There are big changes happening at Farm Safety for Just Kids in 2013. Starting January 1 farm safety resources will be available to download as PDFs on the website. For free. Resources include lesson plans, activities, background information, fact sheets, Power Point presentations, and more.
A lot of things have changed in agriculture and farm safety over the past 25 years. Farm Safety for Just Kids decided It was time for their organization to reflect that change. Rebranding with a new logo and color scheme provided a natural pause to evaluate how we distribute resources. Offering materials online goes a step further in advancing their mission to protect rural farm youth and families by getting information out to more people.
Beginning January 1, four safety topics will be available electronically: ATV, chemical, tractor, and livestock safety. Each topic includes background information, lesson plans, activities, a Power Point presentation, and more. The ATV and chemical resources are available for download in both English and Spanish. One page fact sheets will be available on a variety of other topics as well.
In the years to come, additional topics and resources will be added in both English and Spanish. Hard copy materials will be available for purchase for those resources not converted to electronic while supplies last.
Call 800-423-5437 to order hard copy materials and visit www.farmsafetyforjustkids.org after January 1 to check out the new site and downloadable resources.
Since she started teaching agriculture, Carmelita Goossen has turned around a declining program and discovered the power of inquiry-based learning. She's single-handedly created curriculum that draws on both her students' cultural backgrounds and connections with the omnipresent meat industry in her corner of southwest Kansas. She's a certified ESL instructor, a DuPont National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, and was this year a national candidate for Outstanding New Career and Technical Educator of the Year. That was the first five years. Imagine what she'll do in the next 25.
Goossen, who describes herself as a product of agricultural education, has many passions, but the thing that gets her out of bed and into the classroom day after day is her students. "It's kind of uncovering a hidden treasure, discovering what their interests are," she said. "If you can inspire students to chase their dreams or discover a career they didn't even know existed, that's a wonderful motivation."
Goossen's school, Southwestern Heights High School, in Kismet, Kan., is more than 50 percent Hispanic. That, coupled with Goossen's own experiences as a biracial agricultural education student, gives her a good perspective on how to recognize and include students' cultural backgrounds into her own program.
"You shouldn't be afraid to live culture," she said. "You can't be afraid to talk about it in your classroom. Most of those students, they have the same interests and motivation as all students. Give them the opportunity to share their culture now and then. We are seeing a growing diversity in our classrooms, in our students. We need to figure out how we keep that growing, how to we get them to colleges, careers."
One thing Goossen has found helpful in drawing Hispanic students more fully into her agriculture program is a strong emphasis on SAE's. "In the Hispanic culture, family is such a strong influence," she said. SAE's give Goossen the opportunity to visit students at their homes, meet their parents, talk with them about opportunities and set goals.
Starting Where they Are, Opening the World
Because many of Goossen's students have parents who work in the meat industry, she uses that as a common thread to capture student interest. Throw in a heavy dose of student-driven, inquiry-based learning along with cultural relevancy, and you have the engaging mix that draws students to Goossen's program and keeps them achieving.
"One of my favorite moments in teaching was when a student told me she was studying for a wholesale and retail cut ID test, and her dad pointed to the round and said "I cut that piece off every day," related Goossen.
"If you can identify what are some interests of the students that are within your classroom, you will have success in motivating them to pursue careers," she said. "As the labor force changes demographically, we need individuals who are educated, who can relate to the workforce."
"I hope my students go home and say that agricultural education is more than just learning. It's an experience. Because you're not just reading about opportunities, you're not just reading about and experiment or a career, you're actually doing it. You're practicing it, you're experiencing it."
It should come as no surprise that Goossen was one of NAAE's 2012 Outstanding Young Member award winners. The Outstanding Young Member award is sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about NAAE awards programs, visit http://www.naae.org/awards/applications/. Award applications for 2013 are due May 15.
From our partners:
I had a thrilling moment today when a former student told me that she is considering teaching agriculture and switching majors from Elementary Education. Of course I said it was an awesome idea as we are in need of great ag teachers and I know that she will be GREAT! This potential ag ed major after such great workshops, sessions and discussions at The Council's Agricultural Education Summit last week, and I couldn't be more excited. Top it off with the RAM Super Bowl commercial and the celebration of the American farmer and I am practically on cloud nine! What an amazing time to be involved in agricultural education!
The focus of the 2013 Ag Ed Summit was recruitment and retention for school based agricultural education. I must thank Tony Small, Ellen Thompson and The Council for putting together such a great line up of speakers, panels and opportunities to discuss this issue within the profession. Thank you to everyone who participated in a panel, presentation or gave remarks. The enthusiasm and passion was so evident as our colleagues shared their stories, ideas and opinions. If you were unable to attend or connect live, I encourage you to access the sessions through The Council homepage. There were so many ideas shared that I have pages and pages of notes from the jam packed two days. Of course for this Floridian it was cool to see snow flurries and it is always entertaining to discuss weather and what so many of you are experiencing this winter. By the way, it is in the 60s at night and will be 80 tomorrow during the day. It just doesn't seem right now does it?
I know many are gearing up for National FFA Week activities and it may feel odd to not be planning National Teach Ag day festivities as well. So I ask, why wait for Teach Ag Day to promote our profession? There is no need! We can celebrate our profession and encourage our students to consider agricultural education as a viable and exciting profession! If your campus is like mine, students are already looking toward class selection for next school year. I am sure academic advisors are discussing summer classes and fall selections in the near future. Students are making decisions about their future, so why not have a conversation with a few students who you think would make GREAT ag teachers! it was exciting to hear of the state movements for Teach Ag workshops, trainings and competitions last week. If your state association is not currently offering activities for students, check out the Teach Ag website.
I also know that many are deep in student State and American Degree applications, proficiency applications, career development event competitions and on and on..... I know it is easy to push and push our students towards award recognitions and achievements. It is more challenging sometimes to recognize our own achievements. I know each state association has their own deadlines and processes for NAAE Award Applications. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to complete award applications and receive the recognition you deserve. We work hard! So many members qualify for outstanding award recognition and never complete the application. Sometimes it is difficult to write about our achievements, but I encourage you to take a look and take a chance, We push our students and members to strive for excellence and I wish the same for each of you. In addition, I challenge you to look at your state ACTE process and award applications. We are honored to have several agricultural educators win ACTE award categories this past year and I know we can have quality candidates again.
My last thought I want to share was another point of discussion at the Summit. Folks, we can and will run ourselves ragged to push towards excellence. We can not do it all. Many new teachers leave our profession due to the overwhelming stresses and commitments we find ourselves in. Take advantage of resources, community members, and Alumni to help make your lives easier. We must take time to have a hobby, spend time with family, do fun things, and enjoy life. if you don't already have something planned for you- I challenge you to do something FUN for YOURSELF this month! Thanks for what YOU do..... and lets TAG an ag teacher!