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

Professional Learning Series: Awareness

What is Awareness?

Merriam-Webster’s Definition of awareness: 

the quality or state of being “aware”: knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists 

The Learners Edge Professional Learning model describes awareness as, “Analyzing prior knowledge and experiences related to the topic.” If we meld this idea with Merriam-Webster’s definition of awareness, we can begin to understand the importance of knowing and understanding that the learner already has knowledge or experience that exists specific to the topic at hand. Why is that important? Well, let’s check out the research! 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Professional Learning Series: It Starts with Intention

Establishing Learning Goals and Exploring Motivations

Learners Edge, founded by teachers for teachers, is passionately committed to providing fellow educators with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help them succeed in the classroom and in their careers. With that, Learners Edge has completed a meta-analysis of research on adult learning theories, online education trends, and professional development best practice. This allowed for the creation of the Learners Edge Professional Learning Model. 

The model includes five elements to ensure adult learners experience quality personal and professional development and carry new knowledge into their classrooms. This will ultimately have positive impacts on their students. The components are as follows: 

  • Intention: Establish learning goals and explore motivations 
  • Awareness: Analyze prior knowledge and experiences related to the topic 
  • Investigation: Examine relevant, research-based resources to build personal and professional connections to the topic 
  • Application: Apply new learning through practical design, implementation, and collaboration 
  • Reflection: Consider the impact of new learning to influence and transform future professional practice 

While these elements are specific to Learners Edge professional learning, the same steps can be used to improve any adult professional learning opportunities and increase positive outcomes. This blog series will discuss the five components of the model specific to professional learning for teachers. Let’s start by digging into the first component, intention.  

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Professional Learning Model

Trauma-Informed Classrooms

Curated Resources

Two-thirds.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than two-thirds of children report at least one traumatic event by the age of 16. That means that the majority (NOT the minority) of students in your classroom have experienced trauma.

One.

It takes one person to make a positive impact. As an educator, YOU can be the one because you have an opportunity to support these children day in and day out. Hearing about and thinking about the trauma our children may have suffered can be awful, but…

…there is good news.

Children can recover from trauma, and you can help them do that using trauma-sensitive practices in your classroom.

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Topics: Special Populations, Trauma Sensitive Learning

Intentional Wellness... Even in January

How to stay on top of your New Year's Resolutions!

Well, it’s here…January. For most people, January can be the start of a brand-new year with a brand new (hopefully attainable) New Year’s resolution or the possibility of looking forward to a Spring break vacation. But for teachers, January can mean no outdoor recess for learners with abundant energy and daily cleaning of all classroom surfaces with antibacterial wipes. So, how…how on Earth, do teachers ensure their own wellness during this time? Intentionally and with support!

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

5 Reasons Why I'm Grateful for my Masters Degree

A Thank You Letter to My Master of Arts in Education

Dear My Very Own Master of Arts in Education (MAEd),

I am writing to thank you for your impact on my career and personal life. When I decided to sign up for you, I was a second-year teacher with a newborn baby. I was overwhelmed and trying to quickly learn my two new roles in life (special educator and mom). It was crazy town! At that time, the VERY LAST thing I was thinking about was continuing my education. MAEd, I had no idea I needed you, but I did! Because I am thankful for you, I would like to share how you’ve changed my life!

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Masters Degree

Teaching Replacement Behaviors

Saving time and energy with proactive teaching strategies!

“We can’t hold kids accountable for things we’ve never told them we expect. Behavior should be treated like academics. Students have to be taught the skills they need.” Erin Green, Director of National Services Operations at Boys Town, had this right!

As a former teacher of students with emotional and/or behavioral challenges, I found myself spending much of my time creating functional behavior assessments and behavior support plans, writing individualized education plans, collecting data, developing reinforcement programs and intervening in behavioral crisis. Far less of my time was spent actually teaching! And rarely did I proactively teach replacement behaviors. Can anyone relate?

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Topics: Teaching Excellence, Special Populations

From Goal Setting to Goal Getting!

Usain Bolt said, “It is important to set goals in life. I set mine to the highest standard I can achieve.”

Muhammad Ali said, “What keeps me going is goals.”

Venus Williams said, “I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and ignore the rest.”

Any fitness trainer, physical education teacher, or coach will tell you that goal setting is key to improving athletic or sport performance. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) shares that goal setting is a component of self-management which is an essential skill for children to learn! The majority of educators understand that goal setting is imperative to academic growth and achievement.

There is only one problem, goal setting is just the beginning. 

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Topics: Social Emotional Learning

Organizing Class Book Sets [VIDEO]

How to keep class book sets intact

Teaching every student how to keep their paperback books intact throughout the year can be a very difficult task. Keely from Learners Edge is here with three simple suggestions that you can implement in your class!

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Topics: Video, Educator Coaching, Teaching Excellence

Halloween Trivia for the Staff Lounge

Q: What is Samhainophobia?

Halloween comes with its own challenges and can cause educators STRESS! Harvest party planning. No time to bake your favorite pumpkin bars. Do we celebrate Halloween or don’t we? Organizing parent volunteers. Taking your own children Trick or Treating. Extremely hyper students one day, overly tired students the next. UGH!

But never fear, Learners Edge is here! We’ve developed this fun trivia game just for you.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Holidays

Video Reflection [VIDEO]

What is micro-teaching?

When it comes to reflecting on a video recording of yourself, you are your own worst critic. While this is a challenging technique, it can truly help you improve your instruction in the classroom. Watch this video blog by Keely to learn the best ways to implement micro-teaching in your practice.

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Topics: Video, Educator Coaching, Teaching Excellence

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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