About Ms. Ridal

Education changes slowly, one dried up overhead marker at a time, yet the world spins ahead, taking gigabyte leaps every second. We’ve all seen gaggles of videos awakening us to globalization, new gadgets, and neologisms. Have you “Googled” someone lately? Many educators are fairly unaware of what is available to them, let alone know how to apply technology in their classrooms. Students, while some may be “techno-savvy,” are in fact unsure of how to utilize technology for self-learning. My goal is to change how teachers and students think about utilizing technology for learning and exploring language arts.

Before I was a teacher, I was a journalist — a news editor technically. I did copy editing and page design for two newspapers, The Charlotte Sun-Herald (Port Charlotte, Fla.) and The Bradenton Herald. I felt something was missing, so I took a course called “Making Reading Happen” at USF with Dr. Golub and fell in love with teaching.

My first teaching gig was at Manatee High School. Where  I was first-year teacher, it was the school’s first year with Apple’s 1-to-1 initiative, and each of their roughly 2,000 students were given take-home iBooks. I had quickly had to learn how to incorporate technology into my fledgling curriculum. From those three years I developed engaging, high-tech activities for my students. I presented my techie ideas at the Tampa Bay Area Writing Project’s fall 2007 conference and at FCTE’s fall conference that same year and won the Jean Stallings Award for my presentation.

I left the southwest coast of Florida for the Miami area a few years ago and transitioned from public schools to charter schools. At Doctors Charter School in Miami Shores, I started a school newspaper called The Talon and I spruced up their butterfly garden while I was co-advisor for the Green Club. I left DCS for Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines, another charter school, where I was the yearbook advisor last year.

I feel like (to borrow a bad cliche) a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none, because I have taught Intensive Reading, Writing I-II, newspaper Journalism I-V, English II, English III, English III Honors, SAT Prep, Business English, middle school Critical Thinking Skills, middle school Journalism, and yearbook Journalism I-II. For 2010-11, add middle school and high school Speech & Debate. Did I mention that this will be my 7th year teaching?

Save your sanity/time and steal my stuff — hidden in those downloads are an infinite number of hours, backaches, and neck strains! Please benefit from my sleepless nights creating hundreds of gigabytes worth of material for the 123456789 preps I’ve taught! If you don’t take my material I will feel my efforts have been in vain, buried in folders-within-folders-within-mystery-files on my MacBook Pro.

Seriously though, please enjoy my materials and my odd sense of humor. I hope you find something on this site that will encourage you to explore technology in the classroom and have fun while doing so.

One Response to About Ms. Ridal

  1. Kelly S says:

    Hi! I’m a brand-new journalism teacher and I’m absolutely obsessed with the materials from your materials page. I was unable to open a few of them (news criteria and the two rubrics). I would love if you could send them to me! If you could, send them to both my school e-mail and my home e-mail (krsereikas@gmail.com). Thank you so very much!

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