The Chalk Blog

Keely Swartzer

Keely Swartzer is the Director of Professional Development for Learners Edge in Lakeville, Minnesota. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from St. Cloud State University, a Master of Arts in Education from Hamline University and additional Director of Special Education and Principal Licensures from the University of Minnesota. Throughout her career, Keely served students with special needs and subsequently served as a Special Education Coordinator in a suburban Minnesota school district. She teaches as an adjunct instructor at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and has been developing trainings and providing face to face and online professional development for seven years. Professional development is Keely’s passion.

Recent Posts

8 Book Recommendations on Student Behavior

Helping You Put Behavior Puzzle Pieces Together!

Student behavior is a puzzle. Many pieces are necessary to make up the complete, TRUE picture. Does the child have positive connections with staff and other studentsDoes the child need routineCould the child benefit from resilience building? What is developmentally normal? Has the child experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences or traumaWhat is the function of behavior? Does she have a skill deficit? What is his learning style? Is she receiving proper nutrition? Did the child get a good night’s sleep? So many pieces… 

Because behavior is extremely complicated, it is often a daily challenge for educators. For this reason, Learners Edge has put together a list of the best behavior books for teachersThink about what is missing for you to solve the behavior puzzle in your classroom. Then, check out our recommendation based on your needs.  

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Topics: Positive Behavior Supports, Books

Course Sneak Peek

Five Fabulous Skills for Your Students' Lifelong SuccessSocial and emotional learning (SEL) is a “hot,” necessary topic for educators. Learners Edge has a number of courses in this category to help you gain the skills needed on this topic and develop activities for your learners. One of our most popular courses is 5041: Five Fabulous Skills for Your Students' Lifelong Success. This course, affectionately known as “The Fab Five,” provides an overview of SEL and uses it as a jumping off point to further discuss success skills students need. What teacher wouldn’t want students to increase these skills for school and for life!?  

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Topics: Social Emotional Learning, Courses

Fostering Curiosity in Your Students

Strategies for sparking curiosity in the classroom

Curiosity primes the brain for learning. It makes learning more rewarding and helps students learn more, and better. It also improves learning retention and deepens understanding of content. Pretty clear, right? Curiosity is a necessity in our classrooms, and since we are in the business of helping teachers, we thought we would provide you with a list of methods for awakening curiosity in your students.  

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Instructional Strategies

Teacher Feature: August

Interview with Travis Dresch

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.


“Choose to be happy.” This is Travis Dresch’s teaching mantra. Travis is our featured teacher for August! Travis teaches high school chemistry and biology in the Cornwall-Lebanon School District in Pennsylvania. It’s apparent he enjoys science and teenagers which not everyone can say. 

I virtually “met” Travis when he signed up for one of our new courses: 5100: Train Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Practice of HappinessHis choice of courses sense given his mantra! (We thank Travis for his loyalty as this most recent course was only one of EIGHTEEN courses he has taken since 2015. Clearly Travis is also a life-long learner!)  

We asked Travis some serious, and not so serious, questions! Take a look.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher Appreciation

Building a Bridge to Skill Acquisition in Eight Easy Steps

Help Your Students Gain Positive Skills

At its widest point, the Grand Canyon stretches 18 miles (29 kilometers) acrossIt is 6000 feet deepThats more than a mile! Many people consider it to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world. The Grand Canyon is an example of amazing geology where it seems impossible to get from one side (where you are) to the other side (where you want to be). 

A similar canyon exists in classroom management: Challenges with student behavior (where you are)…great student behavior (where you want to be). 

So how do we do it? How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? The answer is simple. We build a bridge. 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Student Brain Development

When Empathy Hurts

Trauma in the Classroom
With the increase of schools and educators using the best practices of trauma-informed teaching, it is important to note that trauma-informed schools should include measures of care for all involved. Working with students who have experienced trauma takes a toll on teachers, support staff, specialists, and administrators in the form of secondary trauma or vicarious trauma.

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Trauma Sensitive Learning

What Teachers Can Learn from Reality TV!

Using real-life experiences to increase student engagement

The Bachelor, Survivor, American Idol, Real World, Deadliest Catch, Shark Tank, Duck Dynasty…the list goes on and on. While these shows often seem like just a teacher’s guilty pleasure, thego beyond encouraging procrastination and providing a reason to eat an entire bag of popcorn in one sitting. These shows are based on reality, and they typically suck us right in!  

What does reality have to do with these shows? Very little when you actually pay attention to the “stars” and the plots clearly sketched out by writers and producers. That being said, reality does have an impact when we are working to engage learners in the classroom. We could take a cue from how these engaging shows are structured. Real-world learning increases engagement, creates opportunities for students to make connections and develops student skills that will be used in adulthood. This authentic learning provides a reason to the student who is always asking, “Why do I even need to know this?” Real world learning activities often allow students to make an impact on a larger scale. And, if this type of learning is done well, it will suck your students in too! 

Here are six methods for bringing the real world into your teaching: 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Student Engagement

Let Your Summer Soul Shine!

Be Your Best YOU This Summer!

It is finally here! You made it! Summer, sunshine, and freedom! It’s time to celebrate the end of a successful school year and the beginning of a well-deserved break. You now have the opportunity to stop, breathe and rejuvenate. Doing so decreases the likelihood of burnout and increases your educator resilience so you can continue to make a difference in the lives of your students! 

Lucky for you, summer is my favorite season, so here are my top ten tips for letting your summer soul shine!  

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Topics: mindfulness, Summer Vacation

10 Reasons to Use Sentence Frames in Your Classroom

A Great Teaching Strategy!

A sentence frame is a teacher-created scaffold using a fill-in-the-blank format designed to help students ask or answer questions verbally or in writing. They are very effective for all students but especially for those who may require a bit more support. Take a look at our TOP TEN reasons you should be using these in your classroom. 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Literacy

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

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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