The Chalk Blog

10 Ways to Build Relationships With Students Who Challenge You

Building a rewarding relationship

Ever think that students behave better for teachers they like? Rita Pierson agrees! 

Ever heard of the relationship bank account? The concept is simple, to take something out of said account, you need a balance from which you can withdraw “funds” when you correct behavior! There is only one way to get that…positive deposits! 

Ever heard of the praise ratio? Experts disagree as to whether it’s 4:1, 5:1, or 6:1, but either way, you should be praising (building the relationship bank account) at least five times as often as you make a withdrawal.   

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Positive Behavior Supports, Teacher Burnout

Grasp and Grip [VIDEO]

Simple ways to increase classroom play

Skills that should be "simple" have slowly become lost in the shuffle of technology. As teachers, it's important to incorporate activities in your classroom that allow students to work on their grasp and grip. Susie, one of our Curriculum & Instruction team members, is here to give you some quick ideas!

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Teaching Excellence, Video

7 Steps for Keeping Students Engaged After Spring Break

Passion Projects

Spring Break has come and gone and you’ve (barely) survived the testing season. Summer vacation is near, but the countdown is still in the double digits.  Your students are restless and so are you. What do you do?! How about introducing an activity that sparks joy and intrinsic motivation in your students. One that allows them the freedom to explore areas of personal passion and encourages creative thinking. Something that combines fun and learning.  How about Passion Projects?! 

The Passion Project movement has morphed over decades from a workplace approach to cultivating innovation among employees at 3M to something called 20% time or Genius Hour at Google.  It’s now a popular practice for schools to infuse personalized learning and creativity into their curriculum. Students spend at least one hour each week researching an area of personal interest and designing an engaging multimedia product to be shared with others.   

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Personalized Continuing Ed

Improving Your Teaching Strategies

Why Instructional Coaching is Important

Sometimes it takes a while to hit our stride in teaching, and feedback is usually pretty helpfulBut scoot past student teaching and the survival mode into the instructional aspects… that’s when we need help yet again. As a student teacher, we’re watched, evaluated, supported, and given specifics for improvement. Then comes that first outing alone in our own classroom, where management of said space and its inhabitants can feel like an episode of Survivor. But with or without years of experience, diving into the intricacies of instructional practice is always better done with the help of an objective eye, as we once had as student teachers. 

Enter Instructional Coaching - the colleagues who have the perspective, knowledge, and experience to challenge us to move towards meeting our goals and realizing our potential 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Educator Coaching

You're in LUCK!

St. Patrick's Day Celebrating & Learning

149 million people.

That’s how many celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in 2018 according to statistics from CNN.

If wearing green, instigating shenanigans and being Irish for the day means St. Patrick’s Day to you, you are not alone.

For those of us surviving living in the Bold North, St. Patrick’s Day becomes our beacon of hope. The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day means we are halfway through March and that much closer to spring.

Celebrations enrich our lives. They spark joy, teach gratitude, and can be used to create a sense of community in our classrooms.

In this short (and sweet) video, we get a glimpse of how Ms. Laurance creates a sense of community with her students:

In addition, this blog explains four strategies teachers can enlist to ensure a sense of community is established for students:

  1. Having Morning Meetings
  2. Establishing rules together
  3. Greeting each student as they enter the room
  4. Focusing on relationships from day one

Although these four strategies are right on the mark, we would like to suggest a fifth strategy for the list: Celebrations!

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Holidays

Pi Day

How is Your Class Celebrating?

We know it’s irrational, this never ending and constant love of pi(e).

Fortunately, there are plenty of other pi(e) lovers to unite with, and hundreds of ideas to be found to celebrate 3.14159265358979 – and pie.  

(And Albert Einstein, whose birthday auspiciously falls on this day.) 

For our part, Learners Edge will be enjoying a few different kinds of the tasty kind of pie. Check out the list below for some great ideas to celebrate pi(e) in your school or classroom! 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Holidays

5 Ways to Incorporate March Madness Into Your Classroom

Slam Dunk Ideas!

This blog post was originally published on March 18, 2016, but it was so well received that we wanted to freshen it up and share it again. Enjoy!

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! March Madness will soon be underway, but rather than fight your student’s interest in the NCAA basketball tournament, incorporate it into your lessons! We’ve put together 5 of our favorite resources for integrating the NCAA tournament into your math, science, reading or social studies period.  Go ahead and try one out.  It might just be a slam dunk!! 

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, 21st Century Learning

Virtual & Augmented Reality Field Trips

Explore the World Without Leaving the Classroom

If you haven’t dipped your toes into the world of virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) yet, you and your students are missing out!  You may be thinking, what is this VR/AR buzz all about and how do I fit it into my already busy day?  Well, let me tell you that virtual and augmented reality are becoming popular approaches for teachers to deliver content in an engaging and experiential way.  Students can use whatever devices they have to step into spaces and places that were previously inaccessible.  Think: animal habitats, the pyramids of Egypt or the Globe theater made famous by Shakespeare.  These “real” experiences can support and enhance learning in all subject areas by engaging the senses and immersing students in experiences beyond the four walls of the classroom.

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Topics: Teaching with Technology, Instructional Strategies, 21st Century Learning

Top 10+ Tech Trends & Tools for Teachers in 2019

Get up-to-date Tech Tools for 2019

It’s 2019, and technology continues to reshape teaching trends in and out of the classroom. One of the most challenging obstacles for teachers is knowing what’s new, what’s coming, and how this technology can be used to infuse new tactics to engage, educate and learn. This year, the trends are about building the “Intelligent Digital Mesh” which encompasses:

  • Intelligence – AI drives everything we do across many systems going into the future;
  • Digital – The digital world brings the virtual and real worlds together in a new digital reality; and,
  • Mesh – Connecting people, processes, and things together in new and interesting ways.
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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Literacy

For the Love of Reading

3 Key Strategies for Motivating Students to Read

Reading was always my FAVORITE subject in school.  As a kid, I remember raising my hand with unbridled enthusiasm so that I might be chosen to read aloud to the class, “round robin” style.  Whether it was the basal reader, a class novel or worksheet passages, I was hooked.  I just loved to read. Anything. 

This love of reading inevitably lead me to choose teaching as a career, as I’m sure was the case for many educators.  As an elementary reading teacher (and parent of 3 kids), I’ve come to learn that this love of reading does not come naturally to all children.  It’s a challenge for those of us that eat, sleep and breathe books to understand that, for some, reading is a chore.  It is something that is required, or in some cases, something to be avoided at all costs!

Our classrooms are full of kids along the reading spectrum.  So how do we help nurture a love of reading in our students, especially those that are the most reluctant (or even averse!)?  Research tells us that intrinsic motivation is key and that sticker charts and pizza parties can actually decrease motivation.  Yikes!

We’ve put together a list of 3 key research-based strategies that will help build a community of readers and increase intrinsic motivation for even the most reluctant reader in your classroom.

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Topics: Instructional Strategies, Literacy

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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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