The Chalk Blog

Marcee Harris

Marcee Harris is the Evaluation and Curriculum Specialist with Learners Edge. She is a veteran elementary teacher with a passion for engaging teachers in equity conversations and working to transform education through technology. On any given evening you can find Marcee having a dance party in her kitchen with her husband and three kids.

Recent Posts

Easy Student Projects for Distance Learning

3 Great Resources to Eliminate Digital Busywork

Educators in every corner of the country have been working feverishly to put together distance learning activities for students that will keep them engaged and, let’s not kid ourselves, occupied for the next several weeks. Many edtech companies have so generously offered their products and services free, making high quality apps that were previously cost-prohibitive for districts available to all. But as I’ve come to see with my own young children at home with me the last 2 weeks, the sparkle of these digital apps and websites can quickly fade with daily use.  

Tolerance.org recently polled teachers across the country about what supports they needed most and found that “more than 80 percent requested “Do Something” projects that could easily be adapted for distance learning.” Offering daily skills practice along with real-world projects will help keep the at-home work time fresh and give kids authentic ways to apply their learning. So for all of you amazing educators looking for additional resources to keep kids learning with something more than just iPad apps, we’ve got a great list for you!  

Below we’ve curated 3 great resources and favorite projects for engaging, interdisciplinary student projects that can be completed at home.

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Distance Learning

7 Ways to Be a More Culturally Responsive Educator

Bringing Diverse Perspectives Into Your Teaching

On a scale of 1-10, how culturally responsive are you? Maybe you’re just getting started bringing diverse perspectives into your teaching, or maybe you’re well versed in culturally responsive teaching (CRT) practices and are working to support others in this work. No matter your place on the journey to responsiveness, there’s no doubt that there’s always room for growth. 

Increasingly, the young people showing up in our classrooms come from a wide variety of lived experiences, linguistic backgrounds, and cultural ways of being. In fact, there are now more children of color than white children in America’s public schools, according to the Pew Research Center. Many educators have begun the work to embrace and celebrate diversity, make individual connections with students and families, evaluate curriculum and materials for relevance and bias, and some have even joined committees to analyze school policies and practices. If this is you, bravo! Becoming a more culturally responsive educator requires not only a change in mindset, but also the acquisition of new skills, and most importantly the desire to continue learning.  


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Topics: Culture and Language, Culturally Responsive Teaching

No More Sick-Day Stress

Swap Your Sub Plans for Digital Student Plans

Writing substitute teacher plans can put teachers into full on panic-mode. Who needs the added stress when you’re already feeling terrible?! Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly put together an easy-to-follow lesson plan for your students in your absence? Rather than trying to cram all of the notes and directions for the sub into a coherent doc, create a step-by-step plan for your students to follow. Instead of sub plans, write student plans! With readily available technology, students can work through your digital lesson independently. The benefits are countless:

  • Create digital plans quickly from home using digital resources.
  • Keep students on track with the scope and sequence of the curriculum. No more busy work or time fillers!
  • Eliminate substitute teacher confusion and misunderstanding.
  • Allow the substitute to simply monitor student work time and focus attention on behavior supervision.
  • Review submitted student work from home to prepare for your return back to work. 
Convinced? Here are 4 great tips for going digital with your "student plans”: 
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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Substitute Teachers

New Technology Courses for 2020

Introducing Our New ISTE Approved EdTech Courses!

Technology changes in the blink of an eye so keeping up can be challenging! With a seemingly constant flow of new apps, programs, devices, and strategies to wade through, teachers often settle for what’s most comfortable and easy-- low tech or no tech! To help you navigate the waters, our writing team at Learners Edge has developed 5 brand new, top-notch courses for better tech integration. We’ve sifted through the latest in edtech research, and searched for the best resources to provide just what you need for continued professional learning in tech integration. So without further ado, here they are! 


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Topics: Technology, Courses

10 Google Slides Hacks for Teachers

Become a Pro in G Suite!

Known as the “swiss army knife of Google tools,” Slides is the most versatile application in the G Suite. In addition to presentations, slide decks can be collaborative spaces for learning, interactive lessons, or even a digital notebooks. The possibilities are endless!  

We’ve put together a list of our favorite hacks to help you get the most out of this “anything is possible platform,” including video tutorials to amp up your teaching with Google Slides. 


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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Instructional Strategies, Technology

10 New Tech Tips for 2020

Tech Tip Countdown

Get your party favors ready, people! With 2020 fast approaching, it’s time to countdown our favorite tech tips of the year. We've combed the web, visited the best tech conferences, and sifted through edtech Twitter for the newest, most valuable tools to use in your classroom. We’ve gathered all of our findings together in one handy list to inspire your most innovative, tech-infused lessons in the new year.


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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Instructional Strategies, Technology

Assessment Made Easy with Google Forms

Five Useful Resources on Google Forms

Here at Learners Edge we value your time as an educator. We've put together this quick and comprehensive slideshow on how to use Google Forms to simplify and speed up your classroom assessments.

Five Useful Resources on Google Forms:

1. Save time and go paperless

2. Add dynamic elements

3. Customize your quizzes

4. Don't reinvent the wheel

5. Use comments to support growth

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Technology

4 Steps Towards a More Inclusive Classroom

 

Creating a Diverse Curriculum

When I think back on all of my years of K-12 schooling, the only diversity included in the curriculum (if you can even call it that) were the ubiquitous studies of westward expansion, slavery, civil rights and a few prominent figures that emerged from those time periods. What I took away, as a young person of color, was that the influence and contributions of people like me were relegated to the margins of history. An additive to the mainstream narrative.   

As classrooms in the U.S. continue growing in diversity, teachers are tasked with creating a more inclusive curriculum to reflect the voices and perspectives of a broader spectrum of people. By teaching the established curriculum, minority students often feel disengaged and unempowered resulting in lower levels of achievement.  But when educators work to create a set of curricula that is relevant, meaningful, and affirming to diverse identities, their efforts result in positive outcomes both socially and academically. Research also shows that not only students of color, but white students greatly benefit from a diverse curriculum as the exposure enables them to grapple with multiple perspectives and build a better understanding of both self and others. 

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Topics: Positive Behavior Supports, diversity

4 Secrets to Successful Parent/Teacher Conferences

Working with parents made simple!

As parent-teacher conferences loom, educators start to get nervous. We work hard to get all of our ducks in a row-- the test score data, the report cards, and the examples of student work.  There’s an enormous amount of anxiety and stress thinking about how to accurately convey details about each student’s successes and struggles. Will parents push back on my assessment of their child? How in the world will I squeeze in all I want to say in a few short minutes? Will the parents even show up? 

Since becoming a parent I’ve been able to sit on the other side of the table and see things from a different perspective. I’ve reflected on the purpose of the parent-teacher conference and come to the realization that less is more!  Less data, fewer numbers and more stories, more connection. 

Reframe your thinking, save time and make each meeting work for everyone with our 4 secrets to successful parent-teacher conferences! 

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Topics: educator wellness, Parents

6 Screencasting Tips

6 Ways Screencasting Can “Level Up” Your Classroom Instruction Screencasting isn’t just for Flipped Classrooms and Webinar recordings anymore! Teachers are now using this flexible medium to provide a more personalized learning experience for students, to connect with families, and get more done during their workday  

A screencast is a video recording of your computer or device screen that allows you to narrate actions, and include webcam footage. If you haven’t logged in and created a quick screencast yet, don’t worry.  It’s easier than you think! We’ve created an easy guide to get you started and curated our top 8 ways to use screencasting to level up your classroom. 

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Technology

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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