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Jessie Lumpkins

"I Wanna Be a Teller"

Posted by Jessie Lumpkins Sep 27, 2012

My mom loves to tell the story of when I was very young and standing in line with her at the bank. I looked to her and said,

"Momma, I wanna be a teller."

"A bank teller, and work at a bank like this?"

"No Momma, I wanna tell people what to do."

Every time I hear that story, I think about how funny it is that I became a teacher. When I'm not "telling" my students what they need to know to be career ready, I look forward to telling you all about my experiences as one of the Day in the Life of an Ag Teacher bloggers.


I'm Jessie Hartle (pronounced as HART-lee, although I'm frequently and loudly referred to by my students as "Ms. Hart-ull") I'm 25 and in my 4th year teaching agriculture at rural Page High School in Franklin, Tennessee (about 30 minutes south of Nashville). The town itself is historical and relatively urban, but PHS is on the outlying country area that has an odd combination of students from both well-off and low-income families. PHS is a Blue Ribbon School and has been named to both Newsweek and the US Today's lists of the top high school in the United States. Our facilities are pretty old (built in 1973), and we are literally the only thing aside from houses and farms in this area. That leads to a pieced-together but somehow successful school of about 830 students.

Williamson County is home to many famous country music stars- Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and George Jones are just a few. Middle Tennessee is well known for hosting both the Walking Horse Capitol of the World, and the Nursery Capitol of the World. Many of my students show livestock or want to be a veterinarian when they "grow up". My program has tailored itself to meet these needs over the past few years, moving from a plant science based curriculum to one with Vet Science, Small Animal Care, Livestock Management, and Agriscience courses. I'm very hopeful that in the coming weeks I will get the go-ahead to turn my dilapidated old shop into an animal lab...but that's a story for another day.


All 88 students enrolled in the courses also become FFA members (as we affiliate our membership now). Our FFA chapter has won 4 state titles and elected 2 state officers since I've been at the helm. As a past Tennessee state officer, I'm always passionate about involving my students not just in the classroom, but in the FFA as well. My goals are always high when it comes to the FFA; are they always met? No- there are plenty of days when we walk away without a win or something goes wrong and I think, "I know we can do better." What I've realized is that list of goals I made many years ago for my career can't be accomplished in 1, 2, or even 5 years. I have progressed into a much more patient person because of it...which is also a story for another day.


My 2012-13 chapter officers during our retreat at Camp Clements Leadership Camp in Doyle, TN

I grew up in the country (about an hour north of where I now teach) and raised chickens, and knew from the first year enrolled in agriculture that this could not be just a 4 year experience for me. I graduated in 2009 from Middle Tennessee State University: Go Blue Raiders! Just because you may not have heard of it doesn't mean we aren't big time here in Tennessee- MTSU boasts the largest undergraduate enrollment in the state (yes, bigger than any school you know that wears bright orange.)


Me in 2002 before the state Creed CDE. The hair, the braces, the orange and purple jacket... *cringe*

Once I (finally) leave school and head home to Nashville, I like to bake and do other crafty things. I embrace my Southern roots and thoroughly enjoy NASCAR. Shout out to all the Texas and Oklahoma ag teachers- I love red dirt country music, especially Stoney LaRue. I collect owls (of course) and soil from anywhere I travel. (Feel free to send me some!)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the many topics that surprise, excite, frustrate, or confound us. In the meantime, you can find me on Twitter @JessieHartle, and can catch up with my FFA members at

"The secret of success is to make your vocation your vacation." - Mark Twain

Lets Talk CHINO!

Posted by Patrick Wellert Sep 27, 2012

Hey everyone!


I am Patrick Wellert and I am the advisor for Chino Valley FFA and agricultural instructor at Chino Valley High School. I have taught at this school since college graduation for the last 11 years! I really love my job and working with the students here. Our town is still strong in agriculture but like many areas that is giving way to urban development. We have a lot of new homes that have been built in the last few years and it should resume again once teh economy bounces back. One of our larger markets is retail and we have a lot of people that commute to the nearby town of Prescott. Chino Valley FFA has a lot of fun and I am attaching a picture of our recent trip to the State FFA Leadership Conference where we had a state finalist in speaking and agriscience fair state winners as well. The gal pictured recently graduated and texted me that her college professors are teaching her what she learned in my ag class and in her speech which made me feel pretty awesome!



My name is Patrick Wellert and I will be just blogging about the day today!


I was evaluated by my admin today and man was it exciting! I was demoing website and having students manage their SAEs. It was really important for me to remember to check for understanding during the lesson. I did thsi by using mini whitebaords that the students each had. I also had them do the thumbs up and down method!


I also just got done discussing with a student their leadership role in the FFA program and how they need to be a good example of what an FFA student should be to the younger members sharing lunch with him. (He was using the air hose in the shop to make funny faces with)


Well lunch is over will blog later! Remember  to make time for your family and to have fun at what you do!



Gettin' Techie With It

Posted by Tiffany Morey Sep 25, 2012

I've decided to devote this blog post to one of my favorite things about teaching (besides ag of course): technology! Anymore, it seems as if our students' lives are controlled by their access to technology, and we are constantly competing for their attention over that of their electronic devices. I've adopted a policy that if I can't beat em' ('em being electronic devices and technology), then I might as well join 'em and make 'em an educational part of my classroom.


I am very fortunate in the fact that I teach in a school with a 1:1 laptop program. In the beginning the students absolutely LOST THEIR MINDS when they finally got their very own, brand new MacBook Pro laptop that was theirs to do whatever they wanted with (so they thought). What they imagined would be a dream school day of nothing but using their laptops to Facebook their friends, update their Twitter and Tumblr, watch YouTube video after YouTube video, listen to music on iTunes, and take endless pictures of themselves using Photo Booth, turned out to be a jolt back to reality when they learned that teachers could track their every move and freeze their computer screen when they got caught in the act. We as teachers had to learn how to incorporate the laptops into our classrooms quite quickly if we were going to stay one step ahead of the students and teach them to use their computers responsibly. I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon, and my students soon leaned that if they brought their laptop to ag class, they were going to be expected to use it for educational purposes.


I started off with an experimental online CASE Plant Science class on Moodle to see if the students could handle doing all of their work on the computer and not on paper. It turned out that the students loved being able to complete all of their CASE work (including tests and quizzes) on the laptops, and bugged me to keep it going. Not only were they responsible about keeping track of all of their assignments and completing them, but they were also on top of making sure they were e-mailed in on time. The quality of their work improved, and formerly disorganized students no longer had to worry about losing their papers before they made it into their binders. This year, all of my CASE courses are paperless and online, and the student response continues to be nothing but positive!


My students have also gotten pretty proficient in using their laptops for creating presentations and FFA promotional materials. Prezi and Glogster have replaced the need for Powerpoint and posters, and iMovie is a great tool for making videos for our FFA chapter. Students have even gone so far as to create their own ag science rap songs using GarageBand! We are able to display all of these computer based forms of student work on the digital bulletin boards in the school hallways. In addition, we have also experimented with iPads when we can get the school iPad cart, and have found quite a few apps that serve as great additions to CASE activities. Our students aren't allowed to have their phones in class, or I would find ways to incorporate them as well. Needless to say, technology has become the norm in my ag science classroom, and I am always searching for ways to find new and exciting ways to use it!


This coming Friday is the NJ Fall Ag Educators' Conference. I have been asked to facilitate a discussion on technology in the ag ed classroom along with Robin McLean, who happens to be an awesome ag teacher and a regular here on CoP. We have come up with a list of technology resources that we use regularly in our classrooms, which can be seen here:


Beyond Paper and Powerpoint


However, we know that there are tons of other great resources out there and were wondering if you would be willing to share some of your favorites with us so that we can add them to the list. Feel free to leave them in a comment or to e-mail them to me at We are hoping that if we make the list extensive enough, every participant in our session will be able to walk away with something new to try. We thank you in advance and can't wait to see your favorite resources!


Look for S'Morey from me soon, and I hope everyone has a great week! In the meantime, feel free to follow me in the Twitterverse at @MsMTeachesAg.



Greetings from the great garden state of New Jersey! My name is Tiffany Morey and I am excited and honored to have been named one of the new A Day in the Life of an Ag Teacher bloggers! I can't wait to share my adventures and experiences as an ag teacher with everyone for the next year, and I know it is going to be a great opportunity!


I'd like to use this blog post to introduce myself to everyone. I am the single agricultural science teacher for the Essex County Vocational Technical School District, which is in northern New Jersey, and I just started my third year of teaching. My program is based at the West Caldwell Tech campus and we were just named a Blue Ribbon School on September 7th. My school is located about 25 miles from New York City and most of my students are minorities who come from the city of Newark and the urban towns that surround it. My district might seem like an odd location for an agricultural science program because there isn't a single farm in our entire county and none of the students come from an agricultural background, but the program has been going strong since its inception in 1976. The focus of the program switched from horticulture, greenhouse production, and floral design to CASE when I started, and since that time, enrollment and student interest has been steadily increasing. I currently offer CASE AFNR,  CASE Plant Science, and CASE Animal Science (which is new this year), and we use the greenhouse to grow herbs and vegetables for the school's culinary arts program.  The addition of Animal Science is a big step for the program, and so far the student response to the class has been nothing but positive.  In addition to CASE, we have a small, but very active FFA chapter, and we can been seen at almost every state level event throughout the school year. This year should be especially exciting because the officer team is very enthusiastic and has lots of great ideas!


I am proud graduate of Cook College (the ag school at Rutgers University, where I received my BS in Animal Science, and the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, which is where I got my Masters in Agricultural and Science Education.  Teaching ag wasn't originally what I set out to do, but deciding to pursue it as a career was one of the best decisions I've ever made. This past summer I branched out and pursued some new professional opportunities. I had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country, meet some great fellow ag teachers, and was able to work for my alma mater in developing online courses.  I also got my first taste of failure when one of my new ventures didn't work out quite the way I planned, and learned some tough, but necessary lessons that have made me a much better and stronger educator. My experiences made me realize how much I LOVE being an ag teacher, and by the end of the summer, I was ready to get back into the classroom and apply all of the new things I had learned. I have big plans for this year, and I know it is going to be my best one yet!


When I'm not in the classroom, I can usually be found outdoors. I am an avid cyclist and runner and am currently training to run my third half marathon this November as part of "NJ Team Ag Ed". I was born and raised in southern New Jersey, where my family has a small horse farm about 15 minutes from the beach. As a result, the beach is one of my favorite places to spend my time, and I try to get there as much as possible. I also love horses and have an KY bred Thoroughbred named Simon who I got off the track five years ago. He's a bit of a tough cookie with a quirky personality, but we make a good team and I wouldn't trade him for the world. I'm also very close with my family and try to get home to visit them (and Simon) whenever my schedule allows. The move to north Jersey after finishing college and grad school wasn't what I planned and was a bit of a culture shock, but it was worth it because I have a job that I absolutely love!


I hope that everyone has a great weekend and feel free to leave a comment introducing yourself! I am looking forward to connect with as many of you as possible as part of my blog. Look for my next post sometime next week when I will give you "S'Morey" about my life as an ag teacher!



Greetings and Salutations!


This homecoming week is brought to you by the letters H and L which stand for "Hoop-La".


Thanks for making it back to our "Day in the Life of an Ag Teacher" blog and following along.  I am excited to continue this experience and look forward to sharing with you as we embark upon another year.  My name is Matthew Eddy and this will be my 14th year teaching.  Seems a bit weird that I have been in school for 31 years of my life...   I have been at Southeast Polk for 9 years now and have enjoyed it very much.  We seem to get entangled in many different projects and activities throughout the year and I hope you enjoy following along.


06-CASE AFNR 1.2.3 06.JPG85-085.JPG106-106.JPG


This year while I was checking the cows from the Animal Learning Center (see Janice Person's Blog here) - prior to my Advanced Animal Science class taking over -- I found one more calf than we should have had!  We had 13 at the fair, 1 calved in the pasture after the fair - making 14.  But as I was checking them, I kept counting 15!  Seems someone needs their grade adjusted for the Preg Checking Lab... but I suppose since the Vet got fooled too, maybe I shouldn't be too hard on them.  

ALC June Preg 09.JPG


Lately, we have been busy with some early fall CDE events (Soils and Dairy Cattle / Dairy Products) and getting our CASE on in the classroom.  My student teacher has been doing well and I am trying to wrap my head around having one in the fall.  It's a different experience from the traditional spring placements.


Don't be afraid to chime in or ask questions via the comments section.  I know all our bloggers would love to hear from you and socialize a bit.


Remember to keep a eye on the horizon, but don't be too afraid to chart your own course.  You never know when you might find your +1.


As always, you can follow the fun on twitter at AgEd4ME 


Time to saddle up and ride....

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