traveled to all 7 continents, and has taken students to Ghana, South Africa, the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Russia, and Eastern Europe.

Why did you decide to become a teacher? 

"Not quite sure why I went into teaching, but the reality is that when it comes time to retire, it is not going to be easy. I will miss the kids and the connections I have made with them. I will miss the silliness and fun I have as a teacher."

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher Appreciation

Mother's Day Ideas

Using Instagram for Mother's Day Craft Inspiration

It’s a Mother’s Day tradition for students to create something crafty to celebrate their moms. From the traditional-tried-and-true projects that use pasta or popsicle sticks to the mason jar indoor herb garden trendy, we’ve got you covered!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Holidays

Teachers We'll Never Forget

Past Teachers Who Shaped Our Futures...

My life is full of teachers – parents, in-laws, friends, husband – and I was in the classroom as a trained teacher for 11 years. There’s no end to the sacrifices regularly made by educators and education professionals, and we really should be thanking them year-round. There are many all-consuming professions, but education is one of the unique ones that has the responsibility for other human beings, so it’s pretty difficult to get an educator’s brain to power down and stop thinking about teaching and students. Teachers do it all, and they do it because of their true love of children and learning.  

Below, you can see how my colleagues and I couldn’t wait to talk about the teachers we have loved and appreciated in our educational journeys. Many, many thanks to these teachers, and to teachers everywhere!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher Appreciation

Part 2 of 2: Teacher of the Year! What it's like to win!

Interview with Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Jill Runde 

*Part 2 of 2: A blog series on past Teacher of the Year Winners. Did you miss part one? Click here!*

What do Lunchables, Suave, and a Teacher of the Year award have in common?  

Jill Runde, that’s what. 

With a successful career as a corporate marketer for Oscar Mayer and Helene Curtis on the line, Jill embraced her calling to help kids. Enjoy this interview outlining Jill’s journey from corporate marketer to Teacher of the Year in 2017. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher of the Year

Part 1 of 2: Teacher of the Year! What it's like to win!

Interview with Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Katy Smith 

*Part 1 of 2: A blog series on past Teacher of the Year Winners. Stay tuned as we talk to Jill Runde, 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Award Winner this Friday, May 3rd.*

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Since I’ve been around a while, there are a few “hardest things” from which I could choose, but definitely at the top is having a child. 

I was a new sleep-deprived, lonely, (and even a little scared) mom, when I walked to the mailbox and found a brochure that said “Wanted: BABIES.”  

While reading through the information, I realized they weren’t asking just for babies, they wanted parents, too! I was intrigued—and it was in that moment that I discovered a program called ECFE—Early Childhood Family Education. The program said it was a place where mess-making, play, and discovery were encouraged, a place to connect with other parents in the community, and a place to learn about parenting and to receive support.

Besides the ECFE program itself, I learned about the role of parent educators in the ECFE program. I grew to understand that the role of parent educators was to provide research on parenting, best practices and support to the parents of 0-5 year oldsOne amazing parent educator I met along the way was Katy Smith. Katy won the Teacher of the Year award in 2011 and has created a following through her advocacy for children and families.  

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher of the Year

Four Ways to Help Anxious Students Succeed

A Practical Guide to a Calming Classroom

Anxiety in the classroom is increasing in both students and teachers. This creates an added layer of complexity for educators as we continue to tackle mental health and its impacts. To help you out, we’ve put together a practical guide to creating a calming classroom to decrease anxious feelings and increase wellbeing. Take a look at our Do This/Don’t Do This list on lighting, clutter, visual schedules, and safe spaces. Feel free to share with colleagues! 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Social Emotional Learning, anxiety

Instagram for Teachers

Instagram is the New Pinterest for Teachers


While Pinterest is still a great place to gather ideas for your classroom, Instagram is moving up in the ranks as a new teacher favorite. Just like Pinterest, teachers can take inspiration from real classroom teachers, gather resources and stay on top of what’s new.  Get ready for some educational eye candy, because we’ve rounded up our favorite teacher Instagram pages into one stellar list for you. Prepare to be inspired!

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Topics: Technology, 21st Century Learning

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