Another new drill

This week for my independent learning project, I attended a Ryan Levendall clinic. Ryan Lovendal is a professional barrel horse trainer. If any of you follow the rodeo world he rides Sheri Cervi’s famous barrel horse Stingray. He has many techniques that are amazing for making a barrel horse the best they can be. I did not have to money to bring my horse and attend the clinic with Ryan, so I paid $50 to audit and took notes, along with some videos for me to better myself and better Reno in the future. drill-2

Above are the notes that I took during the clinic. This drill is to used when you want to tighten up your turns and make yourself more of an aggressive rider. To begin the drill you have to make sure that you and your horse are both as relaxed as possible. To get your horse relaxed you can trot some slow circles. If you look at the diagram you start out doing larger circles then drive your horse forward into smaller brisk circles around point a and point b. The biggest thing to remember during this drill is to not short yourself. You have to drive your horse all the way up into the turn so it forces the horse to make the fast and snappy turn on their hind end. In the end this will give the horse the skills to turn the barrel at full speed a lot more aggressive, and to leave the turn faster to get to the next barrel.

I practiced this on Reno when I got home from the clinic. I think it made me breath harder than it did him! It really required me to get forward and ride my horse. It made me use my legs to drive him up into the turn. It also made me soften my hands and guide him to where I wanted him to go. If i did not do all of these things correctly we would run over the tire or Reno would try turning before the tire. I was surprised at how hard this drill actually was because the clinic made it look so easy. I will be practicing this drill many more times when I get the chance because we still have a lot of improvement to make on it!




This week in the digital literacy class we had an assignment to explore DS106. At first when I went to the about page I was super confused. There are many videos that explain it for the most part though. I spent well over two hours watching these videos as many of them were well over a half and hour long. By the end of watching the videos I had a decent understand of that this ds106 is, but I am still not really sure I would be proficient at using it.

On the site it introduces the 30 days of daily creates. Basically a daily create is posted every single day. These daily created should only take about 15 minutes to complete, then you can share them on the site and on your social media sites. You do not have to complete the one for that day, as you can explore previous days and find things that interest you more. There are a variety of creates including audio, video, writing, drawing, and photography. I am interested to see how my 30 days of daily creates goes simply because it seems a little confusing to me and I am not sure I will be able to upload things with ease. That is probably the goal of it though. It will be hard in the beginning but easy by the end of the 30 days.

I do think that this site is very interesting and awesome. I think it could be used in the education world in many ways! First of all it is simple, the assignments do not take long. Second of all the assignments are kind of fun to do. Third of all, you can interact and communicate with so many people on so many different levels.

I will use ds106 to inspire creativity in my life by completing the 30 days of daily creates. This will broaden my technology skills and sharpen my creativity over 30 days. I could use it in my classroom by assigning my students fun little projects to complete and having them upload it to the site and to me. This is killing two birds with one stone. They are having fun completing the assignment while learning more about the world of technology! I still have lots of exploring to practicing to do but all in all I think that this is a great site!

Project Based Learning

The type of learning that I chose to research this week is project based learning.

The broad definition of project based learning is: a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. To me I define it as practice. You are practicing making a project for the real world, and by doing this you are learning.

Project based learning is important for many reasons. Some students get bored with sitting in class and memorizing everything that they can. They enjoy doing projects that are hands on because they are actually involved and can enjoy the experience more. Most adults live in a family of projects, so what better way is there to teach them and prepare them for life than through project based learning?

Click here to watch a video on project based learning.

There are many ways to use project based learning in all subject areas by just doing presentations. However, the subject I want to talk about today is shop class. The class room is full of tools and machines to use to make project. It is sometimes loud while students are working. Students can do a variety of things including wood work, welding, mechanics, and more. The class room space is mostly organized into work room so the students have plenty of area to practice their project. Class room time is mostly spent working on projects. Teachers can use this approach for many reasons. The students can make projects and sell them, they can make projects and give them to family for gifts, or they can make the projects to utilize themselves. This is not only giving the students opportunity but it is teaching them in a fun hands on way giving them the practice they need to do great in life!

There are clearly many advantages to project based learning. Some of these advantages include, kids have more fun with hands on, practice makes perfect, the result is always usable and more. Some disadvantages might include risk of students hurting themselves and risk of students staying on task when working at their own pace.

Click here to read John Larmer’s article on the seven essentials for project based learning.

Here are twitter accounts for teachers to follow!

Scott Benson           Matt Candler            David Haglund



“Slow Makes Fast”

This week for my independent learning project I learned that slow makes fast. In the rodeo world, as many know, the events are timed. Whoever can complete to event in the fastest time wins the prize. Barrel racing, team roping, calf roping, bull dogging, and more are all timed and it is a contest for everyone to do it in the fastest time.

My grandmother once told me that when you are making a barrel horse, slow makes fast. She is a very wise lady, and an amazing trainer. She has sent multiple horses with multiple girls to the National Finals Rodeo in her time of training barrels horses. Of course when I was a little girl I just threw my head back and laughed, because all I wanted to do was go fast.

I have not really told the story of Reno so i will give you guys a brief run down of his life, because it is needed to really understand why I am doing this slow makes fast blog. My fiance and I took a trip to Billings Montana to purchase a horse for his mom for Christmas. As we were walking through the alleys, I saw a starved beaten, bloody, and very sad gray horse standing in the corner of the pen. I figured it was a workers horse because surely they would not send a horse of that condition through the sale. I looked through the catalog and sure enough there he was. They were going to send that poor horse through the sale. I looked at his papers and realized he had phenomenal breeding, and I knew with his looks he would go cheap. We waited and waited as he was one of the last to sell, when they ran him in he went for $1300 and we bought him. Needless to say we did not come home with a Christmas gift, but a mangy starved horse for myself instead. We have owned him for almost two years now and have been offered upwards of $20,000 for him because of his performance and athletic ability.

I do not know why any one would treat an animal with the heart that Reno has the way that they did. I had to tell you this story because it is needed in order for me to explain our practicing experiences. Because Reno was so poorly treated and beaten he looses his
“cool” very easily. Everything makes him nervous. The announcer, other horses, new people walking by him, a new place, yelling, and clapping all make him jump out of his skin in fear. Because of this I have had to take him very slow. When we go to fast he gets out of control and runs in fear and ruins our runs. For a while he wanted to just run the barrels over and brace against my commands because he was so scared. Needless to say it has been a long road of repetition, confidence building, and lots of cookies :).

A year and a half later Reno and I are still taking things slow. I believe in this horse with all of my heart. I do not “rescue” horses from the kill pens because I believe it is a cycle of life. Reno is a different candidate. He has so much heart, so much athletic ability, and so much talent. No matter how long it takes, I know in the end he is going to come out on top.

Some of you are probably wondering where I am going with this so I will wrap it up. I spent my two hours of time for this project and more this week on practicing slow. On Saturday Reno and I went to a barrel race and entered. He worked phenomenal, and I now realize after purchasing Reno why my wonderful grandmother always said “slow makes fast,” because after all of this slow work Reno is going to be SO fast!  Below I posted a video of our practice run this week. 🙂


What I learned about PLNs

This week we were asked to do some research on PLNs. Some may not know what PLN even stands for, it stands for Personal Learning Network. Having a Personal Learning Network is about making connections and building personal relationships with teachers, school administrators, professors, and experts around the world. It is also about sharing ideas and resources, collaboration, and learning. Some people share their learning, expertise, and experiences in different ways. No matter where you are in the world, there is always someone available to answer questions, share their expertise, and simply chat about what is happening in their lives and in the classroom. The defining feature of the PLN is that it is a global network, enabling people to retrieve information from all diverse areas.

During my research I learned that some of the most popular PLNs are twitter, youtube, and there is actually a specific PLN for teachers called the Teachers PLN.

In the reading that I found on PLNs it includes a diagram: PLN

When I created my twitter account I really did follow these steps thoroughly. This week our class requires us to subscribe to blogs that are in our area of interest. We also often watch TED webinars and write blogs on our thoughts. After we write a blog it is set up to automatically tweet on our twitter. I would say I followed the steps well to creating my Personal Learning Network on twitter without even knowing about them?

A reading included in this weeks assignments called “How to Cultivate Your Personal Learning Network,” has a lot of helpful tips to get the most out of our own Personal Learning Networks. It includes 8 steps. The first step is to explore, we need to explore co learners and experts. The second step is to search, search pools of expertise to find information that interests you. The third step is to follow candidates through RSS feeds on feedly. The fourth step is to always keep tuning your network, delete people that are not bringing rich information to you. The fifth step is to feed the people you follow, bring relevant information to them that will help them, along with others. The sixth step is to engage the people you follow, make the information you post meaningful and worthy of their time to read. The seventh step is to inquire the people that you follow, ask questions that will help you and others. Last but not least, the eighth step is to respond to inquiries to you.

I found this article very helpful, and I will definitely follow all of these steps to get the most out of my twitter account for personal learning. I can already see a few that I could potentially delete as they are not bringing very relevant information to my attention. I do believe there will always be fine tuning when it comes to following over 100 people. I am going to feed my PLN with information from weekly articles and from other information that i find from fellow followers as well as from the education blogs that I am following. A challenge that I foresee in feeding my PLN is making the information relevant and helpful to all the followers. I am excited to get to trying all of these steps and making my PLN the best it can be!

New Drill

This week for my independent learning project I chose to explore a new drill that I can practice with my horse. I wanted to do this because I my horse has been getting very anxious before our runs. When he gets anxious he likes to get tight in is muscle and become pretty unresponsive to the commands I am telling him. This in the end is a recipe for disaster.

When I am coming in to my run Reno, (my gray horse) is running very tight. He is not very free when he comes into his turns which result in us either hitting the barrel, or blowing by it and not turning it well. Below I have attached a photo of the notes that I took while learning this drill from a friend that went to a Ryan Lovendal clinic. Even though I was not at the clinic she explained this drill that she learned to the best of her ability.


This drill is to be used to free up a horses shoulder and to help them come into their turns freely and smoothly, which is exactly what my horse needs.

I this drill you need 3 barrels and they need to be set about 30 feet apart.

When doing this drill you approach the first barrel to the right after turning the first barrel smoothly you go to the next barrel and also turn it to the right. You turn each barrel as many times as it takes for your horse to relax and freely follow his nose around the barrel. After repeating the turns around each barrel successfully to the right then go to the left. During this drill you need to make sure that when you are approaching the next barrel you keep the horse’s front end up and moving forward and not ever letting them drop their shoulder on the back side. When I say “not letting them drop their shoulder on the backside” I mean keep the same distance around the entire barrel. Do not let the horse cut off or anticipate the turn.

When I first learned of this drill I really thought it sounded pretty simply. It really was not as easy for me to perform as I thought it was. It took me several times turning each barrel each way before my horse got smooth turns. In the future I hope to get videos of myself practicing these drills to upload to my blog if possible. Thanks for reading!


This was Reno after the drill getting his feet done!


Passion Based Learning

The two articles that I really enjoyed on passion based learning were “3 Questions To Drive Passion Based Learning,” by George Couros and “25 Ways to Institute Passion Based Learning,” by Sara Briggs.

I really enjoyed George’s article for many reasons. The three questions that he narrows it down to are absolutely excellent.

In the article it talks about:

“What will I learn?”

“What will I solve?”

“What will I create?”

These are the three questions that George talks about in his writing.

In the “What will I learn?” part of things George talks about his research on the importance of content in learning. He uses an example of learning to play the guitar and how basically not knowing how to play the chords would actually lead to simply mimicking playing the air guitar. You may know how to play the chords, but eventually creating music could be the goal.  What is important in this process is having the opportunity to learn something that you are interested in. If you are learning something that you are interested in you are creating passion. Content is much more engaging to explore when we are actually interested in the topic.

In the “What will I solve?” section of things George includes a very powerful quote, “Currently, the world’s education systems are crazy about problem-based learning, but they’re obsessed with the wrong bit of it. While everyone looks at how we could help young people become better problem-solvers, we’re not thinking how we could create a generation of problem finders.” This really hit home for me because it is so true. When students have the chance to try and see problems from the perspective of others, that does not help them develop as learners, but also as better people.

Lastly in the “What will I create?” section George also includes another quote ““When school leaders tell me “our school is building a $25 million Makerspace,” I am concerned that Makerspaces may exacerbate educational iniquity. While there are expensive pieces of hardware that may need to be secured, I want the bulk of making to permeate every corner of a school building and every minute of the school day. Teachers whose Makerspace is in a few cardboard boxes are doing brilliant work. Making across the curriculum means students as novelists, mathematicians, historians, composers, artists, engineers–rather than being the recipient of instruction.” Gary Stage

In conclusion after reading each section of the three questions I think students should have the opportunity something of interest to them and share it. I love that we get to do that in this class with our independent learning project, and I will definitely use the same type of activity in my future classroom. I love everything about this idea.

Image result for after school no one tells kids what to learn or do

cc-Ken Whytock

The second article that really interested me in the passion based learning section was “25 Ways to Institute Passion Based Learning,” by Sara Briggs.  There are obviously 25 ways that she includes in her article, however there are a few that i chose of my favorite.

The most important one to me is letting students share their passions. Passion is contagious. Sharing passions with each other will spread the drive to learn and excite everyone in a way to help them drive on with their passion.

Another important one to me that she listed was to view passions equally. Try not to let any bias creep into the picture when it comes to student passions. Though you may harbor a secret fondness for the student who pores over Shakespeare during your 7th grade reading period, encourage the student who brings a fly-fishing guide to class as well. Students also need to remember this when they are sharing their passions with each other.

The last one that I found important was to surround your students with passionate people. This is important for encouragement. All together I really enjoyed all of the reading on passion based learning.


Mental Game in the Rodeo World

Every little girl has an idol in their life. In my case I have many idols, some are famous and some are not famous. The one I am going to talk about today is becoming famous, very quickly. I fell honored to have had the privilege of growing up very close to her and knowing her. Throughout this project I am going to talk about many of my so called idols, because they are the ones that are the perfect image of the rodeo athlete that I want to become and that I can learn from.

Today I am going to talk about Dr. Kathy Korell-Rach. I have grown up around Kathy and have watched her since I was a little girl. She has had many great horses that have taken her huge places in the rodeo world. Growing up she had two mares named Tilly and Shine. Today shine is one of the top barrel horses in the world. Kathy and her father own the stud to many of her great horses and his name is Smokin’ Sparks. He is also becoming one of the leading barrel horse studs in the rodeo industry. I could go on and on about her, and honestly complete an independent learning project on her because she is that amazing, but this project is on becoming a better rodeo athlete so I better get to it.

My research for this week is the mental game in the rodeo world. One thing that I struggle with that really affects my ability and my performance is mental game. I get so nervous before my runs I shake, I get nauseous, I can’t breath, and my vision gets blurry. This makes me not perform to the best of my ability, it is actually a snow ball effect, my confidence levels drop for my next runs and I begin to doubt myself.

Kathy is one of the best of the best when it comes to confidence and conquering her mental game. I have researched her articles.  Any smart competitor recognizes that they have certain strengths and weaknesses. Often, we devote a great deal of attention to our problem areas, particularly if we are experiencing a slump. Of course, we do this in order to get rid of the glitch that is keeping us away from the pay window. (Getting paid to win barrel races). Kathy writes in her article that if we are thinking “do not knock the barrel down” then we are literally thinking about actually knocking the barrel down. You automatically conjure up all of the things  you do that make you knock the barrel, including thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with downing it. Kathy includes a diagram of what happens when you let your mental game down in her article: achilles heel graphics web

Rather than focusing on the barrel, try focusing on all of the things you do to have a clean run. Take a look at the diagram again, and let’s replace “Don’t hit the barrel!” with “Have a clean run.” There is a lot of information in this article that is very helpful for me. I will attach the link to the article at the end of this blog in case you are interested in reading more. She has so many good points that I have learned about that I will take to the arena with me in order to help myself with my mental game. Below is a picture of Kathy and her horse Shine.

Photo credits to, I actually retrieved this photo from her online profile after asking her, but takes the photo credit for the photo.

Here is the link to her mental game article:


TED Talk (How to Make Stress Your Friend)

After viewing a few different TED talks from the lists given in module 3 I chose ” How To Make Stress Your Friend.”

This really caught my eye for many reasons. First off, I stress about things before there is anything to even stress about. (Yes, that is possible.) I have major panic and anxiety attacks almost daily from financial situations, school, wedding planning, house buying, and more. Seeing this title really made me want to watch it, in hopes that maybe I could help myself with my stress levels a little bit.

I had to share this photo because it is how I feel right now, and relates to this blog.

The site address for this photo is

This Ted talk was a very interesting 14 minutes long and spoken by Kelly Mcgonigal. She began the speech with a study. The study took a group of people over time and related it to death. One group of people were highly stressed and had the belief that stress was bad for their health. Another group was highly stressed and did not believe that stress was bad for their health. The other group was a lightly stressed group that believed stress was bad for their health. In the end it related who died to each different group. The people with even low stress that believed it was bad for their health had a much higher death rate than that of people with super high stress levels that did not believe stress is bad for their health. This shows that if you believe stress is bad for your health, then you are more prone to dying or creating a stress induced health problem, or disease.

Stress is the 15th leading death in the world today, killing more people than skin cancer.

After the study, she went on to talk about oxytocin. Even though oxytocin is said to be the happy hormone that carries compassion, care, empathy, and feel goods, it is also a stress hormone.

She ended the discussion with another study. The study was of people ranging from 34 years old to 96 years old. They studied the stress level of people, and the amount of time people spent caring for others and compared it to their death rate. People that care for others more and spend time doing good deeds tend to have a lower stress level along with a lower death risk.

If you turn your stress into positive you can better your health. That pounding heart and sweaty brow is not stress, that is courage. Your body is giving you courage to conquer that battle. If you can turn around and view stress as helpful, then biologically you will create courage for yourself. I really enjoyed this TED talk.  This will not only start to change the way I will try to handle my stress but it will also help me to have a positive atmosphere in my classroom.