Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

Rocking to the End of the Semester

I have made it through to the end of my Fall Semester and my kids are approaching the end of their first semester.  Since I last wrote, my teacher returned from maternity leave and I now find myself teaching 5th grade students in Science while their teacher is out on maternity leave.  WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  This is a positively eye opening experience to be with so many different grade levels and getting the opportunity to teach two different subjects.

I will be the first to admit that Science is not my best subject.  I am having to work much harder to deliver the kind of education these students deserve and along the way I am learning so much as well.  For starters, there is a HUGE difference between a 5th grade brain and a 7th grade brain.  There is a HUGE difference between a 5th grade brain and a 6th grade brain.  I think Mrs. Ryan's brain is going to explode!

Science was always the subject I had to study for.  I was the student who didn't have to try to get A's and B'…

Abacus, Abacus, Abacus

It doesn't seem like 10 weeks have already passed, but they have flown in a whirlwind of activity.  Student lesson plans, class, kids, tests, and of course there is a life outside of schools!  My 5 children, my poor neglected husband, and my poor neglected house!

What I want to share though was a really great activity I did with all my students, 6th and 7th graders alike, and it was such a success.  I started out with a day I needed to fill an activity with, and I thought that a web quest about something related to math would be a great thing.  I found a great web quest already done up online.  It is HERE.   And I thought how cool.  I could do this.  The only problem was that when I got into school none of the links would open in the school.  Everything was fire walled.  So what I did was take the questions and the formats and play around at school to give the kids some links that they could actually open in the school so they could start an abacus web quest.  However... I tacked …

A disappointment stumbling block.... (sigh)

Well I must admit I thought we were rocking along in math class, and then I get to test day.  I realize two things:

1)  The kids don't know the material like I thought they did.

2) Since so many of them don't get it, I know the problem is me.

So today I am spending time trying to find a million ways to teach my kids about positive and negative integers and about greatest common factor and least common multiple (this for my 6th graders) so that we can retest on Wednesday.  I feel bad for the kids that completely aced my test, but I'm more worried about the ones that failed dramatically.  20%, 30%, and yes I even had a 0%.

It is official.  Come Monday I will be off track on the lesson plan the teacher has left for me to teach.  It is also official that my teacher will be coming back November 16th, and I need to ensure when she comes back in it was like she never left.  There is a lot of pressure for a long term substitute.  It is much more different than if it was your own …

My first Pencast!

I couldn't stand to wait too long because I wanted to demo my new pen to my students.  Right now I'm working on a math website for them so that they have a place to go straight to for help with their math topics or math homework.  I'm doing this through a website called CourseSites which is free for up to 5 classes.  Currently I'm only  teaching 6th and 7th graders, so I'd really only need two classes, but if I broke them up by the 5 periods I teach, then I'd need all 5.  Unfortunately I can't show you the site as its an invitation only, and  I only want my students and their parents to have access, but I can show you my first pencast I've made for my 6th graders!

1-Subject Notebook 5 p. 1
brought to you by Livescribe

I've noticed several things after viewing my pencast:

1)  I say "so" a lot!

2) It is much easier to teach to active students than to talk out loud to a sheet of paper, and picture my students being there.  I'm sure You Tube…

Inspiration and a Smart Pen

I finally figured out how to work my little interactive white board tablet in my room.  I used it on Friday and my kids loved it.  I like it to, and it was really my inspiration behind getting my Echo smart pen.  When trying to figure out how to use my interactive white board tablet (we will call it IWBT) I thought well I'll just google it and go from there.  Turns out... it isn't made anymore.  Never the less, I was able to figure out what I was doing, and it is great for my classroom.   It operates a lot like a Think Pad.  At any rate, I've seen several blog post referring to smart pens and LiveScribe on several blogs I subscribe to and I thought I would check it out.  I found an Echo pen in Best Buy and fell in love.  I was on a spending splurge today and decided this was going to go one of two ways.  I either was going to get an iPad, or a Smart Pen.  Well... I got the Smart Pen.

So I've been sitting at home and right now the new drivers are being done on my new pe…

Power Teaching

Last night in class, we watched a few videos on You Tube about power teaching.  I will admit all I could think about was "no way".  My kids would look at me like I was crazy, and I would probably go crazy!  To give you an indication of what I'm talking about, I've attached a video for your viewing pleasure!

Today while reviewing for the upcoming 6 weeks tests, I found myself telling my students about this crazy video we had to watch in school the night before.  My students get a kick out of knowing that I'm in school with them too.  They know Mrs. Ryan has homework!!

So in a joking manner, I talked to them about power teaching, and then I walked them through a few exercises.  And yes, I even made up my own for telling them to be quiet.... and then the funniest thing happened.   I found myself doing some of the same management behaviors in class.  I found that I was telling them to do things that power teaching required.  And, I found I somewhat liked it.

It truly…

Week 3 of Teaching, Week 4 of classes

To say the last 3 weeks have been informative would be an understatement.  I can say without hesitation that I have learned more from my kids than they've learned from me.  I wish I could say it has been all sunshine and roses, but that is definitely not the case.  In fact, it has been hard, exhaustive work, but I sure do love it!

While I've been working on differentiating my instruction by doing different activities, modeling, visuals, and group work, my main focus has been about classroom management.  The first week the students seemed to be wary of me since I was a new grown up, but by the end of the week, they were definitely testing the waters to see what they could get away with. So, when I began my second week, I began to get a bit more strict about what was going on in the classroom.

One of the things I did was grade the work we did in class together.  This helped me for a variety of reasons.  The first thing was that I could tell when I was teaching what the students…

One week of student teaching down...

I have to admit, that this past week has been the most exhausting and exhilarating week I've had since I was in the Navy.  I began my student teaching journey this week as a long term substitute teacher.  I am teaching Math to middle school students who are in the 6th and 7th grade, and boy am I learning a lot!

My students have been in school for 2 weeks now, this upcoming week will be their 3rd.  I am the 3rd teacher they have had, and the one they have had for the longest.  The school I'm teaching at uses C Scope for their curriculum, so my students do not have text books.  This is something new for me, and I feel like I'm starting to overcome this challenge.   In all of my classes, my students seem to be lagging behind, so I've been giving remedial instruction this week to make up for the lack of a more structured instruction process.  I have a lot of material to cover, and not much time to cover it in.  Each class is with me for 1 hour a day.

Currently I am focusin…

A new Journey is Beginning

It has been a while since I posted and I must admit that had more to do with me being so uncertain about my teaching future.  My desire to teach was of course there, but it looked like the opportunity was going to not be.  Much to my delight, and due ALL to God, I will be teaching starting Monday.  I am going to be a long term substitute for a local school.  What that means for me is that I will get paid a bit more than a regular sub, and I will be teaching the same students for around 3 months.  I am praying that an opportunity presents itself for me to continue as I took a HUGE leap of faith and quit my steady full-time income to do this.  I want to sneak a special thank you in here for all the staff at ETBU who worked hard praying and keeping their ears open for me.

With  that being said, this week has been a whirlwind of activity!  I am learning about a program called C Scope that the school uses for planning, and I'm getting my thoughts in gear for activities and how I plan t…

Finals Again

It is once again time for finals and this month has been the hardest so far.  I began the month behind in my psychology course due to work scheduling conflicts.  I stayed behind for the rest of the month and I find myself working on a holiday weekend in desperation to create a final piece that is worthy of what I want to accomplish in the amount of time I have. 

While taking my psychology course our professor had us do a very small piece concerning creativity in the classroom.  This really was a blip on the radar compared to the extensive talks we've had on Piaget, Kegan, and Kohlberg, but it really was the piece that grabbed my attention.  I remember a video that is posted on this very blog that talks just a bit about how the current school system sucks out creativity from the teachers on down to the students.  And I really found myself actively reading topics that discussed creativity and the classroom and why it is important to have.  What better topic to do on a final paper th…

Psychological, Psychoanalysis, Psychologically Speaking of Course....

This term has been a wild one due to massive amounts of work, and massive amounts of personal health issues!  I missed my first psychology course of the term due to my daughter being in the hospital and almost missed the second day due to me needing to be in the hospital.  And what I have learned does boggle the mind.

I have taken several psychology courses while I've attended schools in various areas.  I loved what the psychological courses discussed and lets face it, who doesn't want to learn to psychoanalyze oneself and others!  Educational psychology is a field that you have to look at from so many different angles.  I've always known that you can not pinpoint one's development, moral growth, actions, or anything of that nature on one theory or one person book of why.  No one person can successfully categorize human beings and be correct  Instead I've learned and am currently learning that these theories have to be combined and considered based upon each indivi…

The start of a new "semester"

I hate to call what we are doing a semester since it is only a month long, but WOW the workload is a semester's worth.  This month I am taking an educational psychology course along with an elementary literacy course that focuses on assessments as well as teaching.  Both are very interesting so I can say at least while I'm being overwhelmed with a lot of work, it isn't boring work!  The biggest difference I'm seeing with this month's workload versus last month's work load is the amount of papers I have to write.  There are an ENORMOUS amount of papers. 

One of my paper's that I must write this first week focuses on Piaget;s theories of cognitive development.  I've found a little YouTube video that discusses what they are so you can get an idea of what I'm learning about at this stage in the program.

I missed the first psychology in class lecture due to my daughter having to go to the hospital, and now I am feeling like I'm flying blind on my wor…

The Week of Finals

This week is the last week of our Summer I courses.  Two full size courses crammed into 1 month has me exhausted.  And then, I remember I still have 2 more months like this to go!  I CAN do this.  This week we focused mostly on our final projects which are presentations for both classes.  Tonight is the last presentation for the week, but the work is not done.  We still have take home finals that are due prior to midnight on Friday.  I started yesterday, but have a long way to go with that.

Next month is considered Summer II and before I get geared up for new learning, I wanted to take some time to reflect about what I've learned in this past month. 

I really feel like I've learned a lot about what the teachers do inside the classroom.  This didn't come from instruction as much as it came from getting to know those that are in the program with me.  These teachers teach in various types of schools to various age groups, and they all have magnificent stories to tell.  I can…

Craft Supplies and College....

We are now working on our end of the month projects and we are having to do an OLD fashioned tri-board for a presentation.  I see nothing wrong with this, it keeps you grounded and makes you realize what students in elementary through high school go through.  With that being said, I am so happy at this point in the course that I have enough craft supplies to open my own store.... literally.

Having all of these wonderful supplies did not stop me from going out to buy more.  Heck no, Hobby Lobby was having a killer sale!  30% off of Cricut items.  And since I have a Cricut Expression and about 15 different cartridges, the only thing I could possibly need and find useful is Cricut Design Studio.  So I went out, spent my money, and came home with CDS so I could begin working on my Tri-fold.  I'm half tempted to do what I do in my other blogs, and that is take pictures of what I've done and post here... but I won't.. partly because I'm too tired to add to this homework assi…

Search and Seizure in the Schools

This evening I am working on legal briefs for my Legal Issues course.  My case for this week's assignment focuses on whether searching a student's private property on school campus violates the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure.  The long and short of this case is that the Supreme Court of the U.S. has ruled that it is not a violation of the student's Fourth Amendment rights providing that the search is reasonable and not excessively intrusive. 

For those that do not have a legal mind, the biggest thought to an educator is what is deemed reasonable and what is deemed excessively intrusive.  Knowing what the courts deem reasonable will help facilitate best practice where searching student's property is concerned.  Recently one student went all the way to the Supreme Court to help define what was reasonable and excessive in nature.  The Supreme Court ruled that this student's constitutional rights were violated when she was strip searched by her sc…

Obviously Every Day Isn't Going To Happen

I really had a great goal of posting everyday, but it just isn't going to work.  Right now I'm sitting at a Hilton hotel in San Antonio waiting on room service to deliver me some dinner.  I have to prepare for tomorrow's training with my current company and do homework for my degree!  I have driven approximately 7 hours today and class starts at 7am tomorrow... I'm tired thinking about it. 


This morning I woke up bright and early to do some homework.  This girl is NOT getting behind.  Today I worked on issues discussing internet safety and really why it is important.  I discovered that Texas is currently revising the technology TEKS which is a VERY important thing to know.  Internet safety is something I really have a heart for, and there are many reasons.  I have 5 at home with me right now, and the dangers of children not being safe hit a little too close to home this past year.  In the neighboring community a young teenage boy was killed by someone he me…

Portfolios, Portfolios, Portfolios.... oh.. and some juicy technology!

Today's focus was on journal articles focusing on the importance, or lack thereof, of portfolios for educators and students alike.  I learned today that the best type of portfolio in this day and age is an electronic portfolio, and that the thesis or core of a portfolio can encompass several things such as a portfolio on a particular subject, an introspective portfolio, and a professional portfolio.

As a future teacher I've learned that a professional portfolio has a very real future in my career.  And while having a professional portfolio is important, so is an introspective portfolio that focuses on professional development.  I know what a portfolio is and have read articles upon articles about their importance, but I haven't found a single format for one, nor have I seen how one is laid out.  That is my current goal.  I need some visual examples so that I can get a modeling idea and maybe gain some perspective about the kind I want to have.

The other little thing I had…

Already too busy for words!

I took Sunday off as a day of rest!  And of course, it was Mother's day so I spent the day with my Mother.  My Dad took us out to eat and we watched a movie and had ice cream later.  Yesterday... I just completely forgot to post!  So this post will be about what I did yesterday.

Yesterday's focus was pertaining to the class I have this evening in Legal Issues.  I had a case brief that I needed to turn in for a homework assignment and NUMEROUS chapters in a law book to read.  Have you ever read a law book?  I have found that if you don't take it personal it can be rather dull reading.  By that I mean you have to really have a vested interest in what you are reading.  This really made me think about teaching and school in general.

Kids today get a pretty bum rap all around where school is concerned.  They are unfocused, bored, discipline problems, and all kinds of things... but rarely do you hear what I think is the real reason why.  Is what they are doing personal to them? …

Technological Integration

Today I did do a lot of the work that I needed to but did not get it all finished.  However, I did till up my mother's garden today so all was not lost.  What I did accomplish today though was working on my blog post summaries and finishing the discussion questions I was assigned to do with 21st century learning.

I spent the majority of my morning reviewing videos about how our schools have fallen behind in updating their methods of instruction due in part mostly to the lack of practical application.  Outside of the classroom students have cell phones, computer access, MP3 players, Ipods, Iphones, television, etc.  All manner of digital media is at their fingertips until they walk into their classrooms.  They are expected (for the most part at least where I am from) to put away the cell phones, sit in nice neat rows, and listen to lectures given with illustrations on the wall.  There is no stimulus and no technological exchange going on in the room.  This leads me to believe that …

The Day After....

I will have to admit that my first night of Technology in The Classroom was quite daunting.  It was a million pounds worth of information crammed into 3 hours of time after I'd been working ALL day.  My strategy was simple:

1 - Take lots of notes.

I have had the priviledge of having Dr. Thompson-Price in an undergraduate course and I will be the first to say I love the way she teaches.  She is interesting, VERY passionate about what she's teaching, and funny.  I can definitely think of worse ways to spend 3 hours of my time!

Other than information overload I think I survived pretty well.  I created this blog while I was in class, set up my electronic portfolio, and learned about some really cool tools!  Here are a few sites I learned about:

Weebly - You can set up a web page REALLY easily and do so in different formats.  Best part of this was obviously it was FREE.

You can monitor how my portfolio is coming and even access my blog from there by going HERE.

Titan Pad - A really c…

What it's about!

I am currently attending East Texas Baptist University to attain my Master's degree in Education with Elementary Certification.  This is my first term for the program and by this time next year I will be close to graduating. 

1st - I have to do this blog as a classroom assignment.

2nd - My goal is to continue this blog throughout my master's program.

3rd - I am going to chronicle what I am learning, what I am messing up, experiencing, wish I wasn't experiencing... an expose' if you will.

4th - This is a Christian university.  I WILL be posting about Jesus Christ.  My faith is a part of who I am and what I'm doing.

I think that is about all.  I've already attended my first class.  It is a Law course about legal issues within the public school system.  My second class for the week is Teaching with technology.  Which is why I am here.

So... my blog will be about as the title suggests "Teaching Mrs. Ryan"... about how to be a teacher :)

God Bless You!