The Chalk Blog

Lance Raabe

Lance Raabe is a high school social studies teacher, coach, husband, father, sports announcer, and Learners Edge on-site instructor in Omaha, NE. You can find him on Twitter: @Chieftainlinks.
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Recent Posts

Why Target Causes Teacher Anxiety

Who said back-to-school supplies are necessary in JULY??

I’ve made a personal pact that I never want to move to a house that isn’t somewhat close to a TARGET.  To say that our family frequents this particular beacon of consumer capitalism would be an understatement.  We are always there.  TARGET is the destination place when I’m in desperate need of anything from home supplies to home décor….from toys to toiletries….and from socks to sandals (of course those should NEVER be worn together!).   Our family is loyal to TARGET throughout the year….It’s a store that never lets us down….until, of course, the 2nd week of July each summer.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, anxiety

Your Summer is Served!

 

During the school year, we barely have enough time to eat lunch each day.  The afternoon bell rings and we make a mad dash to the fridge to grab either a well-constructed, thoughtful, nutritious lunch…or leftovers from the previous night.  Either way, the race is on.  We are competing against an opponent who has the upper hand throughout the school year and more often than not, wins:  time.

Isn’t this why summers are so cherished? It’s not the sun…. or the projects…or even the vacations:  It’s the time.  The school year is consumed with time-takers and the summer is a time-giver.  The school year leaves us asking “Where did the time go?” and the summer’s reply is “Don’t worry, you have plenty of time.”  If the school year was a meal during lunchtime, it would be fast food…The summer, however, is a sit-down restaurant with a full menu and most importantly, time to order, eat, and reflect on the meal before leaving.

As you think about your summer (or what’s left of your summer!), I’d like you to consider your “time menu” and what every teacher should order during their break away from school.  After looking through the summer menu, you’ll want to select a beverage, appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, a dessert.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, educator wellness

Creating Your Super Hero Teaching Team

It’s Time to Form Your Own “Super” Team….

I personally can’t get enough of superhero movies and usually have their release date circled on my calendar. Of course, I NEVER go on the first night! (the lines are insane and if I felt like battling crowds I’d just step into the hallway during passing periods! )… 

...but I guess it’s always a good thing to have something to look forward to. On a few occasions, I’ve even had debates with my students about WHO is the greatest superhero and, to be honest, there are better choices than others (potentially a future blogging topic!). Truly great superheroes, however, never work alone…and neither do great teachers.

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Topics: Teaching Advice, Leadership

Teacher Inspiration: Lessons Learned from a Student

 Every single one of our students has a story….

Is it just me or has the entire Prom experience morphed into a full-blown production? Online videos are posted, both expecting and un-expecting dates-to-be are surprised in front of large groups of peers, and more is made of the “question” than the event.  Yes, I get it…It’s almost a competition and I like to win.  There was an occasion, however, when a different type of “promposal” took place for all of the wrong reasons.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

Connecting with Students: It's Not Always About the "Gold"

 

The Olympics have got me thinking….A few weeks ago the 2018 Olympic Winter Games began and I, along with so many throughout the world, found it to be “must see” T.V.  You need to understand that the Olympics and I go way back…all the way to 1980.  It just so happens that the first Olympics I truly “experienced” on earth have become part of the fabric of American sports.  The 1980 U.S. Hockey team won the gold medal and this “miracle on ice” was, to say the least, memorable.  I distinctly remember rushing to the front door of my house after they had won, only to shout “U.S.A!” over and over again…fortunately, none of the neighbors called the police….I was only 9.  It became a childhood memory for one reason, and one reason only: They won the gold. 

What if they had lost to the Russians in the semifinals? What if they had fallen to Finland in the final match? Would they have been remembered?

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

The Satisfaction of the "End Product."

I have a theory as to why teachers like to watch the very popular TV show “Fixer Upper”….

I’ll give you a second to come up with some of your own reasons and formulate your own guesses as to why we’re drawn to it…. Do you have some ideas? Do you think you might know why?

Maybe, you might be thinking, it’s because teachers don’t necessarily have unlimited funds and are always working on projects around their own homes! Teachers tend to be handy and I would agree that many teachers paint, landscape, build decks, and do “odd-jobs” during the summer to supplement their income…But that’s not the reason why.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Student Engagement Through Camouflage Learning

 

I call it “Camouflage Learning”…..

Students are not to be underestimated.  They’re constantly aware of their surroundings and always “watching out” for the threat of being taught.  They’ve been trained, over the years, to be looking over their shoulders in the hopes of protecting themselves from objectives, standards, assessments, and data-driven approaches.  As a result, students are very perceptive and they know when you’re trying to teach them something….But if you’re careful, sometimes they’ll learn without realizing it! It’s deceptive, sneaky, under-handed, and yet, calculated.  It’s camouflage learning.

Sometimes I try to trick my students into learning.  Without their prior approval, I’ll deliver content via strategies used to camouflage content within the lesson…It can take place, usually, without them knowing and there are a great number of ways to accomplish this feat.  I’ll share a couple of student engagement aka camouflage learning strategies with you now.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Teacher Inspiration: What's Your "Walk-Up" Song?

I’m pretty sure nearly every teacher in America has a second job.  For some reason (I actually know the reason), teachers seek out extra opportunities to work after the school day is complete.  In addition to my own 2nd job of leading on-sites for Learners Edge, I have another amazing 2nd (actually it’s my 3rd ) job!  On Creighton’s campus and at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha I’m one of the public address announcers for the Creighton Bluejays. 

Over the years, I’ve learned that Division I sporting events are very much a production….kind of like a well executed traditional lesson plan: materials are collected, the main components of the production are introduced, the lesson goes live, and finally an outcome is reached.  An essential component of every game I’ve announced (and an increasingly impactful part of the classroom) is music.  Between points in volleyball, during breaks in action at basketball, and during each inning in baseball, music becomes the game.  Fans clap their hands, dance in the aisles and embrace the fact that they are active participants in the game.

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Increase Student Engagement with Quote Boards

 

I’ve been making my students famous for about the last 10 years…..

Strategically placed at the front of my classroom is a gigantic piece of plain, white butcher block paper that is framed with colorful construction paper on all four sides.  It’s an obvious, relevant, and practical participant in my classroom…It is my quote board. 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Teacher Inspiration: Be a Veterookie

We hope you enjoy this dose of teacher inspiration from one of our amazing on-site instructors from Omaha, Nebraska! 

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I’m a veterookie.

I guess at first sight the term looks like the fusion of the words “veterinarian” and “cookie”….which makes absolutely no sense and would definitely NOT be a big seller behind the glass at the Cookie Store in the mall.  In this case, however, it describes my current role as a teacher and what I strive to be each day:  a veteran teacher who still feels (and acts) like a rookie. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

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