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Do you remember learning about Paul Revere’s ride warning the Patriots “the British are coming, the British are coming!”?

Well, get ready, because…
On-sites are coming! On-sites are coming!
You don’t need a horse, but saddle up for a wild ride!

Here are the details:

Learners Edge will be offering 8 on-site courses, including 3 new courses, this summer in Council Bluffs, Iowa (just across the river from Omaha!) led by our fabulous veteran instructor, Lance Raabe.

Registration opens March 21, 2018. 

Join fellow teachers and Learners Edge for 2018 On-Site Courses in Council Bluffs, IA. These continuing education graduate credit courses will inspire you!

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Books that Changed Us - Our Curriculum & Instruction Team Shares Some Reading Love 

I’ve been recently inspired by a trending professional book called, "Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters," by Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst. It presents how to better support all readers in developing lifelong reading habits and promotes reading values beyond the skills. Using a simple framework and “disrupting thinking,” it challenges teachers to guide students deeper into reading connections by considering the following: 

  • What you noticed in the text (Teachers typically do this - skill-based strategies.) 
  • What happened in you, your thinking, as you read the text (Do you ever ask this?) 
  • What you took to heart, what touched you or made you look at yourself or your world in a new way (How about this one?  It goes deep!)  

I love how this launches readers’ thinking over and above the search for “right answers,” and inward to their own minds and hearts. Wow - this resonates with me!  As an avid reader, I began to consider these thinking cues and recognized them as the prompts that keep me coming back for more and more books. I get to the heart of reading and I can see and feel how the reading changes me - or doesn’t.   

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I have a theory as to why teachers like to watch the very popular TV show “Fixer Upper”….

I’ll give you a second to come up with some of your own reasons and formulate your own guesses as to why we’re drawn to it…. Do you have some ideas? Do you think you might know why?

Maybe, you might be thinking, it’s because teachers don’t necessarily have unlimited funds and are always working on projects around their own homes! Teachers tend to be handy and I would agree that many teachers paint, landscape, build decks, and do “odd-jobs” during the summer to supplement their income…But that’s not the reason why.

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Stress Relief Ideas for Students: Tips to Help Students Manage Test Anxiety

As a classroom teacher, I’ve seen it all during testing season.  Students will go to extremes to avoid the dreaded standardized tests-- hiding under tables and in coat closets, going on extended bathroom visits and hallway explorations, and the most panic-inducing for a teacher, a 5 minute finish!

We work so hard all year to prepare our students using engaging learning activities.  We meet in small groups, plan projects and take them on field trips.  We encourage collaboration, synthesis and critical thinking.  Yet as the emphasis in education shifts to more creative and innovative teaching and learning practices, the standardized testing system remains the same.  For many students, spending hours on a multiple choice test is anxiety inducing.  Like the hide-under-the-table-to-avoid-the-entire-thing kind of anxiety. 

So how can you help your students manage the inevitable stress of testing season and stay cool under pressure?  Here a few of my 3 favorite test anxiety strategies to try in your classroom:

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for students to “get an education.”

Teachers go into education as a field, and we do so because we believe in education. We know that it’s important for students to get an education to give them an advantage, a pathway to something that will advance their future in some way. The whole purpose of an education is to open minds, expand knowledge, and prepare students for living in a world that is full of opportunities.

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Teachers and caregivers have long understood that children impacted by trauma, including abuse, illness, family conflict, or grief, need additional support, both emotionally and developmentally. Young children living with trauma can be easily overcome by fear, anxiety or aggression, and often have difficulty connecting with others. The hopeful news is that we can help students in early childhood overcome these adverse experiences and thrive in our care when we use trauma-sensitive strategies. 

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Suicide is a difficult topic. Did you know that by talking about suicide, you actually help decrease its likelihood? To learn more about suicide prevention, join us for this short video blog, where you will learn how to increase suicide awareness, and ways to help students who may be struggling with mental illness. 

Please share the suicide lifeline number with your students: 1-800-273-TALK.

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 Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”  

― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead 

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When #flipgridfever first began to show up in my Twitter feed last year, I was curious but not ready to figure out what the fuss was about.  It wasn’t until I attended a session on classroom apps that I got up close and personal with Flipgrid and recognized its brilliant application to the classroom and how it can help increase student engagement. If you’ve yet to understand the hype, I’ll explain. 

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Teachers - ever heard of the Reading Wars?  In writing a new course on phonics instruction, I was enlightened by brushing up on the history of reading instruction. In my undergraduate and even graduate level education courses, I never studied the background of teaching beginning reading. But now I know, educators and researchers have wrestled with best practices for reading instruction, specifically framed in an ongoing “war” between the methods of “phonics” and “whole language.”  I reflect upon my own early reading development and recognize that I was “supported” with a mixture of instructional methods.  And for this I am grateful! 

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