From time to time, K-Mart has these great sales called blue light specials. While the blue light is flashing, shoppers can get some fabulous item at a fabulous price. These items are first come, first served, and are only available for a limited time. For some shoppers, these blue light specials are a quick burst of excitement and interest in an otherwise long and tiring day.
Lately, I’ve been feeling quite weary and worn out when it comes to teaching. From tons of new paperwork to grading to observations, I feel like I can barely keep up with it all. Throw in unhappy students and FFA members, 2 new classes, and barely any prep time in my classroom and I am pretty beat. Part of the way I’m feeling is due to the usual beginning of the year craziness and the other part of it is learning to adapt to so many new changes in my instructional routine in a short period of time.
To keep myself focused on the positive, I’ve been searching for blue light specials at school every day. From a student mastering a difficult concept to some of the interesting and entertaining responses that I get from my middle schoolers, I’ve been finding them in nearly every class. Even hall duty has its share of blue light specials when I get the chance to see students that are no longer in my classes, connect with ones that I haven’t taught, or chat with co-workers that I don’t usually get to see. On particularly rough days, these blue light specials are priceless and are what keep me going. Below are some of the best blue light specials that the year has had to offer so far.
The DNA Dance
Who knew that learning about DNA in CASE Animal and Plant Biotechnology could be so exciting? This class is usually quite serious and focused, but asking them to use their bodies to make a DNA molecule brought out the fun and silly side of these students.
Learning that pumpkins are a fruit and technically derived from flowers blew my 8th graders minds. We discussed many different vegetables that come from the flower, but pumpkins were the ones that stuck the most, as 14/19 students drew them for this part of their activity in CASE AFNR.
The sight of bacterial cultures growing on the plates in the incubator was thrilling for some of my students. The fact that they isolated the colonies from a larger plate and cultured them on new agar plates that they made themselves made it that more satisfying. We are looking forward to genetically engineering the colonies to glow in the dark in a few weeks!
Seeing that the seeds that they planted in September had matured into full grown vegetable and herb plants was a great sense of pride for my CASE Plant Science class. Their first harvest from the green wall yielded enough greens for the cafeteria and culinary arts classes to use.
At the end of September, my classroom was given 20 Chromebooks to use to go paperless and implement CASEOnline. Having a working computer for every student in all of my classes not only makes instruction easier for me, but makes learning more exciting and engaging for the students.
The Blue Light is On
After months of not having a working pencil sharpener due to the new one being lost in the mail and backordered, my ag classroom finally has one again. Not only does it sharpen all different sizes of pencils, but when pencils are sharp, the blue light comes on. This blue light special continues to bring momentary joy to my students on a daily basis.
What are some of the blue light specials that keep you going when teaching ag gets tough? Feel free to share in the comments below.
Until next time,