The Chalk Blog

Molly Kiebel

Molly Kiebel is a Curriculum & Instruction Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Molly was a high school English language arts teacher. Molly loves helping teachers and students find new ways to grow! Whenever time allows, you’ll find her enjoying the great Minnesota outdoors with her husband and two daughters.

Recent Posts

Mindfulness in the Classroom

Being mindful about how to practice mindfulness!

This blog was originally published by Learners Edge on December 29th, 2016, but it was so well received we wanted to share it again! We hope you enjoy!

If you’d asked me a few years ago what I thought of Mindfulness, I may have laughed or shown you an exaggerated form of my best yoga Warrior pose. I couldn’t have told you how life changing it could be, and I certainly would not have been able to share with you any meaningful reflections.

The truth is, I have always believed in the power of Mindfulness, yoga, and other awareness practices to improve balance and well-being, but I just didn’t feel I had the time to actually do them. I was busy all day—busy teaching, busy grading, busy meeting with parents and colleagues and students—and when I got home, I was busy being a mom, a wife, and an amateur superhero. The art of slowing down seemed a luxury I couldn’t afford. 

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Topics: Leadership

Teacher Stress: 11 Ways to “Shake It Off” from the Learners Edge Team

Avoiding DEVOLSON

We understand this time of year is stressful. The luster of the new school year may now be “lovingly” tarnished, and it is often the time of year that our work as teachers gets real. Students that were a little behind at the start of the year might suddenly feel panicked. The small stack of grading you’ve been trying to manage looks more like a leaning tower. Even Mother Nature seems to be toying with you: Oh look, it’s snowing! Wait, was it too soon to pack away those shorts? Can I wear a raincoat over a parka? And just when you start to get your teacher groove back for the year, daylight savings time ends and the world turns off the lights before you even leave school for the day. Yes, it can be a tough time of the year.

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Topics: educator wellness, Teacher Burnout

How Do I Discuss Politics in the Classroom?

Engaging Students in a Respectful Manner

As we near the 2018 midterm elections, it’s hard not to feel that the United States is intensely divided on political topics across the spectrum, and unfortunately, those divisions can play out in our classrooms. So the question many teachers may be asking themselves is: do I allow a space for my students to discuss the elections, or politics in general, in class?

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

Planning Your Year in 3 Days... or Less!

Why Putting off Your Lesson Planning all Summer is OK

It’s almost time for another school year to begin! As I reflect on this transition from summer to fall, I have a confession to make. Every June, I’d head off for summer break with a bucket list a mile long —  adventures to inspire me, self-care routines to re-energize me, curriculum preparation and planning to make each year better than the last. But I’ll be honest, very seldom did I accomplish everything I set out to do, especially anything related to work. More often than not, August would arrive with a mix of panic and exhilaration, and I’d find myself pushed to complete three months’ worth of planning in three weeks (or three days, if I was having way too much fun!). Can you relate? If so, read on to learn a few tips to make the most of your remaining summer planning time!

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Topics: anxiety, Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teaching Advice, Instructional Strategies

New Course Alert! 806: Digital Citizenship in The Classroom

Empowering Digital Citizens in Our Classrooms

Digital citizenship lessons empower students to engage responsibly and effectively in the digital world. With the right guidance and support, students not only learn to be safe and responsible consumers, they learn to contribute rich ideas to online spaces and make real and lasting differences. They also learn how to find balance in their technology use in order to stay physically and emotionally healthy. Even if you are familiar with the benefits of teaching digital citizenship, you may still have questions about the best way to introduce these concepts in your classroom. If this is you, we invite you to join us in one of Learners Edge newest courses, 806: Digital Citizenship in The Classroom!

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Topics: Technology, Teaching with Technology

Tips to Organize and Declutter Your Classroom

The topic of minimalism has been popping up all around me the past few years. According to the website The Minimalists, “minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.” Eager to find out how this movement could impact my own life, I picked up some books on the subject from the local library and set out on a journey to downsize, declutter, and make way for more living. I’d like to share with you what I learned and how these concepts might help you as teachers design more organized, vibrant classrooms!

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Topics: Classroom Management, Teaching Advice

Resolving Conflict in the Classroom

Handling classroom conflicts is a part of most teachers’ lives. Even seemingly small disputes can negatively impact the classroom environment and interfere with long-term relationships. This is why managing student conflict peaceably is such an important part of our work as educators. If we want to establish a classroom culture that values community, conflicts between students should be approached with true reconciliation as the goal. We can turn these situations into teachable moments by helping students understand their actions, the actions of others, and find solutions together. 

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Topics: Teaching Advice

Learners Edge Launches New Continuing Education Course: Teach Like a Historian

Make History Come Alive! 

Teach your students to “think like historians” in our engaging new Learners Edge course! 5017: Teach Like an Historian: Teaching Historical Investigations in Social Studies is designed for middle and high school social studies teachers looking for new ways to engage students with the past. At the center of this course is the text, Why Won’t You Just Tell Us the Answer? Historical Thinking in Grades 7-12. The product of nearly twenty years of social studies teaching, author Bruce Lesh’s work is based in real-world applications, practical strategies, and a healthy understanding of the fun and challenges of teaching middle and high school students. We love this text, and we think you’ll love the chance to share the power of historical thinking with your students!  

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Topics: Content Areas

Teacher Wellness: 5 Lessons from Happy Teachers

Great teachers are happy teachers! Happy teachers feel confident, energized, and purposeful. They face new challenges with curiosity and resiliency. People who are genuinely happy also tend to be physically healthier and have healthier relationships. But what happens when you don’t feel happy? Teaching is joyful, but it is also hard. Take a few minutes now to learn how to foster happiness each day with these helpful tips. You deserve it! 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy! 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

Tech Tips for Busy Teachers

Balancing the work of integrating new classroom technology tools with the realities of a busy teaching schedule can be such a challenge! I remember all too well the sense of initial excitement I would feel heading back to school each August: in a flurry of workshops, slideshows, and handouts, we would be sent off to our classrooms with a bundle of new technology applications to try with our students. Sometimes, these new applications and programs would take hold in my daily lessons in meaningful ways, but often, they would fall to the wayside as I made way for other content demands.  It doesn’t have to be this way for you! 

So how can you make implementing new tech tools in your classroom both manageable and meaningful? Consider the following tech tips for teachers to keep your focus and sanity intact! 

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Topics: Technology

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