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NAAE Virtual Book Club

40 Posts authored by: Katie Wood

Authentic Grit

Posted by Katie Wood Jul 15, 2018

 *There is no discussion post for this week.*


Grit. Perseverance. Self-Awareness. All parts of being a great teacher, and a great person. 


Chapter Nine discussed roadblocks. Just like games that you lose a turn, have to start at the beginning, or go back three spaces, sometimes this can happen in our classroom and in our life.


Especially when we are trying something new in our classroom, roadblocks will appear. That dang joker will jump out of the cupboard and yell, "Surprise!"


What are those roadblocks that you struggle with? Are they personal/professional/both? 


Do you have ways to cope with those struggles? Are you still learning how to deal with them head on?


CoP has updated, so when you go to upload your content, you may notice that the buttons on the leftside of the content page are gone. They are now found under the "Actions" tab in the upper right hand corner of the page. I have updated the instructions here: Uploading and Categorizing Files for Assignments.docx 


If you want to, you can "Create a Document" under the actions tab. This works like Google Docs, in the sense that you can write the document and revisit it and edit it later, but it will post once submitted. It is all housed under CoP. It can also be categorized as well. That may help those of you that don't have Microsoft Office. 


Posted by Katie Wood Jul 5, 2018

Risk. Battleship. Settlers of Catan. Donkey Kong. The list could go on and on of the possible games that need strategic thinking. 


For this week's assignment, we are going to be strategic. We are going to harness the brain power of the group to idea share and plan for next year. Discussion Post 3 is going to be about a successful lesson that really gets your students engaged. This hopefully will turn into a thread of ideas that can be shared.


Your assignment is to pick a lesson plan that you would like to work on. Take the four E's into consideration: expectations, environment, energy, and empowerment. How can you transform that lesson to be one of your tried and true lessons?


Remember what the Kings say, "Please notice that 'expense' is not included with those four Es! As we told you in Chapter Two, your budget is not a valid excuse for why your students are bored. You don't have to spend a lot of money to create engagement."(p.91)


PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS: What is a lesson plan that you have created/used in college, that you could change up, or really dive deeper into?


There is no template for this assignment. You can upload your original lesson plan that has an addendum of the changes you would make. You can write a synopsis of what your lesson currently is and how you would like to change it with highlights that fall into the four Es. 


CoP did an update this week, so when you go to upload your content, you may notice that the buttons on the leftside of the content page are gone. They are now found under the "Actions" tab in the upper right hand corner of the page. I have updated the instructions here: Uploading and Categorizing Files for Assignments.docx 

If you want to, you can "Create a Document" under the actions tab. This works like Google Docs, in the sense that you can write the document and revisit it and edit it later, but it will post once submitted. It is all housed under CoP. It can also be categorized as well. That may help those of you that don't have Microsoft Office. 

Reflections Ch. 6

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 29, 2018

The Domino Effect


Reading this chapter, it kept bringing to mind dominoes. Maybe not the standard games we are used to, but the dominoes that are popular on YouTube. The designs that are intricately laid for hours- days even, just to be knocked down to create a beautiful (and strangely satisfying!) design, like this one:


The “domino effect” has a reputation for being known for one domino falling and causing a chain reaction. When it comes to reflection, there are two different domino effects happening. There are the pre and post domino effects, if you will.


The pre-domino effect is your reflection, when you are setting up your dominos. You think of your teaching as it is now, from each aspect, like the ones provided in the book: your personality, class size, grade, subjects you teach, culture of class, discipline and so on. Each of those topics is a domino that you are setting up. And from those guiding aspects in the book, you may reflect on topics that weren’t mentioned, but are related to what was mentioned. Even more dominoes in your design. You can also have a completely unrelated topic that you reflect on because it is relevant to you as a teacher, your school philosophy, or your students. Again, more dominoes. While you are reflecting, you also need to reflect on your goals-personal and professional. Are you meeting them? Do they need to adjust? Are your goals correct for what you want/are trying to accomplish?


Once your dominoes are set up, and you set the wheels in motion to try and meet your goals, or improve what you reflected on, that is when the post-domino effect happens. Each step, or domino falling can be easy, or there can be some corners, where you aren’t sure it will fall into place to make the next domino fall. But, when you get to the end and all of the dominoes have fallen, that is where you see the change and the big picture. Not only for yourself, but for your students. The beautiful design takes shape!


So with that lengthy description of dominoes and reflection, take some time to reflect on the topics that are brought up to be considered in this chapter. I have template that has a section for each of the headings that was brought up in this chapter. You don’t have to answer all of them. You can even cover topics that are not in the chapter. It’s about you and your classroom.

As for your goals, I will have a section for this. It can be one goal or five. They can be strictly professional, or include some personal goals as well.


TO POST YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Since there is a large group this year, and for management purposes, instead of just uploading an assignment, you will also "categorize" it. This is very easy. It is simply an extra check box while uploading your document. I have some step by step instructions with screenshotsHERE. There will be more categories as more assignments are added. Your assignment will still appear in the general content tab, but I can click on the week's folder and see everyone's assignment in one space. It also helps if you want to read other participant's assignments.

Awareness & Desire

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 20, 2018

Let progress, not perfection, feed your desire to improve.


This week, you will want to answer Discussion Post 1- Ch 4 & 5  first. Those questions will help get you in the mindset for this assignment.


After evaluating your “WHY,” did you have any feelings of desire? Desire to be a better educator? Desire because you had strayed away from your why? Desire to try something different when school starts in the fall? A sense of accomplishment because you are living into those desires/goals (either some or all)?


In Chapter 5, Wade and Hope talk about the three zones of organizational psychology: Comfort, Creative, and Panic. Think about it like the target below. The green comfort zone is where we feel, well the most comfortable. It is “safe,” and what we are used to. It is big because it is the easiest target for us to hit personally. The blue creative zone is where we try new things that we are still pretty comfortable with, but it may not be something that we typically do. It’s still a fairly large target because when we have the motivation, passion, and enthusiasm, we can pretty easily hit it. The red panic zone is where you feel overwhelmed, and as the Kings put it, “The stressed out emoji on your phone keyboard makes a frequent appearance in your text messages.” (p. 58)


The area is pretty small, because we don’t want to live here. As a teacher, and even more so as an ag teacher, we can get overwhelmed and have anxiety from so much that goes on in and out of the classroom. Sadly, sometimes that panic zone grows to be the largest zone, and can cause teachers to leave the profession.


While it is a part of life to live in all three zones at different points in life, we want to focus on comfort and creative. But what can we do as educators to take the situations or ideas that cause us to panic and make them more palatable in the creative zone?


This week use the attached document to evaluate your desires as a teacher. Where do they land on the target? What are your ideas to make those desires a reality when class starts in the fall? Is there something in the panic zone that you want to make more accessible in the creative zone? I have attached my target as an example. Keep in mind, mine will look a little different, because I am not in the classroom.


Pre-service Teacher? Think about what you feel comfortable with before entering the classroom. What are you not comfortable with and want to learn?



TO POST YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Since there is a large group this year, and for management purposes, instead of just uploading an assignment, you will also "categorize" it. This is very easy. It is simply an extra check box while uploading your document. I have some step by step instructions with screenshots HERE. There will be more categories as more assignments are added. Your assignment will still appear in the general content tab, but I can click on the week's folder and see everyone's assignment in one space. It also helps if you want to read other participant's assignments.

The Game of Life

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 12, 2018

Coincidentally, my favorite board game growing up was The Game of Life. I loved the different career paths you could choose, and I always hoped to draw the Farmhouse from “Euell B. Milken Realty.” I also always hoped to retire in Millionaire Estates (isn’t that the dream?).


After reading the first few pages of Chapter One, we see a description of Wade and Hope’s childhoods and how they are very different. The essay that they refer to about life actually not being like Monopoly can make you take pause. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all started in the same space at the same level, and be assured that extra $200 as we pass GO? Yes, but that is not reality for our students or for us.


However, in this book club space, we are all starting at the same place. We are starting at page one together. But, before we delve in, let’s meet our players!


If you could design your own game piece or player from any game (digital/board/certain card character) to represent you, which would it be? What game is it from? Why that specific one? Or, do you have a character that is all your own (plot twist!)?


Please share a picture of the piece and a short explanation, or link a video as a comment to this post.


Katie's Game piece:

Katie Gamepiece Intro - YouTube

The Finish Line?

Posted by Katie Wood Jul 28, 2017

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

                              -Lao Tzu

After a wonderful summer together, our journey is coming to an end. But is it the finish line?

Where is the finish line? How will we know when our journey is complete? This is different for everyone.


In order to stay the "know-go-show-grow" course, we've created our mission, our vision and our "game plan"/goals. As the authors mention on page 203, "Excellence, in any area, is a habit- a way of living." How do you plan on living your goals? What is something tangible to remind you of your goals/mission/vision?


Some of you created beautiful art/posters that you had mentioned hanging your classroom. Is that your reminder, or is there something/one else? Or is it a new creation entirely that encompasses your mission/vision/goals in one poster or art piece?


Please share what your reminder of your goals will be attached to this blog, or upload it as a new document. If your mission and vision statements are already posted in your classroom, we'd love to see a picture of them! There aren't really "terms and conditions" on this assignment because it is personal to what will work best for you; what inspires you.


Thank you all for being a fantastic and flexible group. The conversations are always a pleasure to read, and the assignment responses are personalized. Such a joy!


Housekeeping: There is no discussion for this chapter. Just this final assignment. I have adjusted this on the assignment tracker and the schedule. The new assignment tracker will be posted by the end of the day.

One Day at a Time

Posted by Katie Wood Jul 18, 2017

As we're nearing the end of our readings together, we need to look at the big picture. How are we going to put our mission and vision into action? And more importantly, how does that fit into our personal and professional goals? This can be a huge task. But as the saying goes, what's the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do we integrate our mission and vision into our classroom and our professional goals? One day at a time. It's a journey that takes more than a day, a week or even a year to get use to.


While the reading may have attributed "The Breakfast of Champions" to the feedback process, it can also be attributed to our goals. The breakfast of champions is usually a healthy balance of protein and carbs. Some days might have veggies, others fruit, and when we're feeling really decadent, chocolatey/sugary goodness! This correlates to our goals. It is important to have a balance of personal goals and professional goals. In addition to those goals, our veggies might be exercising/wellness goals, fruit may be financial goals, and those decadent goals are those lofty goals of traveling to an exotic place, winning the lottery, getting something special we've always wanted.


Today we are going to focus on those personal and professional goals. Marcie Faust shares three simple steps:

1. Start small.

2. Try something new.

3. Learn from your students.

(Faust, pg 175)


These goals are specific to you. If you already know what your five year goals are, by all means, plan away, but if your goals are new, it may be good to start small, with a year long goal. Please use the attached template to fill your plate with your goals. Then answer the follow up questions to make a short term action plan to put your goals in action. How are you going to implement your mission and vision into your goals?


Please upload your plate worksheet as a document to the Book Club. You can respond using a plate infographic, but I do recommend using the worksheet to answer the remaining questions.

The Hours We Keep

Posted by Katie Wood Jul 7, 2017

Well, I do apologize for severely messing up the dates of assignments. This holiday week has me all out of sorts. You will notice that I have shifted the assignment schedule. Go Each Day is being posted today, and will be due in two weeks. Grow Each Day will be posted next Friday (14th) and will be due in two weeks, and so on. You will also notice that I posted the final deadline for all assignments and discussions as August 10th. My goal is to process professional development hour certificates by the 15th.


Alright, now that housekeeping is over, let's move on to The Hours We Keep!


"Go the Way" focused on leading by example, or "practicing what you preach." This chapter has a lot of thoughtful ideas and discussion points to prepare us for the "Grow Each Day" chapter. In order to prepare for the "Grow Each Day" assignments. We are going to answer some questions to lay the ground work for Grow Each Day. These questions may seem elementary, but it is important to go back to basics every now and again, to make sure we can still answer those simple questions.


Please place your response in the comments, or upload a word document.


1. What do you do in your classroom to lead by example?


2. What do you do for colleagues/student teachers/ teacher mentees to lead by example?


3. When times have gotten overwhelming, have you asked for help? Who did you ask? How did it alleviate the situation?


4. On page 124, in The Hours We Keep there is a list of ten common characteristics that the authors feel set educators apart in their journey to "Go the Way." How many of these characteristics do you implement into your classroom or are in your teaching philosophy, already? Which would you consider integrating?


Talk to you next week!

20/20 Vision

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 23, 2017

First, let me say, I finally got some office time to catch up and read through your posts/discussions. I agree with Robin McLean, there needs to be a love button like on Facebook! It has been a pleasure to see the conversation organically manifest in our posts.


Second, I got to travel to the Oswegatchie Educational Center in upstate New York for the New York teacher’s conference this week. NAAE hosted an Agriscience Inquiry Institute as part of their professional development program. There is no service or internet there at all. It was so refreshing to be unplugged. And- as I am sure you can all relate- a joy to be with a group of people that share [at least a part] of your vision.


Speaking of vision… that is what we are going to be discussing for the “Show the Way” section of the book.


“At the start of any lesson or unit of study, great teachers show their students what they will know and be able to do upon completion…Like everyone else, these educators make many mistakes- and learn from these mistakes. Their ability to stay focused on definite end goals enables them to take risks and keep going when they encounter obstacles and challenges along the way. They are not shy about sharing where they intend to take others because they believe the goals they have set-once realized- will achieve ultimate excellence for those they serve. You might say they have perfect, 20/20 vision when it comes to what success looks like.”

–Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, pg. 63-64


Now that we have created our mission statements, and we know the way, we need to show the way. We are going to turn our mission into a vision. What is our end goal? What do we want to see happen/manifest in our classroom?


“Moreover, they are so passionate about this vision of a better tomorrow that their vision soon becomes a shared vision, collectively pursued by those in their presence.”

–Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, pg. 64


How can your vision become a shared vision? In your classroom, department, or with your school administrators? How will you share your vision?


For this assignment, please create your vision taking into consideration the questions prompted above. I have attached a PPT to help you work through these questions to create your vision statement. I also recommend watching the short video, “How to Write an Inspiring Vision Statement” from Rapid Start Leadership, and the “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” video from Dan Pink. Answering the “Show the Way” discussion post first, may also aid in crafting your vision statement.


If you would rather discuss your vision statement as a response to this post, or turn your vision statement into an infographic or poster for your classroom, go for it! If you want a tangible video to share with others, feel free to complete your assignment that way. Let your creative juices flow!

Start with Why

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 13, 2017

“Learning can be a messy and difficult process, but, then again, most things worth doing are not clean and easy.”-Whitaker, Zoul, Casas, pg.45


As ag teachers don’t we know that all too well in both the literal and figurative sense? Right now, we are focusing on “Know the Way.” And, “Knowing the Way” may not always be the clean and easy path. When we get into those messy times, don’t we sometimes ask why we do what we do? Why are we teachers? Why are we agricultural educators? Why do we put so much time into professional development, etc.?


You may have answers to these questions. You may not. But are they thought out into a personal mission statement? We spend time advocating for our schools, our departments and our programs, but do we advocate for ourselves? How does our mission statement tie into what our school or program’s mission statement is?



This week we will be exploring what our personal mission statements are. Please review the QR code links to “Personal Mission Statements of 5 Famous CEOs” (pg. 55) and “How to Write a Mission Statement that doesn’t Suck” (pg. 57). Use the attached PowerPoint to work through creating your mission statement. This can be a work in progress. It may change as you read the book. I have included places to put your school mission and your department/program mission. If your school, department and program don’t have these that is alright! If they do, that also doesn’t mean your personal mission statement doesn’t have to complete align with those either.


New to QR Codes?

  1.       In your App store on your tablet or cell phone, search “QR Code Scanner.”
  2.       Several options should pop up. This should be a free download.
  3.       Once installed, it may request access to your camera. This is simply because the scanner takes a picture of the code in order to retrieve the link.
  4.      Once the QR Code Scanner has successfully read the QR Code, it will pop up with a prompt box asking if you want to copy the link or open it. Copying the link allows you to text or email it with someone, and opening allows you to immediately read/watch the content.

Good afternoon all,


I just wanted to keep you posted on the second assignment. This will be posted first thing Monday morning. I am travelling this week and very unfortunately, I forgot the book on my desk in my office! As teachers I am sure you can understand my frustration of taking notes and tabbing important information just to leave the book at home while you are writing your lesson plans at school. Thank you for your understanding in this mishap. Consider it more time to read "Know the Way" and review the content at the end of the chapter.


The assignment tracker will also be posted on Monday. I am still trying to read through everyone's posts. Your jerseys are so creative! The assignment tracker will be linked on the front page in a widget named important information. There will be a link to this post too, just in case anyone doesn't catch it.


Which brings me to another housekeeping note... Are you "following" the book club? Several of you have asked if the first post is up or are looking for other information. Following the book club is the easiest way to stay abreast of what gets posted to the group.


On the homepage of the book club look for this icon towards the upper-right hand corner:


Click on Follow and this dropdown will appear:


Make sure that the following box is checked. From here you have a couple of actions. Clicking "Email Watches" means that when something is posted to the book club, you will get an email about it. If you check "Inbox," you will get a notification in your CoP inbox.


I hope that helps. Thank you again for understanding. I will talk to you all on Monday. Enjoy your weekends!

The Starting Line

Posted by Katie Wood Jun 2, 2017

Good afternoon all and Happy Summer!


It looks like we have another great group signed up to join us for this year's summer read, Start. Right. Now.


Right now, we are at the Starting Line. Even though we are not competitors, we are all starting this summer together. When you enter a race, how can you tell each team apart? From their team jersey. A typical team jersey may have two or three colors, a logo, a sponsor(s), etc. This week, we are going to get to know everyone that is at the Starting Line by creating our "jerseys." I have attached a template of a jersey below. Feel free to use it or grab something else from the internet, or design a real T-shirt jersey! With the limited craft supplies available at my office, I made due, but believe me, there probably would be some glitter incorporated somewhere on it!


Please post your jersey to the NAAE Virtual Book Club page with an explanation of what and why you chose your design. This can be in a discussion post, or a video. (See my video below)


A little more information about the layout of this summer's book club...


Since there are so few chapters in this book, you will notice the timelines are greater in between new "assignments." The goal is to allow you more time to digest the information in the readings before submitting the assignment. Additionally, at the end of the four main chapters, there are also some short videos, or additional media to explore that is associated with that chapter.




June 2-9


Read Chapter 1


The Starting Line

June 10-21

Read Know the Way


Starting with Why

June 21-June 30

Read Show the Way

20/20 Vision

July 1-12

Read Go the Way

The Hours We Keep

July 12-21

Read Grow Each Day

One Day at a Time

July 22-28

Read Behaviors to Beliefs and Back Again

The Finish Line?


Within each assignment period, there will be a true "assignment" that includes an activity based on self reflection, as well as a group discussion thread that will be started by me with a few related questions to the chapter. New posts will be up by 4:30 eastern time on the day of the new chapter.


Assignments, activities and discussion responses will be tracked in an excel assignment tracker that I will periodically update (about once a week).


As always, we are flexible. We are all agriculture teachers here. We understand that summer is the time for travel, conferences, fairs, etc. If you don't complete the assignments with in the allotted period, that is all right. However, there will be a set date in early August when I no longer accept assignments in order to process professional development certificates.


Katie's Jersey Video

The discussions around innovation in the classroom and school environments in this year’s NAAE Virtual Book Club have been fantastic! This summer the NAAE Virtual Book Club read The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. While a heavier emphasis was toward school administrators, ideas and techniques mentioned in the book can easily be applied to the classroom and students.


The mindsets of the 35 active participants were outstanding. NAAE can’t wait to see how the readers put their thoughts in motion during the school year! Due to the short closing of Communities of Practice, all assignments now have a due date of August 20th. Professional Development Certificates will be sent out once all assignments have been completed.


Interested in being a part of the NAAE Virtual Book Club? Be sure to check the NAAE Virtual Book Club Communities of Practice page often for next summer’s read and any other opportunities that may come available!  

Are We There Yet?

Posted by Katie Wood Aug 12, 2016

“If we create a culture where every teacher believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

-Dylan Wiliam (Couros, 208)


In order to “improve” we need to take note of where we are after complete our readings of The Innovator’s Mindset. Use the attached Are We There Yet Self Assessment to reflect on Couros’ major points


Keep George in mind when he questions, “So, how do you know if your district, school or classroom is ‘there’ yet? The short answer is that you are not. We will never ‘arrive.’” (Couros, 216) There is power in that. By never “arriving,” we keep moving forward; keep improving- because we know we can be even better. Don’t use the assessment to focus on the negative improvements, but on your strengths. How can those grow to help your “weaknesses?”


When you implement your innovations in your classrooms or department this year, please let us know. Share on social media using #naaereads, or post in the Virtual Book Club page on CoP.

Thank you for an awesome summer of innovative discussion!

With the closing of CoP from August 5- August 12, you can find the July-August assignments on this Google Drive:

NAAE Virtual Book Club

(If you have trouble accessing this, please send an email to and I will send you a direct invitation.)

All Assignments will now be due August 20th. Once you have finished all assignments, you will be emailed your Professional Development Certificate. Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm on discussions and assignments! If you have any book suggestions for next year, please feel free to message or email us.