Big Snow and Little Babies-Life

This week has definitely been a long one! Two snow days were sure nice to get homework done. But while I was in Chadron, my heart was at home on the ranch. I was so nice and warm inside while ranchers were outside moving snow, feeding hay, and moving baby calves inside so they could be warm. When I came home Friday, I didn’t hesitate to throw on my muck boots and hat and warm coat. I mean sometimes, I’m not the greatest help, but its the thought that counts, right? For all you ranch kids and wives, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Sometimes, we don’t close the gates right, or say the right things to that gosh darn cow to make her go through that gate.

Little Bill taking a break from his bottle.

Today, I was sitting in the barn trying to get this little calf to drink his bottle. He was a twin that had been pulled earlier this morning, and he was just a little bit smaller than his brother, so he needed some TLC. I decided I’d name this guy Little Bill.  Bill and I spent some quality time together, as I tried every trick in the book to get him to drink the bottle. And I was getting nowhere. Nowhere to the point where he looked at me like, “Lady, I’m not going to drink it, but nice try.” Finally, FINALLY, he began sucking all by himself and drank just a little bit of his bottle. A little is better than none I thought to myself. I gave Little Bill a break and I just sat there with him.

Little Bill’s mom and big brother.

Also in the barn at this time was Little Bill’s mom and brother and two other heifers. One heifer was in the process of having her calf, while the other two were taking care of their babies. This really got me thinking… Everyone deserves a life. Everyone deserves a chance. Positivity. Being able to experience the birth of a calf, and then watching it grow up has got to be one of the coolest experiences yet. Throughout a calf’s life, it experiences so many different things! From hitting the ground (literally), to being branded, to taking that long journey to summer pasture, and at the end of summer, being weaned from mom. They’re very tough animals that give back to us humans in so many ways. As farmers and ranchers, it is our job

Now, how does this transfer to the classroom? I recently started working at a head start. Observing and learning with those children has really influenced me and pushed me to become the best teacher that I possibly can. The first three years of a child’s life are the most important. So why not start out that child’s life with a great influence? Creating a fun, safe learning environment gives the child a positive outlook on school life. If a child has a bad start with school, they tend to develop a negative attitude and do very poorly in school. This is where the drop outs, poor grades, college failures come into play. Just think, if those students would have had a positive start to their education, they probably would be successful in the world.

As a teacher, I am taking this opportunity to provide children with a positive environment so that they learn to love school. You can still have fun and learn lots! I remember these little thoughts that come in and out of my head while spending time outside on the ranch. Sometimes I never realize how much it relates to the classroom, until I really THINK about it.


Sir Ken Robinson’s Escaping Education’s Death Valley

When I was browsing YouTube for Ted Talks, I came across several that sounded/looked appealing to me. Ken Robinson has several education related videos out there, I have watched a few and I was very impressed with his work. He has a great sense of humor and is a great presenter. For my Ted Talk this week, I chose his video; How To Escape Education’s Death Valley. Yes, death valley and education really shouldn’t be put in the same sentence.

Before I even watched this video, my wheels were turning. I was juggling the positives and negatives of school systems. In a way, with the negatives, I kind of built a death valley. Ken talks about education in Finland. Now let me tell ya- I really wish the US had that kind of education system! In Finland, they don’t obsess over the maths, and sciences, or literature. It is a broad range of subjects; humanities, physical education, and arts. There is also NO standardized testing. There is some testing but nothing extreme like there is here in the US. When educators from the US questioned the dropout rate in Finland, educators from Finland simply stated, “Well, there is no dropout rate.” When a student seems to be struggling they find them help immediately and do all they can to make that student the best they can be.

Each person has their own levels of creativity- that’s what makes us all different and unique. When we look into schools, there are so many classrooms that use handouts, pre-made crafts. The LAZY way out. If we are giving children these thing that are already prepared, what good is that doing them? Not a bit. This not only stumps creativity, but develops an attitude in children that they can have everything handed to them on a silver platter.

Ken mentions several times how important allowing children to be creative is. I honestly don’t think that creativity in the classroom can be stressed enough. With prepared projects and materials, the children aren’t allowed to express themselves. Who’s to say that the only time little Suzy is allowed to express herself and be silly is at school? Home life has another impact on creativity. If children are allowed to be creative in the classroom, they are shown that it’s OKAY to be themselves. Creating a fun and safe learning environment creates a positive image in a child’s mind, telling them that school IS fun!



How to escape education’s death valley | Sir Ken Robinson

Hmmm… What do I write about?

As I begin the ILP journey, I went to my favorite study buddy, Google. There are so many things that I want to write about, but who do I narrow it down?! While searching, I found a list of 81 topics for starting a blog (81 Topic Ideas for Starting a Blog that Matters) as I began to read through the list, my wheels began to turn.

I broke down my thoughts into categories- things I like and things I am interested in. Some  things that I liked from the list included were; cooking, foods, healthy living, becoming a wine connoisseur (I mean a teacher has to have some wine right?! 😉 ), small businesses, and careers vs jobs, following your passions. I also began to think of ideas on my own, these ideas included; photography, coaching, basketball (pretty boring I know), cattle work, horses, family, and relationships.

I looked back and compared both lists and tried to combine the ideas into something I really could work with. After some thinking, and a few breaks, I decided to write my ILP on ranch life.

Throughout the semester, I will be sharing photos, stories, experiences, and maybe even some recipes. With the topic I have selected, I would really like to learn from myself, and the experiences and doing some outside research to expand my knowledge!

Reflection Week 2

I give Logan La Plante kudos! How many teenagers will get up on a stage and talk to that many people? From the teenagers I’ve been around–not many. I understand why his parents pulled him from school, although it’s not something I’d do myself.

Going on to the reading, Hunt really caught my attention with the use of lenses. We need to get a better grasp on perspective and how we see things. As a teacher, you need to be able to recognize what’s going on around us in our learning environments. Our “camera” bags will have several lenses in them. Three lenses that Hunt points out are; making, hacking, and playing.

Making- allowing children to create something to show for *their* work. As the children begin to make more things, they are building their learning portfolio.

Hacking- Has definitely lost its true meaning, all we see it as now is “bad”. Hackers improve things, they make a difference. In schools there aren’t enough people willing to take the risk to become a hacker. As it seems, no one wants to make a difference.

Play- Play allows for creativity, what does creativity lead to? HACKING!

Life and Learning Influences x5

An important asset in life is building a solid foundation. A key component in that foundation is education. There are so many things that have influenced me as a learner. But there are 5 things that really helped shape me as a learner. They are; family, coaching, ranch life, photography, and education.

My family has probably had the greatest influence on me. They push me to do better all the time, encouraging words and prayers have really made me the learner I am. I have two younger siblings; a sister who is a 6th grader and a brother who is a 4th grader. Watching them grow up has really made me think about setting examples and achieving goals to show them to never give up.


Sports have always been a huge part of my life. In high school, I played volleyball and basketball and ran track. I was constantly busy, so between school and sports and all the other activities I was involved in, I really had to use my time wisely. Time management has carried over to college, I am usually (notice I said usually) pretty good with my time. Another aspect of sports was sharing the love of the game. Coaching has greatly impacted my life as a learner. I currently am an assistant junior high and high school girls coach. Now for those of you who have dealt with teenage girls, you know that they can sometimes be little rascals 😉 Coaching these girls has helped me to share my knowledge of the game, as well as expand my knowledge of diverse learners.


My first ride on a horse was when I was 3 weeks old. I’ve grown up on a ranch my whole life, and honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. From caring about the livestock, to walking a fence line, and even bouncing around on that rough old rake tractor, ranching has taught me many lessons. Respect,hard work, and patience have helped me the most in the classroom. For example, cattle and the land give us so much life, you give and you take. It’s a constant cycle. This is true in the classroom and even with work. Taking this into the future as a teacher, you have to give to the students if you expect feedback.


Merriam Webster defines perspective as, an optical glass, (as a telescope). In my spare time, I enjoy photography. I have two cameras, with a few sizes of lenses. These two cameras and those lenses have seen many different things, from things on the ranch, to little newborn babies. Photography has taught me to always have an open mind in life. I always keep in the back of my mind, it’s all about perspective. It’s honestly all about how you look at things. The more positive perspective you have, the better off you are. I’ve caught myself several times having a negative outlook on many things. Then I remind myself that being negative will get me nowhere.

And last but not least, education has definitely shaped the learner I am today.  As I look back on it, I have come a long ways from the days of playing Barbies with my friends at daycare. I grew up in a small school and then coming to Chadron was a nice transition. My education life has helped me build connections and relationships with people that I will cherish forever. Seminars I have attended, classes I have taken, and projects I have completed have really helped me.


Post #1 Educ224

How did I feel about making my blog site? I was pretty excited actually! Although when I first began using the site I had no idea as to what I was even doing. But after numerous Google searches and random clicks, I’d say I almost have it mastered!  I chose WordPress because it has several great reviews and quite a few my teachers use it.  There are so many things that you can do with this website!

I am beyond excited to use this site in my classroom. Sharing this with the parents and other teachers/administrators to share ideas and lessons. Parents can use this site to see what their kids are learning as well as see pictures and newsletters shared by the class. The kids will have chances to share stories as well. Sharing this with the education world will provide myself as well as other teachers to check out what other teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Until next time!

-Miss Berry