Mimio Educator

Kelly Bielefeld

Kelly Bielefeld, Assistant Superintendent, Clearwater School District & Adjunct Professor at Friends University, Kansas Kelly Bielefeld is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in Clearwater, Kansas and an adjunct professor at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. Prior to this, he spent 13 years as an elementary and middle school principal. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Kansas State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Administration from Wichita State University. As a principal, he has worked in rural, urban, and suburban schools, along with having experience in both parochial and public school settings.
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Recent Posts

References and Resumes: How to Stand Out

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Jan 29, 2020

As teachers begin to think about applying for positions for next school year, it’s important to consider who the references on the application will be. As a former principal, I’ve looked through hundreds of resumes and applications. I’m not an HR expert, but here is my personal experience with how teachers can stand out when it comes to the references they use.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts on what applicants should consider when setting up references in their application:

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Topics: tips for teachers

Two Models for Personalizing Learning

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Jan 23, 2020

There are clearly some potential barriers for teachers as they seek student input into their lesson design and curricular choices. It can feel overwhelming on the teacher’s end, and might be considered just one more thing for them to think about. It can be hard to trust that the students will actually be good co-pilots on the learning journey—even if all the desire in the world is present, it might be hard to know how to actually put it all into action.

Fortunately, we have a few models we can look to that will assist us in how this can look in the classroom. These concepts might seem divergent and like squeezing a round peg into a square hole, but even so, I think the philosophies are definitely worth considering for every teacher.

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Topics: tips for teachers, Personalized Learning

Spicing Up Learning During the Winter

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Jan 22, 2020

It’s that time of year when a nice, warm bowl of soup can make a dreary winter day feel warm and comforting. Those soups, every now and then, need a little extra something to help them hit the spot. Our lessons in our classrooms are not much different. When the learning might feel dreary, adding a little bit of spice to our lessons can go a long way. 

To go a little further with the metaphor, not all soups need the same thing to make them better. Some might benefit from more salt or pepper, while others need more substance to them or might need thinning out. Each of these can create a perfect balance for the consumer, making sure the “spice” is just right for the season.

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Topics: tips for teachers

Putting Students at the Center of Learning

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Jan 8, 2020
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Topics: tips for teachers

The 4 Ms of Supporting Personalized Learning

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Mon, Dec 30, 2019

With all that's been said about how we can include students in the process for helping to design—and therefore improve—student learning, there must be a good reason to do it. I always discourage teachers from following educational fads. They might seem great at first, but with all the time required to change course, we only want to do so with a proven strategy.  

So why should teachers begin to personalize learning for students? I use these four Ms when thinking about personalized learning: motivation, metacognition, modeling, and making connections.

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Topics: tips for teachers, Personalized Learning

Creating Tutorial Videos

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Technology has helped improve the educational experience for students in a variety of ways. One of the best ways for teachers to leverage the use of technology is to provide students with resources that allow them to access it anytime.

Some teachers use this to flip their classroom. I believe every teacher at every grade level could benefit from the knowledge of how to do this, even if they don’t intend to flip their classroom. This is because it frees up the teacher to provide snippets of instruction both when the teacher is in the classroom and when they are not. It can be efficient and engaging for the students.

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Topics: Education Technology

Psychologically Safe Schools

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Dec 5, 2019

Because of the excessively violent situations that have occurred in schools over the past 20 years, school safety has been a hot-button issue. Many schools have moved to create a more secure environment by controlling access, locking doors, and conducting drills so that students and staff are prepared if something happens. And while all of this is good and necessary to some degree, I believe we must keep the bigger picture in mind as educators

Unfortunately, the concept of being safe must include a discussion of risk. When lawmakers make decisions about things like stoplights, speed limits, and other traffic laws, they consider the possible danger and how that weighs against normal operations on a roadway. For example, we could put a stop sign at every intersection in the country, which would create safe roads, but it would also hinder commerce, travel, and many other endeavors. There must be a balance between safe roads and the purpose of the roads in the first place.

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Topics: tips for teachers

The Professional Breakup

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Dec 4, 2019

Unfortunately, I have seen a number of teachers come and go throughout my 20 years in education. And for every teacher who leaves my school, there's a different reason for why they left. However, I would say that I've seen some patterns in the departures of teachers in terms of both why they left and in the manner in which they departed the school. 

And reflecting on this—all of which is based on my observation, not on any research—I believe it might be helpful for school leaders and for the teachers who remain to process the departure of their colleagues. Maybe some of these ideas can help the “professional breakup” to go more smoothly than it sometimes does.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Professional Learning That Works Part Four: Relevant Learning for Teachers

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Nov 26, 2019
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Topics: Professional Development for Teachers, tips for teachers

Resources for Teaching About Space

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Nov 20, 2019

Space: The final frontier. A topic that is touched on in many science classrooms, but rarely finds a foothold in the major learning of our students. Learning about space provides opportunities to not only teach the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), but also allows students to think, dream, and wonder.  

As a classroom teacher of science or any other discipline, the topic of space can be a great crosscutting concept. As teachers dive into the NGSS, they can use these cross-curricular ideas to engage and deepen student learning.

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Topics: STEM Lessons, STEM

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