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Thanks to everyone who played along and I hope I brought some levity to your existences.  I know that I got a good chuckle out of many of the responses.


Congratulations to last week's winner - Michael Peiffer.


After the hoopla of last week, fighting a head cold this week and actually trying to teach today...  I'm bushed.  I was holding this for last, and what would a caption blog contest be without two great pictures like this??


Keep the captions coming. Take your pick this week.(I couldn't decide)  Qualify your response with #1 or  #2.  (No pun intended) Last chance.


Que sera sera - ME



I spent Teach Ag Day (the afternoon anyway) elbow deep in a couple crossbred heifers.


For us Oregon ag teachers, this week is spring break, meaning Teach Ag Day isn't being celebrated today.  However, being the resourceful group that we are, we made the best of a schedule situation and included a Teach Ag workshop at our state convention which concluded this past Monday.  The rest of spring break has been spent participating in an AI school here in our county.  Hence the heifers.


But today I thought I would share what went down in Room 76-77 at Crater High School this weekend -  50+ blue jackets and some great educators.  Oh and I was there too - in fact, I had the distinction of putting together the workshop - and truth be told - am quite proud of the team I put together - Kristina, one of my fellow teachers in the neighboring schools; Dr. Misty Lambert of OSU Ag Education; Dr. Jonathan Velez and Dr. Greg Thompson, also of OSU and the bearers of gifts this weekend; and JD, who helped plan the workshop, offered his student teacher up without telling her, but was unable to attend due to some successful kids competing in the final rounds of Ag Issues at the same time.  I always tell my kids to make sure they partner with someone smarter than they are, so I was sure to follow my own advice.


We started out by having everyone draw a picture that told the story of their favorite memory from ag class or FFA.  Having some of my own students in the room, this could have turned out much more incriminating than it did, but the results were great - proud tales of accomplishments, humorous stories involving airport patdowns, SAE experiences, and more.  A little bit of sharing proved these students truly enjoyed agriculture education.  And that future blackmail was a real possibility.


Our goal was to plant the possibility of teaching ag as a career, and to communicate the benefits of being an ag teacher, so having but an hour we boiled it down to two - being a valuable contributor to the agriculture industry, and the opportunity to foster and build relationships with others.  The first was accomplished by assigning groups a random object and mapping out its connections to agriculture.  Then everyone had to find the ways agriculture education was involved in those connections.  Secondly, teams were tasked with channeling their inner American Idol and made lists of all the songs they could think of that had to do with relationships, followed by going around the room and having to sing one line (in concert!) from each song.  Let's just say we ran out of time before we ran out of songs!


The hour ended with this summary - few people realize the impact ag teachers have; impact on our industry, and impact on students.  This influence is instrumental in helping youth discover their potential, take advantage of opportunities, and become successful leaders.  My own ag teacher, Mr. Veril Nelson, was a great influence on me (wait until you read sometime how I got this way), and the experiences I had in FFA directly impacted the many great things I have been able to be part of.  Now that I have my old ag teacher's job, it is my obligation and my joy to do the best job I can do for my students, hopefully giving them the same benefits I received.


And in many ways, on some days, I'm still the student.  Guess who was one of the instructors this week in the AI school?


Veril Nelson.


READER RESPONSE:  If you had to tell 50 students the benefits of being an ag teacher, what would you include?  Post it below!

Kellie Claflin

By choice or chance?

Posted by Kellie Claflin Mar 24, 2011

“I am an agriculture educator by chance, not choice.” –the Ag Teacher's Creed


When someone asks what I’m passionate about, it’s a simple answer. Agricultural education. Over the past couple months, I’ve been reflecting about why I chose to become an agriculture teacher. It goes back to sixth grade when we were given our choices for elective classes when we moved into the middle school. I remember picking Ag Science 3, which was a horticulture class. From there I fell in love with the fact that we were applying science concepts real-life and getting great hands-on experiences. I owe a lot to my own ag teacher, Mr. Boettcher, for providing great opportunities and being a supporter throughout my high school and college years. I feel like I’ve made a great choice!


As I write this (how I love technology!), I’m riding in a car on my way to River Falls for a meeting with fellow student teachers tomorrow on campus. A fellow student teacher and I came up with the following list of why we love coming to school every day and being involved in agricultural education. Check it out!


  • Seeing the lightbulb go on in their heads. Being able to see them make the connection and meet the objectives that you set. It’s even better to see them go a level further and use those higher-order thinking skills!
  • There’s never a dull moment. It’s an action-packed day from the moment you step in the classroom to the time you leave. Whether it’s helping FFA members get ready for a contest, planning lessons, running to get supplies or a funny moment in class, there’s always something that keeps you on your toes.
  • There are benefits to the classes you teach. Like having to taste test the projects in food science or spend time out in the greenhouse at the end of the day.
  • It’s an enjoyable to make a difference in a student’s life. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you were able to influence even just one student in a positive fashion.
  • Challenging their thoughts and getting them thinking and incorporating different learning activities to help students understand the concepts.
  • Having students open to you, whether it’s telling you about their day or about something in their life that relates to the content that you’re teaching.
  • The wide range of content areas – being able to experience everything from floriculture to food science to ag business. So cool!
  • Have to be quick on your feet because not everything goes as planned, whether it be technology, weather or
  • The people that you meet in Ag Ed are amazing. It’s such a great network! I met my best friends through Ag Ed and love knowing there are a great bunch of people that will support us new teachers as we continue our journey.
  • Every day is a new challenge.
  • The best part? Going to school each day and knowing that I wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world.


Work or Hobby?????

Posted by Jesus Trujillo Mar 24, 2011

     I began teaching in Hagerman as the agricultural education teacher January 10, 2000.  I was fresh out of college, with the experience of only my State FFA Vice President and President years and a strong ag program while I was in high school, behind me.  I was called by Mr. Steven Starkey, my former biology teacher and later high school principal of Artesia High School (16 miles south of Hagerman),  mentioning the possibility of building an Ag program in Hagerman.   Mr. Starkey said that the program had been defunct for three years, as the prior administration said there was a lack of interest in the program.   As a college student, I dreamed of one day going to a program that was in need of major repair and testing my strength and knowledge by seeing if I could accomplish the huge task; little did I know I would have the opportunity so quickly.  When I arrived, I was given an industrial arts schedule, focusing on welding and woodworking, with one beginning Ag class of six students.  The kids that were in my classes were students that had little to no pride in the public school system.  For years students had been allowed to leave this class when they wanted, smoke in the shop, dip and spit in the shop, and even on occasion the kids mentioned they would consume alcohol in the shop.  There had been little to no classroom instruction.  The struggles were even more than I expected, but, from day one, I had tremendous support from my administration, fellow teachers, and community.  I spent most of my first semester cleaning up the three inches of dirt on the shop floor, cleaning up all the cigarette butts left on the floor, throwing away the beer bottle caps, and repairing any salvageable pieces of shop equipment I could find.  Little by little I began to recruit kids into the program where after the first full year we increased our membership to 18 members.  The students and I traveled around the state to various competitions and activities, witnessing the awesome things FFA had to offer students.  We began competing in various Career Development Events building the excitement among the students and within the end of our second year we had fifty members in our FFA Chapter.  I was impressed by the number and talent of the students wanting to join our program.  We were climbing the ladder as we attracted some of the elite students of our school.  On the competition level, our students began winning some contests and representing our school to the best of their abilities.  By the conclusion of the third year we had surpassed the previous record number of FFA members in the 68 years of the program. We had also just moved into our new shop for which I was given permission to purchase all new equipment.  Today, we have increased our FFA membership to 70 FFA members and nearing 100 students in the Ag program.   We also now have two ag teachers in our department.  What the previous administration called “lack of interest” has turned to be one of the main interests in our little community.  I have truly been blessed!

  So this brings up the puzzling question: Work or Hobby?  Today, 11 years later, I truly do not feel that I go to work on a dialy basis.  I honestly feel that I have a daily opportunity to work while doing my hobby.  After the initial foundation work was set into place when I first started, the career road has been nothing but amazing.  Today I sit here writing reflecting on the joys of my job and reflecting on how blessed I am to have the career I have.  It is simply amazing to witness kids grow in their personal development.   I highly recommend the pursuit of a career as an Ag teacher!

    So.... you want to be an ag teacher? Of course you do! I can't think of a better way to spend my time and it's a career full of opportunities!  Truth is, if I think back to my ag class when I was in high school, I remember my ag teacher telling me what a great teacher I would be. My response....  NO WAY! At the time it was not even close on my radar of career choices. I had bigger and better plans. I wanted to work in a wholesale greenhouse operation and eventually open my own retail florist one day.

     Well.... here's how my story goes in the making of an AG teacher. My ag class was, of course, my favorite in high school. My first horticulture class helped me find my passion and realize my potential to be successful. I participated in Career Development Events that enhanced my skills in public speaking and the floriculture industry. In the classroom laboratory I was able to apply the science and math skills I learned but did not quite understand on the papers, in the books, and on the black boards in my other classes. In my ag class, I was learning by doing.  Seeing the application by doing the work and applying the science made the problems much easier to solve. It all seemed to make sense when there was a real world connection. My SOE Project ( I am dating myself, here!), provided me with the state star agribusiness award and the entrepreneurial skills that I would later need.

     After graduation, I attended the University of Delaware and obtained a BS in Plant Science. I was right on track as planned to land a job in the greenhouse industry. Mind you..... Mr. Walker, my ag teacher still advised that I become an ag teacher. At the time, I felt the need to fulfill my career plan and still had little interest in teaching. I landed my greenhouse management job only to find out that it was not exactly what I really wanted to do.  I moved around in the horticulture industry for about seven years. My ag advisor was never far and we always kept in touch. He would never fail to tell me, "we need good ag teachers". Eventually I decided I was tired of working for other people. I have such high expectations and I wasn't finding the career success and satisfaction that I had hoped for. I wrote a business plan, borrowed some money and sunk all of my savings into opening a retail florist. Now, I was going to make my dream come true. Well... needless to say, although successful, the floral industry is a tough business. Changing trends, increased expenses, lack of skilled employees and eight years working 60 plus hours a week without a vacation took a toll on me. It was again time to make a career change. I decided to try the wholesale floral business and worked for two years as a sales representative. It was an interesting experience, but I still was not satisfied. Next, a local garden center needed a manager and my resume fit their needs and it was another opportunity to finally reach my career goal. An offer that they could not refuse to purchase their land closed them a year after I began. Okay, okay, okay..... the words of my ag teacher kept ringing in the back of my head. "WE NEED GOOD AG TEACHERS!" So... more than fifteen years after I graduated from high school, I went back to my ag classroom and asked my ag teacher for help. Within two weeks of our meeting a teaching position opened. I remember his call, Mr. Walker said, "the perfect teaching position has opened it involves horticulture and floriculture, it is perfect for you, apply now!"  I listened to him this time and here I am! Do you believe in fate? I do. Everything happens for a reason. I finally found my true passion. Teaching AG has become the absolute best thing that has ever happened in my life. I love what I do everyday. I am able to use all of my horticulture and floriculture knowledge to help the youth of our future gain the 21st century employability skills that are needed to sustain and improve our global economy. I have greenhouses and a floriculture lab that I work in everyday. My students and I are creative and inquisitive together. We problem solve and have fun. The FFA Organization provides opportunities for travel and professional development. My passion for agriscience and the FFA Organization drives me to provide more for my students than was provided for myself. I am doing what I love and loving what I do, making a difference everyday.

     This year, I was awarded the honor of being my school district Teacher of the Year. I guess Mr. Walker was right. He saw something in me that I did not recognize. It seems ag teachers have a sixth sense for those kinds of things.  Remember.... "we need good ag teachers", make the choice and find your success and satisfaction in life. Life as an ag teacher is highly recommended!

The day I graduated high school I told everybody I knew the one thing that I never wanted to do was be an agriculture teacher. I said it with certainty that I had a different plan for my life. I loved politics, government and law. I had no patience and I saw that my agriculture teacher lived her job and couldn't see what might be rewarding about that.


Four years passed and I had received my bachelors in political science, enrolled in a master's in public administration and received a phone call from my agriculture teacher. She was in need of a long term substitute. Seems the guy she hired met a girl over the internet and after six weeks he quit and ran off to be married.  She was asking me to be her long term substitute. I knew nothing about teaching!! I had put on workshops at leadership conferences during college but never worked in a classroom. Because I would do anything for my agriculture teacher I said yes......little did I know this would change my life forever. I taught for for years, earned the necessary teaching credentials and fell in love with teaching. Worried that I might regret not finishing my other goals I quit and returned to politics for a year.......I missed the students. I suddenly realized there is nothing on this earth that you could do for a job that would be as personally rewarding as watching kids succeed.


My life took another turn when I took the job I currently have at Buena Park in 2006. It is kind of a funny story. I had quit my last teaching job because my high school had decided they wanted me to teach five periods of history and no agriculture, I decided that was not happening. I figured five years teaching - probably not meant to be and I was headed back to politics.  My phone began ringing off the hook. They needed an ag teacher at Buena Park. I tried for various reasons to turn the job down four times. I finally came to an interview two days before school started only to have them say: "What do we have to do to get you to take this job" I told them they were crazy, I had never run a department on my own, let alone one in trouble, such as this one. They were so supportive and convincing I said yes.


Five years later I can honestly say that has been the best decision of my entire life, aside from my husband! I found my home at Buena Park. The program has taken off from the measley 65 kids to the projected enrollment next year of 544 in five years! We have completely remodeled the facility, added classes that earn college credits, and garnered numerous awards. The experience has been AMAZING!!!! One of my proudest moments has been when I was recognized as State Star Advisor last year. On teach ag day every year I share this story with my students. I take the time to encourage them to be open-minded to their career opportunities and remind them that if I hadn't been open-minded I wouldn't be here and life for me would probably have been very different.  When exploring your career opportunities - say YES when a door opens you never know what you will find!!!

Matt Eddy

Teach Ag Day Safari

Posted by Matt Eddy Mar 23, 2011

How will I spend my Teach Ag Day? -- doing what I try to do every day -- Have fun and see if I can't make a difference.  Oh yah -- and a Field Trip!


As per usual, my greenhouse operation class takes our annual field trip to Swifts Greenhouse in Marshalltown (Gilman, really, but you can't find that on the map).  They are a great company with many types of perennials and annuals in 7+ acres of greenhouses.  My students get the grand tour, see all aspects of a fully functioning - all encompassing Greenhouse production facility, and see a little bit of why we do what we do in our greenhouse.  The kids have a good time and when we are finished we pick up some plants for our greenhouse - saving our shipping costs.


So, unfortunately - I have no huge extravaganza planned, no 5 piece band set up in the commons and no tickertape parade around the halls of the school in rolling desk chairs.


I guess tomorrow will be not much different than every other day -- but after all -- Shouldn't EVERYDAY be 'Teach Ag Day'?


Some past years photo's:

Swifts Greenhouse 2.JPGSwifts Greenhouse 20.JPG

Swifts Greenhouse 08 69.JPG

Swifts tour 2007 16.JPG

Finally - its spring (although we celebrated with 4 inches of snow this morning) and the steel has risen! On our new building that is! The best was that, since we were on spring break last week when the steel went up so this week our students returned and are very excited to finally see progress.


We have lots to celebrate as our team returned from a great trip to Joliet to attend the PLANET Student Career Days event. Similar to to the FFA CDEs, the Career Days combines skill and written tests with a Career fair, workshops, and seminars. We have been participating for 8 years and our students have always made us proud. Over 1000 students from both 2 and 4 year colleges from across the United States attend. Our students participated in skid steer operation paver installation, wood construction. landscape design, Woody Plant Id, Leadership Skills, Sales, and more. Many placed in the upper 10% in their events. Our Landscape Plant Installation Team placed 7th - out of 60 teams from across the country in that event alone. They networked and learned and survived the 12.5 hour drive with great stories to tell.


For me it seems so appropriate that, as we celebrate the great profession of agriculture teaching, here on our campus we are celebrating agricultural education with the commitment to our new building - it has been a long time in coming - but, when done, will mean so much to our students. It is an exciting time - not just because of the new building but because of what it represents - a new era and focus for us. Our "green" building with its geothermal heat, rain water harvesting, solar panels, and green roof will be the centerpiece of a curriculum designed to prepare students for the future - for careers and opportunities that I may not be able to name just yet but that I know are coming. Its is as exciting a time as I have experienced as an agriculture teacher - and the opportunities are there for all - what a great time to become an ag teacher.

Matt Eddy

Did you read this? Week #4

Posted by Matt Eddy Mar 21, 2011

Okay -- next last one.  You can't win if you don't play.


Congratulations to Wes Crawford -- it really needs no explaination.


My spring break was slow and drawn out.  Pretty relaxing.  I spent a few days with my sick 4 year old and got caught up on Curious George and assorted Pixar movies.  So I didn't get anything accomplished in my ag room, but funny enough, it was still here when I got back. 


Here you go. (and yes, they are freshman)

CASE 3.1.2 AFNR  11.JPG

I hope you all have a great spring break and enjoy the time away --- or in my case, enjoy catching up in the Ag Dept.


Congratulations to this weeks winner: Joni Fields


It's getting tougher and your getting more creative -- I love it.

Honorable Mentions to Melanie Bloom, Ellen Thompson.

Special Mention to Robin McLean for the most proper agricutural terms interspersed in her caption.


Just one winner, but they were some ones that especially got me giggling at my computer, so I guess that makes us all winners.


Here is this week's photo:

Landscape Bricks 6.JPG

Apparently I am an opportunistic blogger.  The last couple weeks CoP has been buzzing with dozens of posts daily.  Today, quite a bit less.  So I guess I'll post something now so it doesn't get lost in the crowd.


Last time I figured everyone was celebrating National FFA Week.  Clearly today everyone is busy partying over pi.  Yes pi.  Did you not know today was Pi Day?  According the news article I read wile putting off getting the day started, March 14th has been so named by a group of scientists and mathematicians about 20 years ago.  If you haven't figured out why yet maybe this will help:  3/14.  Don't get it yet?  Don't feel bad, it took my 6th period five minutes to understand.  I finally wrote it the date this way:  3.14.11.  Then I erased the 11 and they go it.  The response?  "Oh no!  Math!"


Raise your hand if you're an educator/anybody in the world and have heard some youth state those exact three words/said them yourself.  I thought so.  But I was patient:  I returned that in fact math was around because of agriculture.  In fact, everything was because of ag.  The chorus section:  "Nuh-uh!"  Oh dear.


Of course it is, I counseled.  The evidence is undeniable.  Let us begin the history of agriculture and it inevitably leading to today's education.


Step 1:  Once upon a time people couldn't sleep.  All they could visualize were sheep running amok and getting stuck on their backs.  Eventually they learned to count the sheep to fall asleep.  Math was born.


Step 2:  A young man's dad left so many chores for him to do before noon he couldn't remember them all.  Therefore he had to be able to leave a list of what cows to feed and which fields to weed.  Writing was invented.  Reading took a while longer.


Step 3:  Old men would drink coffee and argue over who had to take care of the larger piece of property.  Finally they had to come up with way to measure their farms.  Acres were created.  It was eventually mispelled and became area.  Math expanded into geometry.


Step 4:  Every 20 years ago it seemed everyone would start making the same mistakes over again.  They would run out of water in dry years because they didn't save any, cows would get the same problems, nations would invade each other for natural resources, and the corn futures would jump way up to "never-gonna-go-down" levels before crashing.  So they started writing this stuff down.  History began.


Step 5:  Eventually travel became more common.  Chicken ranchers could  interact with pig farmers.  But how many chickens did it take to trade  for a pig?  Exchange rates were decided, and business was invented.


Step 6:  Folks couldn't depend on the pea crop.  Sometimes they were yellow, sometimes they were green; sometimes they were tall, sometimes they were short.  Finally some monk got curious as to why.  Genetics was born.


And so on...


Obviously education has much to thank agriculture for.  Perhaps some of these examples are tongue-in-cheek, but the principle is sound.  We assume everyone knows what we know - 'core content' such as math, writing, reading, and science are inherent components of agricultural education that we reinforce and make real for students.  However, many students can 'do ag' all day long and not even realize they are using math, writing, reading, and science - as long as you don't mention those words.  Providing those real world connections are crucial for not only our students' understanding in every classroom, but in validating our programs to our school administrations.  Don't be afraid to point it out as it happens!


And by all means, have some pi today.



READER RESPONSE:  Add to the Steps above with your own anecdotal, imperical, or blatantly blarney-stone-inspired evidence of how agriculture led to education - just add a comment below!


Posted by Catherine DiBenedetto Mar 13, 2011

I just returned from San Francisco, CA where I had the opportunity to attend the NSTA conference (National Science Teacher Association). If you are not an NSTA member, you should be. There is a discount for membership through NAAE. Check with your state association and they should be able to help provide information for obtaining membership. As a National Agriscience Ambassador, I have attended the conference and presented DuPont sponsored inquiry based learning workshops for the past two years. Our goal is to help increase inquiry in classrooms through agriscience related topics using Lab Aids materials. We are helping science teachers understand that agriscience is the application of the science they are teaching. NSTA provides numerous resources and information that is relevant to the agriscience curriculum. I come home with timely and useful information, bags of resources and new ideas that helps ignite a renewed energy to keep me going for the remainder of the year. I meet many teachers from across the nation and I leave them with ideas to go back to their homes and work with their Ag departments. When we collaborate we can help solve the challenges within the global economic system that we embark upon together.  Check it out and begin your plans to attend next year. The NSTA conference will be held in Indianapolis,Indiana in 2012, a familiar place to many of us!

Off to a running start -- let's keep it up kids.  Remember to keep it Internet appropriate.


Congratulations to last weeks winner: (Drumroll) Julie Fritsch.


Julie is a winner of a fantastic SE Polk FFA T-shirt -- just email my your size and mailing address to send the shirt.




Now for next weeks picture and I look forward to reading the captions.


Remember -- we will only do this for the month of March.  Get your entries in soon - I have lots of great prizes in the back of my closets.


2006 County Fair 35.JPG

That is right ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls alike, I have found it to be a good idea to chase down this field of Ag Ed and have not turned back since. I am actually getting to practice what it means to be an Ag teacher. I have come along way from being a suburban kid with to much time on his hand and swore up and down that I was going to be the next Jerry Seinfeld. But then I found a love that has yet to let me down. Agriculture. You see I wasn't as privileged as some of you folks who were raised in an agriculture background, but I knew that I loved the outdoors. I knew that cutting grass was not a chore, but rather an art and it was from here I began to explore the big world of agriculture and the FFA. Fast forward and through 3 years of life changing Ag courses in high school, and I had one of those "duh huh" moments. I must share this big world of agriculture to the other suburbanites that I once was closely associated with. I must tell them of this magical field where you don't have to be in an office, you don't have to get stuck in a cubicle and you can actually do something physically constructive. Fast forward again 4 years of butt kicking college and here I am standing in front of a classroom, and to be honest, it is surreal that I am actually putting all of those facts and test and training to work. I am currently a "tAGpole". Get it? It took me 3 weeks to come up with that joke. But in all seriousness teaching has been so much fun, but has managed to kill off a creature that was rampant in my life. Free Time. But that is for the best, because in that boredom is no longer an issue. For those unaware (which basing off my audience here you are all to aware) teaching has been a host for the most rewarding and frustrating moments in my entire existence on this beautiful Earth. I get to help students reach that epiphany and I can watch those gears start turning and connections being made. I also have seen the challenges that come along with this occupation. It is no cake walk, but its all I would ever want to do. As the AGbassador (that one is only a week old) of the South, I wish Y'all a great week, and I am excited to join the ranks of the Educators of Agriculture.


Posted by Jesus Trujillo Mar 1, 2011

Breakfast.jpgAg Awareness.jpgGames.jpg 

          Appreciation Breakfast               Ag Awareness Day                          Ag Games


     One of the highlights of my year as an Ag teacher is FFA Week.  It is awesome to see the students focus on promoting their organization throughout the week.  This year we had a remarkable week as we kicked the week off with our District Public Speaking Contest on Monday.  On Tuesday we participated in Official Dress Day as we wore official dress to school as an entire FFA chapter.  Wednesday we started the day off early as our members started cooking breakfast for all of our teachers and staff.  The students prepared an amazing breakfast that included pancakes, eggs, bacon , sausage, and all of the fixings.  Thursday, we participated in our Ag Awareness Day, a day focused on our third grade classes, teaching them all about our agriculture products and where they were grown.  Finally, on Friday the entire high school and middle school participated in our Ag Games.  The students truly loved every minute about FFA Week.

     FFA Week allows us as Ag teachers to reflect on the amazing benefits that our job has to offer.  FFA week allows me personally to reflect on the true passion I have for my kids and appreciate the wonderful job I have teaching Agricultural Education and FFA.

Matt Eddy

Did you read this? Week #1

Posted by Matt Eddy Mar 1, 2011

I'm bored -- Let's play a game.  Each week during March, I will (try) to post a picture that you can reply with creative captions too.


I would tell you there would be a prize for the best caption, but I would be lying.  Frankly, you should just enjoy the fun, not be so competitive.


Tell you what -- I will scrounge something up here to award the best caption -- I changed my mind -- sue me.  My game, my rules.


Have fun ---  Remember - hit reply and leave your most creative (and appropriate) caption.


Week #1

2006 Floriculture CDE 16.JPG

Kellie Claflin

Life is good

Posted by Kellie Claflin Feb 28, 2011

?"I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it." -Groucho Marx


I’m hitting the point in the semester that I’m realizing I’m tired. Who would’ve thought student teaching would be so exhausting and I feel like I’m not even doing as much as I could! The fabulous thing part is that I am absolutely loving my experience. Even when things don’t go quite as well as I would like them to, I reflect and strive to do better the next time.


And things definitely don’t always turn out the way you want. It doesn’t matter if it’s students, administration, parents, animals, technology, your hair… you get the point. J The main thing is to not be reactive. I remember in middle school taking a class based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and shaking up pop bottles and opening them to demonstrate a reactive personality. With all the things that go on in the day of a life of an ag teacher, there is no time to be reactive. You simply have to go with the flow. Learn from each experience, have a good laugh and move on.


This morning when I woke up I was uncharacteristically happy and excited for the day. Not normal for a Monday. Also, the gloomy winter weather had been wearing down on me and I hadn’t been finding too many positive things to think about over the weekend. J But it was sunny, there were good tunes playing and a good dose of coffee. What else does one need, right? Once I got to school, my positive attitude paid off. I had one of the best days in the classroom to date. In vet science, students researched background information and pros and cons on spaying and neutering. They then presented the information to their classmates. They will then use the information to write a letter to a friend to persuade them to spay/neuter their pet. Not only did I feel comfortable with the class, but more than one student said that they learned something! Who would’ve thought? J


Life is good. Be happy.

A typical day in my classroom involves as much "fun" learning as possible, but even the best teachers must admit, it can be difficult to keep students engaged everyday, bell to bell. Ag teachers generally teach 3, 4, 5 or more preps and lesson planning is very time consuming. My lessons include a variety of hands-on activities that differentiate instruction to match learning styles and help students see the connections to the real world. I work very hard to plan lessons that will actively engage students, keep them on task and interested in the material. However, I still find that some students always seem to slack off, forget to finish assignments, turn them in incomplete or never have pictures for their SAE projects! Hmmmmmmmmm. What is an Ag teacher to do? Well, I decided to try a rather simple change that has yielded success. I brainstormed an idea to help keep my students working and completing assignments. What do I call it?  Fun Fridays!   What is it? It is, as I mentioned a very simple change. I plan to have a fun activity on Friday that relates to the current teaching unit in each class.Usually something that is very hands-on and gives me an opportunity to assess performance and understanding of the previous material. For example: Floriculture I - Unit: Principles of Floral Design. This past Friday students designed a triangle arrangement using the knowledge they gained from the previous unit. Example #2- Horticulture I- Components of Soil/Media. Students developed an experiment using various soil components to determine the best combination for seed germination. So you are thinking big deal, these are activities that we would normally complete within the unit anyway. For some reason, kids just like the idea that it is "Fun Friday" and they get the opportunity to do something fun and different at the end of the week that completely applies to the lesson. So what's the hitch? In order for "Fun Fridays" to occur, the majority of all of the work, from all of the students in the class must be completed and turned in by the end of class on every Thursday. What are the results? Well.... I have noticed a decrease in late work and incomplete assignments. Students are working together to help each other stay on task and we are having a great deal of FUN on Fridays! It may be just a simple play on words, but it is keeping my students on task and working to obtain a reward ( an educational reward no less! ) on Friday. Simple, yet successful!

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