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Matt Eddy

Addiction?

Posted by Matt Eddy Oct 28, 2011

Is teaching Ag addictive?  Should there be a surgeon general warning on the door to my classroom?  Addiction is the only plausible answer to my madness.

 

I'm brandishing some 'Blink 182' at an awfully high volume right now so this blog could be different: Caveat Emptor....

 

10% of this job creates 90% of my headaches, I swear... and ironically enough its the 10% I can't control, influence, or use a cattle prod to get moving... Sigh

 

It's been an interesting week on the other 90%.  We did some great agar bacteria plates in Animal Science -- the kids liked the scenarios in CASE Animal Science 3.3.2.  We had some good nastiness growing already today and it makes a good example for biosecurity on a farm, greenhouse, or food processing facility.  The point gets driven home pretty well, I think.

 

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National Convention was a blast and I now suffer from the unavoidable hangover of returning to the real world.  See the above 10/90 rule.  We probably had as good a National Convention has we have ever had.  First two American Degree's in chapter history, Vivian was an Agriscience Star Over America, my principal flew out to be with us Friday night and Saturday morning (re-affirming that I will miss our current administration if they leave), a great group of 10 chapter members who were the most well behaved and exciting group to work with during our trip. I just wish I could live in that world all the time...

 

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My Horticulture class is creating a hydroponics unit and another group is creating an aeroponics set-up.  Props to Tom Murray at North Linn, Iowa for the idea and getting us started down this road.  Should prove interesting and hopefully educational.

 

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Well, 'Skid Row' brings me to the completion of another week.  Maybe a restful weekend, a good Game 7 tonight and I'll feel like taking another crack at this thing on Monday.

 

Have a great weekend.

I can't believe we are ready to depart for National FFA Convention again.  Seems like just yesterday we were at the last one.  I, for one, love to return to the mothership with 55,000 of my closets friends and students.  Something about that convention gets me excited for the possibilities... "I Believe" and "Infinite Potential" have been some very appropriate themes.

 

This past week has sped along faster than I thought that it should, but I suppose as jammed packed as it was makes for speedy days.  Which leads us to sliding into this week with the tires smoking and a small fire under the dash.

 

Yesterday we went out to work cows to get ready for the breeding season.  We had some special guests this time, as a few of my students were hosting an exchange trip of French students and their instructors here at the school this week.  I'm not sure if it's keeping up foreign relations, but several of them came out to the farm with us and helped work the ALC cows.  They were very interested in what we were doing, but I also think it was a bit more 'involved' than they were looking for.

 

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A new set of kids in Advanced Animal Science means a new set of "Greenhands" to break in.  This group looks to be better than the last, albiet a bit niave about the whole process. But I think that's what makes it fun.

 

As we head off to National FFA this week, I hope to blog a bit about our trip and the great opportunties we will have.  I'm looking forward to the Reindeer farm tomorrow... I hear they have a pumpkin cannon....

 

 

 

As always, follow the fun on Twitter @AgEd4ME

Wes Crawford

"Cross-Curricular?"

Posted by Wes Crawford Oct 5, 2011

An interesting conversation happened in the staff room today.  First of all, if you are an ag teacher at a typical high school, one of two things is true:  you at least somewhat enjoy your colleagues and eat there every day (and therefore stay in the loop), or your staff room is a dark pit of negativity, whining, pessimism, four-more-synonyms-for-bad, and in general a place you avoid like eight more pages of paperwork.

 

I fall into category one at the moment.

 

At any rate, we sat enjoying the 30-minute duty-free respite when the conversation moved to our Spanish teacher.  He is planning to take a year off next year to teach English in Chile or Ecuador.  He turned to me and said “We should do a cross-curricular project, and you should come too.  You can teach about agriculture, and I’ll translate.”

 

The conversation quickly caught fire.  He continued, “Sue (biology teacher) can come too, and explain how the deforestation of the rainforest for agriculture/development is ruining the environment.”

 

Momentum built.  The biology teacher chipped in, “Ron (office systems instructor) can teach them about the technology to do it.”  The chemistry teacher followed, "And we can test the chemicals and pH too."

 

Not to be left out, the English teacher jumped in last: “And I can have them write about it!”

 

The conversation wandered from there, but I found the whole chain of events intersting and even humorous.  Not because of the idea of all of us traveling through South America smacked of a National Lampoon’s vacation movie, but because this fanciful ‘cross-curricular’ project involving six teachers of different subject matter is already happening.  In most ag rooms.

 

Agriculture science & technology students are learning many aspects and practices of agriculture, but also are discussing the environmental impacts, investigating the results using some of the most advanced technology available, and communicating it to others through presentations, posters, speeches, and the written word.  It would seem that, from our point of view, this innovative ‘cross-curricular’ endeavor is nothing more than our second period.


This makes me ask the question – if we are doing such across-the-spectrum learning, am I doing a good job of engaging my fellow teachers in doing so, as they are offer a great deal of experience and expertise when it comes to these areas?  Not only would this potentially benefit my students, but it would also help other faculty understand what it is we are doing exactly in those ‘ag classes’.  This is something we could each do to help develop our students as well as market and enrich our programs.

 

And maybe I’ll stop being described as a teacher of ‘playing with lambs and cows and stuff.’  By why ruin that kind of reputation.

 

 

READER RESPONSE:  have you ever had a student say "You made (math, science, English, stoichiometry) seem so much easier!"?  Sometimes it just takes a different approach - share some examples of reinforcing or tieing in other subjects in the comments!

Matt Eddy

4 am and where is the bus?

Posted by Matt Eddy Oct 5, 2011

The most common question that was asked yesterday by my kids -- to me and to each other -- What time did you get up?  My response and my volley in return.

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Northwest Missouri State University's Fall CDE day is about as perfect as you can get.  If there is any way to make it better, I'm not sure what it would be.  Rod Barr and his crew do an excellent job of making the 11+ contests run off without a hitch.  Not only that but I can't help but be excited to involve as many students as wants to attend at one event.  Even if I have to get up well before I'm ready too to make it happen.

 

Dairy Cattle, Dairy Foods, Livestock, Horse, Nursery/Landscape, Floriculture -- and those were only the ones I had kids interested in.  It's great to see so many be excited about the possibilities of agricultural careers.

 

Keeping a herd of high school kids interested is tough indeed, but getting them on a bus at 5 am is a testament to their willingness to learn in a contextual environment.

 

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"No one should be more interested in your education than YOU are" is something I hit them with in-between lesson plans, assignments, and class updates.

 

Today, it seemed they took that to heart.

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