The Chalk Blog

Susanne Leslie

Susanne Leslie, is the Lead Curriculum & Staff Specialist with Learners Edge. Prior to joining the Edge, Susanne worked as a parent educator in Minnesota's Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program and worked with parents of 0-5 year olds. Susanne is the proud parent of two daughters.

Recent Posts

Tips for Using Podcasts in Your Classroom

How to engage students in educational podcastsIn Minnesota’s Land of 10,000 Lakes, we enjoy the time-honored tradition of leaving the sweltering summer heat behind and heading north to a cabin, a campground, or any where we can find water to swim, frolic, and cool off.

Last weekend, my 24 year old daughter and I packed up the car and took off in search of one of those 10,000 cool, blue lakes. As we traveled, we scrolled through staticky radio stations looking for something we could both enjoy. That’s when we exclaimed, “podcasts!”

Podcasts are stories or educational information to be listened to, much like a radio show. What makes podcasts unique and modern are their convenience, availability, and the breadth of topics.

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Student Engagement

Blended Learning Courses

Umbrellas, Auto-Pilot, and Top Takeaways from Blended Learning Courses

On Tuesday evenings in June, course instructor Lance Raabe and I facilitated two Blended Learning courses, one on mindfulness and one on teacher wellness. Using Zoom as our platform, we virtually connected with teachers from Florida to France (yes, a teacher who logged in from France!). C’est la vie!  

Because these Blended Learning courses were so engaging (for teachers and for us!) we wanted tshare our Top Takeaways 

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Technology

10 Ways to Pay it Forward

Ideas for Students & Teachers

On May 20th, Robert Smith, a billionaire philanthropist, shocked the 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College by pledging to pay off all of the graduating students’ school loans. His only requirement? Pay it forward.

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration

8 Ways to Support Students Who Have Anxiety

SOS: Saving Our Students: Anxiety Series Part 3 of 3

“We’re in a moment where anxiety is running rampant,
spreading like an epidemic among adolescents.
The rise of anxiety is burdening schools and counselors,
scaring parents, and harming kids, creating dangerous pathways
to depression and substance abuse.”

~ Harvard Graduate School of Education

Jen saved me.

Ten years ago, as I made a break from a perilous marriage, anxiety became my constant companion. Navigating a labyrinth of self-doubt and confusion, my new life was now filled with seemingly endless consequential decisions about finances, career, and life. It felt as though I was spinning through the air and needed grounding. Jen, the instructor for a class called The Mixx, a perfect, a-hem, mix, of jumping, punching, and choreography became my tether. My time spent straining, sweating and listening to Jen’s words of encouragement improved my physical and mental health and kept my anxiety at bay. Turns out, what’s good for your body, is also good for your mind.

Saving our students.

Our students are suffering from anxiety at the highest rates ever recorded. (CDC, 2018).

Whether it’s separation anxiety, social anxiety, selective mutism, generalized anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, or situational anxiety, our students need our support.

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Topics: anxiety, Mental Health Awareness

Travel YES’s and Travel (oh)-NO’s!

Pack Your Bags for Your Summer Adventure!

Most teachers agree, summer is the time to refresh, recharge, and reconnect after the school year (finally) comes to a close. For many teachers, summer is also a time for travel! If you are traveling this summer, (lucky you!) below is a list of tips you may want to try and a list of things you will definitely want to avoid when traveling this summer.

Bon voyage!

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Topics: Personalized Continuing Ed, Summer Vacation

3 Cool Tech Teaching Tools

Tech Tools to Step Up Your Teaching Game!

As one of the more “mature” members of the Learners Edge family, I feel victorious when I learn a new tech tool! Below are three tools we hope you will find fun, fanciful, and useful in your work educating tomorrow’s leaders!

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Technology, educator wellness

The Voice of Anxiety: True Stories About What Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety Series: Part 2 of 3

We all have anxiety.

“I’m not ready to take the test!”

“I can’t give a speech!”

“I have a stomachache!”

Each of us can relate to feeling uneasy about getting on a plane, angst about going to a job interview, or queasy before giving a speech. The difference between “typical” or “healthy” anxiety and anxiety disorders is the disorders interfere with life and stop us from doing things we want, or need, to do. Instead of feeling uneasy, angst, or queasy, and doing it anyway, people with anxiety disorders find they cannot do the things they need to do in their lives.

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Topics: anxiety, Mental Health Awareness

FOMO to JOMO?

Anxiety Series: Part 1 of 3

Kids are cool.

Kids invent nicknames about things for which we adults are unaware. Later, typically by accident or because we ask, we find out what things like FOMO mean.

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is the offspring of the anxiety kids experience when they are continuously connected to social media. Kids’ perpetual awareness and monitoring of what the cool, and not-so-cool, kids are doing has created this derivative of anxiety called FOMO. Since the invention of social media, anxiety has catapulted to the top of the mental illness heap. In fact, 7 out of 10 children report having anxiety. You can do the math, that’s 70%.

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Topics: anxiety, Mental Health Awareness

Have you met Dr. Brené Brown?

Allow us to Introduce You!

As of March 2019, over 38 million people have watched Dr. Brené Brown’s viral TED Talk on vulnerability. Dr. Brown, a self-described “shame researcher,” and professor at the University of Texas in Houston, shares her life’s research about trauma, shame, courage, and vulnerability and how understanding their impact leads to transformational change.

We know our new course offering The Practice and Power of Vulnerability in the Classroom will disrupt your teacher equilibrium as you learn what vulnerability means for teachers and students, why vulnerability is the casualty of shame, and feedback best practices for students, colleagues, and parents.


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Topics: educator wellness, Courses

Part 2 of 2: Teacher of the Year! What it's like to win!

Interview with Teacher of the Year Award Winner: Jill Runde 

*Part 2 of 2: A blog series on past Teacher of the Year Winners. Did you miss part one? Click here!*

What do Lunchables, Suave, and a Teacher of the Year award have in common?  

Jill Runde, that’s what. 

With a successful career as a corporate marketer for Oscar Mayer and Helene Curtis on the line, Jill embraced her calling to help kids. Enjoy this interview outlining Jill’s journey from corporate marketer to Teacher of the Year in 2017. 

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Topics: Teaching Wellness & Inspiration, Teacher of the Year

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