Mimio Educator

SEL Curriculum Options for Student Success

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Sep 13, 2018

In the years that have followed the No Child Left Behind era, schools, teachers, and administrators have learned that a hyperfocus on reading and math doesn’t produce the best outcomes for students. We all knew that our students were so much more than a test, and now that we don’t have our entire system centered around these scores, we can refocus on what truly matters.

Many schools are discovering that students with strong social emotional skills, especially in early childhood, have better outcomes and healthier lives over peers who do not. This probably doesn’t surprise most of us. Being able to cooperate, compromise, empathize, and negotiate are skills that help all of us be successful—much more so than a score on a test.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers, SEL

Where Do Teachers Go to Learn?

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Sep 6, 2018

In a recent conversation I had with teachers, we were asked to name one thing we had learned recently—these could be very basic tasks or skills, or even “life lessons” that were reflected upon. Once we all had something in mind, the next question was the critical one: How did we go about learning this? The answers ranged from experience to failure, YouTube to books, and colleagues in person to colleagues on Twitter. Of the eight of us in the room, we had eight different avenues for new learning.

This is the norm both in education and in life. We don’t wait around until the next training opportunity, just like we don’t wait around until 8:00 for Cheers to come on the television like we used to. Our world is more “on demand” than ever before, and learning is no exception. 

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Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

How MOOCs Can Support Teacher Learning

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Aug 28, 2018

As a K-12 educator, you may think that the term “MOOC” is made up at first—it sounds like a nonsense word from a first grade phonics test! But in higher education, MOOCs have become pervasive and have altered how education is delivered across the globe. 

The acronym MOOC stands for massive open online course. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, topics, and disciplines. The concept is fairly simple: higher-level courses that are available for free to anyone who wants to take them. Most of the time some college credit is available, at a cost, if the student is in need of that. 

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Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Student Connections for Success

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Aug 23, 2018

Decades ago, the Beach Boys sang “Be True to Your School.” The song encouraged students to stay loyal to their high school, more so even than “their girl or their guy.” Quite a statement! 

There is nostalgia to the song, but in the end, we hope that the students who pass through our halls will have the same loyalty the Beach Boys encouraged. The one word that encapsulates this is connectedness. We hope all of our kids are connected to their school, their teachers, and one another.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Recruiting to the Teaching Profession—and to Your School

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Aug 16, 2018

Teaching is a wonderful profession. I would even call it the best profession. It is full of challenges and “warts” like any other field, but there is really nothing like it. Regardless of whether we are teaching five-year-old students or fifty-year-old professionals, teaching starts with a lack of knowledge or skill and ends with something gained by the individual that cannot be taken away. Education opens doors, increases opportunity, and makes all of us better, more well-rounded human beings.

It is true that not every day in the classroom feels like this. Paperwork, meetings, and state mandates all distract us from the bottom line of kids learning and growing. In recent decades, the quantity of “other things” that teachers have to worry about and do has greatly increased.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

How to Build Classroom Culture for the New School Year

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Aug 15, 2018

 
The start of the school year is the perfect time to set the tone and culture of a school and classroom. It's a time for fresh starts and stepping out on the right foot. As we welcome new students into our classrooms for the first time, the “culture” of the room starts to be built.

As a member of a school community, it is time to consider the kind of culture you want to create in your classroom. This could be a classroom culture or building culture. How do you want it to “feel” when students enter the classroom? What types of interactions do you want them to have, and what will the climate and culture of the classroom be?

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Back to School: A Collection of Blogs to Get You Ready

Posted by Travis Rink on Tue, Aug 14, 2018

 

The new school year is quickly approaching, so you’re probably already thinking about all the things you need to do to be ready for that first day. Between working on your lesson plans, setting up your classroom, getting supplies, and learning your new students’ names, there is so much going on! 

Need help prepping for your return to the classroom? Check out these blogs for helpful teaching strategies, back-to-school deals, classroom tips, and more:

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Topics: back to school, Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Setting Professional Learning Goals for Success All Year Long

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Aug 9, 2018

We know that teachers learn best, and are most motivated, when learning about a topic that is of high interest to them. Some trainings are required for all teachers and there isn’t any way around that, but much of what we do with professional learning tends to be “one size fits all” with little choice provided.

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Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, Administrator Resources

Professional Learning Communities: Is Yours on Target?

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Jul 31, 2018

Archery is a unique and popular sport in our school district. We have high numbers of students who participate in archery every year at both the state and national level. Archery has a lot of similarities to professional learning communities (PLCs)—stick with me and I think you will see the connection. 

There is a clear target that we are aiming for. We have tools in our hands that can help us to hit the target. Some tools are better than others, but a gifted artisan can do a great deal with any tools they handle. Small adjustments at the start of the process yield major impacts (both good and bad) when the target is reached (or missed). What that means is a tiny adjustment to an arrow or bow when shooting causes a big change in the outcome. Getting the arrow started in the right direction makes a huge difference in the success of the shot.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Redesign Education in Your School District

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Jul 17, 2018

I feel fortunate to work in a state that has a very compelling vision for education. In Kansas, our commissioner has articulated exactly what we are to do every day in our classrooms, our schools, and our districts: Produce students who can be successful. 

Following No Child Left Behind, this vision feels very different and much broader. A few years ago, we were tasked with simply producing students who could pass reading and math assessments at the state level. That was it. That was all that “mattered” for accreditation and evaluating our effectiveness. As educators, we know that these test scores did not correlate with success—but it wasn't up to us.

All of that changed with the ESSA act a few years ago. More local control was given back to the states, and accreditation didn’t come solely from an individual test on a given day. Teachers began to focus again on all the factors that impact a student being successful instead of just math and reading.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

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