The Chalk Blog

Dawn Butler

Dawn Butler is the Lead Course Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Dawn was a high school English teacher for 11 years. In her free time, she can be found wrangling her 6 year old son, 3 year old daughter, 2 cats, and a dog. Her parents were teachers, her husband is a SPED teacher, and her parents-in-law are teachers, which really helps Dawn to continue to foster her passion for education as she works to offer the best possible courses at the Edge!
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Recent Posts

Power Up With Google Chrome Extensions

If you have ever had the choice between something “basic” and….”tricked out,” you know the latter had more bells and whistles, the abilities to do more, resulting in an enhanced experience. For the purpose of this writing, the “basic” is the shiny new Chromebook as it arrived from the factory. Chrome Extensions add to the browser on a Chromebook to enhance your online navigation and personalize your experience!  

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Topics: Technology, Digital Resources

Children & Screen Time

I’m one of many parents who, during this “new normal,” has children (ages 9 and 6) who currently interact with their screens more than with each other or their parents. My husband and I have full time jobs, so distraction doesn’t bode well while we are working at home. We’re also former educators, so we know enough of the science and recommendations around “screen time” to understand what is happening with our kids. 

And we don’t like it one bit. 

If you are reading this, you might be in our frustrating position, and like us, you may have just needed to bite the bullet and free the children to go into the abyss of screen time and the Internet. To soften the blow, allow me to share a few insights I’ve learned over the years about the idea of “screen time.” 

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Topics: Technology, Student Brain Development

10 Digital Resources for Teachers

Greetings from your Learners Edge Curriculum and Instruction Team! 

We’ve been scouring the web to find relevant and meaningful resources teachers can use to interact and connect with students. 

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Topics: Technology, Distance Learning, Digital Resources

Supporting Kids During an Anxiety-Filled Time

A few weeks ago, my kids (9 and 6) looked at us like we had lobsters coming out of our ears as we explained what “isolation” meant. They are largely compliant when we say that things are required, and especially so when we let them know it’s beyond our control. They still had questions. 

“Ok, so what’s for dinner?” 

“Can I have a playdate with my friend?” 

“Can we buy a flamethrower?” 

We weren’t THAT clear, I guess…or it’s just such an abstract concept that they can’t attach it to something they understand. 

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Topics: anxiety, Distance Learning

COVID Creativity

Your calendar has been cleared for the foreseeable future. You can’t come within 6 ft of any human. It has taken every bit of effort you have to get out of your jammies today. Your state has cancelled summer as you know it. I joked with my Learners Edge colleagues, who are also parents, that we would need to watch Little House on the Prairie reruns to find ways for our kids to have fun in the face of no organized group activities. You find yourself staring at your children as they utter the unconscionable words…”we’re bored.” (sigh)

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Topics: Student Brain Development, COVID-19

Earth Day Celebrates 50 Years

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970: 

  • 10% of the U.S. population took to the streets to mobilize and protest “environmental ignorance.” 
  • the environmental movement was launched, resulting in the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act 

Now, at the age of 50, the Earth Day Planning Committee is preparing for campaigns that “will activate over a billion people” worldwide.  

There’s never been a more dire reason to participate. Evidence of climate changes are evident around the world. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently stated that their Doomsday Clock, which has assessed threats to humanity and the planet since 1947, is closer to the end (their version of apocalypse) than ever. Species continue to go extinct rapidly, and changes in weather  (which affects everything else) are alarming. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Holidays

Writing Great Poems Anytime, Anywhere

April is National Poetry Month, so I wrote you a limerick! 

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Topics: Literacy, COVID-19, Distance Learning

8 Tips for Video Chats in the New Normal

Our children have been looking pretty zombie-ish over the last few weeks, so my husband and I set up a video chat with a friend for each of them and stepped back to watch. Our kids’ mood quickly became animated as they ran around laughing and giggling with their friends. They shared what they were eating, their destroyed rooms, and made unseemly noises at one another trying to make each other laugh with – let’s call it “juvenile humor.” They had a blast. 

Video conferencing is not a mystery to organizations who have been interacting in this way for years, and it’s second nature for students and teachers in a virtual school setting. However, many of our students are learning for the first time how to interact with one another over video, sprouting a need for some guidelines and etiquette for this new-to-many platform. We can help!

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Topics: Technology, COVID-19, Distance Learning

8 Ways to Share Joy in a Socially Distant Community

There’s enough information about COVID-19 to overwhelm even the strongest of usWhat there’s NOT enough of is the sharing of inspirational ways others are staying connected in this time of social distancing. 

So, while Learners Edge is also trying to provide educational resources to help you as you are working online with students, we also want to lift your spirits. A deliberate search for smiles and laughter in the time of COVID-19 turned up a few gems.

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Topics: Happiness, COVID-19

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

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.

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