Mimio Educator

      Crysta Baier

      Crysta Baier is a librarian/computer teacher in Edgerton, Kansas. She has been in the field of education for 20 years, teaching high school English, GED classes, and now working at the elementary level. Crysta, her husband and their two kids live in Overland Park, Kansas.

      Recent Posts

      My First Hour of Code

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Tue, Jan 21, 2020

      I’m still fairly new to the coding game. In November 2018, I finally enrolled in a Code.org class held near me. I loved this free class and wanted to try it out with my students. However, I didn’t feel like the timing was right for me to participate in the Hour of Code taking place just a couple of weeks following my training. After all, I was still learning myself and only beginning to teach the Code.org curriculum to my third and fourth graders. So, I bowed out of the Hour of Code in December 2018, thinking I’d try it the next year.

      Fast-forward to December 2019. I now had a year of experience teaching the Code.org curriculum. This year, I even included my second graders in coding activities. By the time December rolled around, I was ready. I had already signed up for the Hour of Code and had a plan of action.

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      Topics: STEM, Coding

      My Summer of Self-Care

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Thu, Jul 25, 2019

      Teachers, think back to May when it was the last day of school. You said goodbye to your students, cleaned up your room, checked out with your principal, and headed home to enjoy your summer. But before you left the building, you also packed up your car with teacher manuals to study, educational books to read, and lessons to rework. No worries—that’s what we all do. The summer is a great time to get a jumpstart on the next school year. However, I would urge you to do more than work this summer. Take the summer to care for yourself, nurture your personal interests, and relax.

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      Topics: tips for teachers

      A Summer Reading List From Your Friendly Librarian

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Tue, Jul 16, 2019

      If you’re like me, you ended the school year with summer goals: work-related tasks, household chores, educational books to read, and so on. You may have been assigned a book by your administrator, or perhaps you’re taking a class that requires intensive reading. As an English major, lifelong reader, and elementary teacher-librarian, I believe in the power of stories. And as much as I enjoy reading books that help me become a better teacher, I also like to read positive and inspirational stories about students and teachers.

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      Topics: education industry, Educational influencers

      My Students, My Teachers!

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Thu, May 9, 2019

      Just this past week, I asked a fourth-grade student to help another student get caught up on a research project. The two students came to my classroom and sat down at the computer. My helper Kristie sat down next to Robbie and I could instantly see a change. She morphed from student to teacher before my very eyes. As Kristie sat very patiently and kindly working with Robbie, I was amazed—and once again reminded of why I am a teacher. Moments like these, where you see a student using his or her skills, collaborating, and going above and beyond expectations, are the moments we teachers live for. And at this very moment, I was reminded again that I learn at least as much from my students as they learn from me.  

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      Topics: tips for teachers

      Using Code.org in the Elementary Computer Classroom

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Wed, Mar 13, 2019

      Back in September, I was sitting in a district computer teacher meeting discussing activities we used in our classrooms. My colleagues mentioned how they participate in the Hour of Code and other coding activities. Meanwhile, I was sliding down in my seat, embarrassed that I wasn’t doing the same cool activities as the others.

      I have only been teaching computer class for five years, and I’m still learning how to balance life as a teacher/librarian as well as a technology instructor. Still, I want to do well on the technology side of my job. Instead of sitting around and feeling incompetent, I got online and found out more information about Code.org—an organization that sponsors the Hour of Code and a website that provides resources for teachers. Code.org also offers many professional development opportunities; I found a workshop close to home and signed up.

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      Topics: STEM Lessons, Coding

      March 2nd Is Read Across America Day: Learn Why Every School Should Participate

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Fri, Mar 1, 2019

      I started my career teaching high school English. If you’d asked me back then about promoting  Read Across America (RAA) Day, I would have thought you were crazy. Why would we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday at the high school level when we could be focusing on Shakespeare, Thoreau, or Steinbeck? I’ve learned a lot over the years, and I know this to be true: Dr. Seuss never goes out of style. These books are fun, clever, and nostalgic—they turn children into readers and teach life lessons. They honor reading and show us how to be good citizens and friends. As an educator, parent, and lover of books, I urge teachers at all levels to plan a Read Across America celebration. Here are some reasons why: 

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      Topics: tips for teachers

      New Year, New Beginnings!

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Tue, Jan 8, 2019

      I’m a sucker for new beginnings—the chance to be a better me at home and at work. I love the sense of starting over, improving, and making changes that a new year offers. Each January, I try to write out personal and professional goals, usually things like “be more organized” or “keep my desk clean.” (If you saw my desk, you’d see why this is a yearly goal!)

      The professional goals I want to make this year are more resolutions of the heart, in how I engage with the students I teach and how I approach my vocation. Here are my new beginnings for 2019—I hope they also help you as you begin your new year of teaching!

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      Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, tips for teachers

      This Year, I’m Thankful for Teaching

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Wed, Nov 21, 2018

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      Topics: tips for teachers

      Observing Other Teachers: A Different Kind of Professional Development

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Wed, Oct 31, 2018

      On September 24, my district had an in-service day. The homeroom teachers in my building were piloting a new writing program and were asked to attend a training. This left specialist teachers with nothing to do, as we would not need to be trained on this new program.

      We were all wondering what our duties would be for the day when we received an email from our principal encouraging us to make arrangements to observe in another district for the day. She proceeded to help us find schools to host us—fellow teachers will understand why this was amazing. When do we ever have the time to go to other districts without painstaking measures of using personal days and arranging for subs? And how many of us have principals who understand the importance of observing others in our same content area?

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      Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, Training, tips for teachers

      My Many-Colored Classroom Days (or How to Manage a Classroom)

      Posted by Crysta Baier on Wed, Oct 24, 2018

      When I began my career in education, the current theory was “Don’t smile until December.” I tried that, and I can tell you it didn’t work. The way to manage a class isn’t to pretend to be stoic and uncaring—you need to get to know your students and learn techniques to create a positive learning environment. Both rookie and veteran teachers alike benefit from learning and relearning classroom management strategies. Here are five online resources to help you with your management techniques. I hope they can be of use to you.

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      Topics: tips for teachers

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