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

Staying Safe, Sheltering in Place, Serving Teachers

Nationwide, we have been practicing social distancing. Located in Minnesota, Learners Edge is following the lead of our governor and soon will be sheltering in place. Businesses considered essential will remain operational. Because we serve teachers, we are one of them.  

Here is our plan: 

Work remotely, support each other, stay positive, serve teachers.  

We continue to be fully operational with the majority of staff working remotely and two staff rotating on-site to mail textbooks from our continuously sanitized book fulfillment area. 

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Topics: Learners Edge News, educator wellness

What is COVID-19 and Resources for Helping Our Students and Schools

Perspectives and Plans

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5 Indoor Recess Activities

Please. Send. Sunshine.

Here in Minnesota, we are stuck in a vortex of grayyyyy and cold. Whether you’re with us in Minnesota or not, below is a list of five no-sun-need-some-fun inside recess ideas to get you and your students through the last weeks of winter:  

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Early Childhood

This is US.

Celebrating Black History Month, Year-Round

Scrubbing the oatmeal from the blue enamel pot in my kitchen sink, I looked up when I heard, 

“It’s a story we need to tell.  
Not just in February--the coldest and shortest month,
but every day of the year, because this is our story.  
It’s not “us and them, it’s February so we’ll take some time out and do this.” 
It is every single day.  
This is the story of us.  
And, guess what? There’s no “them,” which is what we all try to make up.  
In the U.S., it’s us. Not them.” 

These words are from Ken Burns, the well-known documentarian. He’s discussing his film project, “Baseball,” which tells the story of the Negro Baseball League and baseball great Hank Aaron. Burns uses the film to demonstrate how far we have come, yet how far we still have to go. 

Films, books, movies and experiences teach. Since I have a lot to learn, I decided to watch, read, ask, and attend so I could more fully understand our nation’s history.  

Our history. 

The story of us.  

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Topics: diversity, Black History Month

Four Helpful Tips to Stop Students From Vaping

Educate, Listen, Look, and Learn

Growing up in the 70’s, I am acutely familiar with cigarettes. Slogans and smoking campaigns like You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby, Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should, The Marlboro Man, and Joe the Camel were used to make us believe smoking was safe, even  glamorous. As a 6th grader at Fuller Elementary School in Minneapolis, I remember feeling stunned by a woman, a former smoker, who used an electrolarynx to speak to our class about the dangers of smoking. If you’ve never heard a person speak using an electrolarynx, watch Tips From Former Smokers from the Centers for Disease Control.

As I look back, I can still see a floor full of mesmerized sixth graders sitting “W” style, listening to the “Look-At-What-Smoking-Did-To-Me” speaker holding the electric-razor-like device to the hole in her windpipe to speak. The goal, I know now, was to “scare us straight,” and keep us away from cigarettes and the diseases doctors were discovering they caused. But, with our youthful sense of invincibility, before we knew it, we, too, were sampling those--as advertised--“slender, sexy, cool” cigarettes.

Today, a new delivery system of cigarettes with different names are on the market and, once again, young people are being coerced into using them. Juul and other e-cigarette companies calculatingly changed the verb from smoking to vaping, giving the impression that what we are inhaling is a water-like substance.


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Topics: Positive Behavior Supports, Vaping

Using Music to Teach

An Interview With Our Co-Founder

JOY is the emotion I feel when talking with Learners Edge co-founder, Kyle Pederson.

As a former middle school geography teacher, Kyle explains how he used music to engage his students, to help his students express themselves, and to ensure they remembered important facts. Now as a composer, Kyle shares his favorite musical artists and reminds us that music helps us to think better, remember better, and love better.

As you read Kyle’s perspective on using music to teach, we hope JOY is one of the emotions you feel, too!


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Topics: Teaching Advice, Instructional Strategies

Learning and Teaching About Disability

Funny. Smart. Strong.

This is Lydia Dawley.

Even though Lydia doesn't speak a word, she told her amazing story to a packed audience of students, faculty, and guests at Winona State University’sDisability is Natural Cultural Fair. Organized by students enrolled in an ever-popular course called Disability Communication and Culture, the Fair is designed to provide publicity about the culture of disability. Surrounded by easels showcasing colorful artwork created by those in the community with a spectrum of disabilities, we watched as Lydia navigated the wooden ramp in her hot pink wheelchair and took center stage. 

For those unfamiliar with disability, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable. The anxiety in the room was palpable until Dr. Kelly Herold, the teacher who welcomed us to the event, said something that made us laugh. We watched as Lydia threw her head back chuckling--clearly finding Herold’s comments funny, and just like that, the tension disappeared. The brief history the professor provided about the great distance the disability community has traveled; from institutionalization, to genocide, to the Gang of 19, to the Americans with Disabilities Act, to the mainstreaming of students engaged us, equipped us with context, and got us ready to listen and learn.


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Topics: Teaching Advice, Instructional Strategies

A Playlist to Get You Moving!

How I wrote the new course: Learning on the Move!

We miss Prince.

The musical genius and influence of Prince are part of Minneapolis, the city where I grew up, live, and where I found myself as I sat down to write a new course about kinesthetic learning called Learning on the Move! In need of inspiration, I turned to Prince, and other music, to get me moving, motivated and ready to write.

To honor both Prince and what the research says about the necessity of movement in learning, please listen, dance, and sing as you scroll through the playlist I listened to while writing Learning on the Move!, a course that assures us learning happens from the feet up!


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Topics: Courses, Student Engagement

10 Teaching Channel Videos to Help You Teach

 

Using Video to Learn

As a course creator for Learners Edge, I watch a lot of videos in search of media that compliments and enriches the content of our courses. One of the best educational video resources I have found is The Teaching Channel, a searchable site with curated content for educators featuring real teachers in real classrooms...teaching. 

Although there are hundreds of videos, the ten below rose to the top because they showcase straightforward, easy-to-implement strategies teachers can use in their classrooms (right away!)--and they are fun-to-watch. Please enjoy these 10 videos from The Teaching Channel!

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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

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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