Wednesday, September 21, 2011

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 amazed me that I could say "CLAASSS..."  and they would all stop and answer "YEESS", and I could get their attention so much better than the millions of times I've had to say HUSH, Quiet Down, Who is supposed to be talking right now?

I think I might be in love with this style of engagement and management.

Just a little FYI, Power Teaching is now called Whole Brain Teaching, and you can find out more information at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

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 were understanding.  The second thing was that I could tell who was participating or not.  When I looked at these things I got an idea of what I needed to do to improve my instruction, and the students started realizing Mrs. Ryan wasn't joking around about all the Math in her class! I've also learned what my "pet peeves" were.  There are some things that go on in a classroom that drive some teachers crazy and it doesn't phase me a bit.  And then there are some things that send me running for the behavior management forms.  I figured out my biggest no-no for the students was NO TALKING WHEN I AM TALKING!  That absolutely drove me bonkers.  Still does, but in at least each class one person has found out that Mrs. Ryan won't hesitate to write that discipline sheet.  And you know, the students don't hate me, and they are paying attention more now too.

I will say I have been blessed with an exceptional group of kids.  They really aren't "bad" kids, and by that I mean huge discipline problems.  I would also say I have been blessed with an extremely awesome faculty that is always there for me to answer questions and help out, especially my mentor teacher.  I always had in my head what type of teacher I aspired to be, and she is really it.  She has the best attitude in class, great classroom management, innovative lessons, and she even incorporates technology whenever she can.  And her door is always open to me for questions, help, words of encouragement, and even prayer.

God has truly blessed me.  It really is a wonderful feeling.

Monday, September 5, 2011

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 focusing on fractions, decimals, percentages, and teaching them helpful ways to get this stuff figured out.  One thing I will be doing starting this week is focusing on my classroom management style with the students during their instruction.  The first week was a get to know you week, and while I've figured out my student's personality, they've gotten comfortable enough with me, that now we are having discipline issues.  This week begins pop quizzes, referrals, and a faster paced instruction.  Yes to their horror, there will be homework as well!

As far as my Master's is concerned, I feel VERY blessed to have had labor day off so that I can catch up with my homework.  It seems that lesson planning and paper grading have taken up the majority of my home time, and that hasn't left a lot of time to prepare for my classes or my certification exams.  But, I feel certain that expediting my testing will ensure I get a position next year as a contract teacher, so I'm staying up until my eyes can't stay open, waking up early, and asking everyone who has watched me teach for what I can do to better myself.