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Sunday, June 14, 2020

Join us for the Teach Your Heart Out Virtual Conference!

Join us for the Teach Your Heart Out Virtual Conference!

You guys! I’m delivering 3 sessions at the Virtual Teach Your Heart Out conference on July 13-14.
  • Educator Self Care Panelist
  • Reimagining Education
  • Genius Hour for Little Learners

GO to to sign up and for the full conference agenda!

This conference is fully stacked, and we have 50+ sessions, live keynotes, live panel discussions, and 15+ hours of professional development! You don't want to miss out. 
Videos are available until October 31.  The cost is $60.
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Kayla Dornfeld

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Give These Students Extra Credit

Give These Students Extra Credit

FARGO — Some people are so dedicated to their occupation that they take work home with them.
Kayla Dornfeld took part of her job to her own wedding last month. Actually, she invited them as guests.

Dornfeld, a third-grade teacher at Mapleton (N.D.) Elementary School, invited all of the school’s students to her Fargo wedding.

“On the happiest day of my life, I knew how much more special it would be to have my students in attendance,” she said in a post on the education union website,

“At this point in the year, we have become inseparable, and they were counting down the days to the wedding since January 1, when it was 100 days to go,” she wrote. “Since our school district is smaller — about 150 kids — I decided to invite all of the students in our school. If I didn’t teach them yet, I will. What better way to kick off the start of a new relationship?”

Photos accompanying the post show Dornfeld in her wedding gown surrounded by more than 50 youngsters.

In September 2018, Dornfeld — then Kayla Delzer — was named North Dakota’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Now in her 13th year of teaching, Delzer has taught in Mapleton since 2016, following stints in West Fargo and Thief River Falls, Minn.
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Kayla Dornfeld

Monday, May 11, 2020

Thank You Essential Workers!

Thank You Essential Workers!

I work with the most AMAZING people at my school. I really do. First grade teachers in my school, Miss Teigen and Miss Hoynes, put together a video with the help of their first graders to thank our essential workers. 

Essential workers are heroes, especially during this pandemic. Please watch this video- and then share it with an essential worker you know. Pro tip: have tissues ready, you'll probably cry like I did. 



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Kayla Dornfeld

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

I'm Moving to Kindergarten!

I'm Moving to Kindergarten!

It's official! I'm teaching a new grade level this next school year, and it's one I've felt God nudging me towards over the course of the last year. I'm taking the leap of faith and obedience and heading to Kindergarten! I'm following in the footsteps of my mom, who was my kindergarten teacher and will continue to be the best mentor for me through this year and the rest. Okay God, let's do this! Please tag your favorite kinder teachers in the comments so I can learn from them!

Mom & Me, 2019

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Kayla Dornfeld

Friday, October 18, 2019

Dornfeld Named Mrs. West Fargo International

Dornfeld Named Mrs. West Fargo International

Kayla Dornfeld was named Mrs. West Fargo International this month.

The North Dakota International Pageant System showcases the accomplishments of today's married women, young women, and teens across North Dakota.

The mission of North Dakota International Pageant System is to make a difference. It has been developed to promote the accomplishments of today's married women, young women, and teens, as well as their commitment to family and marriage. Around the world, women of all ages are finding this system to be an opportunity to work with their family and community to become positive role models. Being the premiere pageant for married women, young women, and teens has given The International Pageant System a chance to open doors for all women around the world. The national event will give each contestant the opportunity to learn about customs and family life in other countries, along with the chance to share her beliefs and make new friends.

Kayla Dornfeld is the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year, and Mrs. West Fargo International. Kayla is a two-time (2017 and 2018) Global Hundred honoree, recognizing her as 1 of the top 100 innovative educators in the world. The New York Times named her "one of the tech-savviest teachers in the United States".

She has 13 years of teaching experience in second and third grade. Kayla holds her master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of North Dakota. In September 2018, she received the University of North Dakota Sioux Award, the highest honor of achievement offered by her University.

Governor Doug Burgum has recognized Kayla for her contributions to education in North Dakota, and assigned her a chair on North Dakota's Innovative Education Task Force. 

She has been recognized as both an "ISTE Influencer" and "HarperCollins Publishing Influencer". Additionally, in March 2018, she was named 1 of just 30 "All-Star Digital Innovators" in the United States by PBS.

Kayla frequently travels around the United States and other countries as a featured and keynote speaker. She has delivered hundreds of keynotes, one of note being at Twitter Headquarters. On July 23, 2015 she delivered her first TEDx Talk, Reimagining Classrooms: Students as Leaders and Teachers as Learners

Her work with classroom redesign and flexible seating has become the standard worldwide. She is currently writing a book about classroom learning spaces and flexible seating, titled FlexED: Flexible Seating for Flexible Learners, set to release in 2020. She is also a co-author of the best-selling book Education Write Now, published in December 2017, and 10 Perspectives on Learning in Education, coming out in December 2019.

Kayla married Pastor Dan Dornfeld on April 12, 2019, and is the bonus mom of Svea (age 10) and Kieran (age 7). They reside in West Fargo with their three dogs, Madi Mae, Dudley, and Goff. She is passionate about community service and volunteering within her church and beyond. From coaching the LEGO League team to leading weekly bible studies, Kayla believes in servant leadership. 

For more information about the North Dakota International Pageant System, visi

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Kayla Dornfeld

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dornfeld to Receive National Award for Teaching Excellence

Dornfeld to Receive National Award for Teaching Excellence

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 28, 2019) – The NEA Foundation today announced that Kayla
Dornfeld, a Third Grade Teacher at Mapleton Elementary School in Mapleton, North Dakota is
one of 45 public school educators who will receive the prestigious California Casualty Award
for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next
February in Washington, D.C.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees are nominated by their
peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional
development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

Each year, the Salute to Excellence in Education Gala draws almost 1,000 supporters of public
education, and thousands more online, to applaud these awardees. At the gala, the educators
are truly the stars, celebrated throughout the night with music, performances, videos, and more.
“This year’s awardees are fulfilling the promise of public education in classrooms, schools, and
communities from coast to coast,” says Sara A. Sneed, President and CEO, the NEA
Foundation. “Each awardee has met a very high standard, and together, they are celebrated for
a shared commitment to educational excellence, innovative approaches to student learning,
and support for their peers. We are grateful to California Casualty for its recognition and
celebration of the very best in education, and we look forward to honoring the 2020 California
Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees.”

“We are proud to honor these exceptional educators and show our appreciation for their
incredible work” says Beau Brown, CEO, California Casualty. “The California Casualty awardees
exemplify educators’ ability to be a positive force in their students’ lives.”

Of the 45 state awardees who were nominated by their National Education Association state
affiliate, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive
$10,000 at the gala. The nation’s top educator will be revealed at the gala on February 7,
2020 and receive an additional $25,000. The gala will be livestreamed at
The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find
more information about the awards and a gallery of this year’s awardees.

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Kayla Dornfeld

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Kindness: Can it be Taught?

Kindness: Can it be Taught?

As a classroom teacher and bonus mom of two incredible children, I’m always on the hunt for resources that can help me in my mission to raise kind, empathetic children. And, as the 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year, I’ll continue spreading the incredible importance of social emotional learning and relationships. Both are so interwoven with seeds of kindness. In my experience, relationships are a true indicator of successful classrooms. I spoke about it in my 2015 TEDx Talk, and on the TED blog highlighted here.

When I meet with parents about their child’s report card, I always stress that the academic side of the report card is of equal importance to the behavior side. Even Google is now saying that STEM skills are great, but people skills are greater.

So, how do we teach kindness? Empathy? Is this even possible?

A few months ago, a colleague reached out to me on Instagram to have me preview and give feedback on Advancement Courses. When I scrolled through the many course offerings, I immediately was drawn to a course titled, “Kindness: Can it be Taught?” I enrolled in the class and began my work immediately. I learned so much and began to implement strategies in the classroom and at home the same day.

Some of the connections to classroom application I learned include:
·      Techniques for teaching students that all people are born with kindness and how important it is to build that trait
·      Tools to teach students about “random acts of kindness,” how these acts feel for both giver and recipient, and how to practice their own acts of kindness
·      Exercises that help students read facial expressions in order to develop empathy and perspective-taking skills
·      Ways to identify students who have experienced or are experiencing barriers to developing kindness, and supporting them in overcoming these obstacles
·      Activities for your students to practice building honesty and trust, two key elements in behaving kindly toward others
·      Practices to help students behave with kindness toward all their peers, and especially toward those with emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities

And, here’s what you will do throughout the course:
·       Assess how the biological roots of kindness present at birth can either be fostered or hampered
·       Appraise methods of working with students who need extra support to overcome barriers to kindness
·       Value the power of the teacher to implement short- and long-term practices to perpetuate students’ ability to be kind toward themselves and others
·       Interpret the experience of “random acts of kindness” as both giver and receiver, including anonymous acts of kindness, in order to help students engage in these types of acts
·       Compare the many kindness-related positive traits that can be instilled in students, such as empathy, perspective-taking, honesty, and trust and estimate how to convey the importance of these traits to students
·       Relate how children with emotional, physical, or behavioral disabilities are often treated unkindly to instructional methods that support a classroom culture of kindness for all

As teachers, it is vital that we are continually learning. In fact, my classroom mission statement is “Everyone’s a Teacher. Everyone’s a Learner.”

If you’re ready to start your course to teaching kindness, you can use code TOPDOG20 to save 20 percent off your purchase or on any of their 200+ grad-level, online PD courses for teachers.

Now through Dec. 21, you can also visit their Facebook page to participate in their 12 Days of AC Giveaways! Comment-to-win for prizes like a Qball and Evo Robot .

This is a sponsored blog post. All thoughts are my own.

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Kayla Dornfeld
[name=Kayla Dornfeld] [img=] [description=2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year. Mrs. West Fargo International. Internationally Awarded 3rd Grade Teacher. CEO. Global Keynote Speaker. Author. Flexible Seating Pioneer. TEDx Talk Speaker. 2018 Sioux Award Winner. Innovative Education Task Force Leader.]

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