I am going to be putting together a lesson on the history of FFA. Now I find history fairly interesting but I know a lot of people don't. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions to help make this topic and lesson appeal to a freshman class?
I teach the history dates using a powerpoint and guided notes (and try to keep the info concise). Ex. their notes will say: 1928- FFA was started. After the students have the notes, I assign a date to every pair of students. Then they are given a blank piece of paper and crayons or markers. They write the date at the top of the paper and then have to draw a picture of what happened on that date in history without using letters or numbers. (The 1928 date usually has a stork or a birthday cake on it somewhere with an FFA member or the emblem). After the groups are finished drawing, they all present their picture and explain why the picture is a good representation. Once I have collected all of the pictures. I divide students into two lines. Then we have a "shootout" I stand where the first contestant from both teams can see me, show them a picture and the student who can tell me what happened on that date earns a point for their team. If students don't remember they can go to their team for help. I try to make this part move quickly and the kids get really competive. I have also found that they spend quite a bit if time discussing an appropriate picture to represent the date.
Exciting may not be the best word for my description, but it does keep students engaged. I have students create a mind map with the dates, but they can choose how to categorize the dates. For example, if they named a category something like "Big Steps" they could put 1969- 'girls were admitted' and 1988- 'name changed' there. This allows them to have ownership of a big list of dates and categorize the information in a way that makes sense to them. I also like to play Memory with the dates. Freshman usually enjoy this or any game for that matter. I was just thinking: Ellen's "Party Hat" game featured in the Agtivity Book in the Classroom Dynamics Community might be something fun to try here. She demonstrated this activity at the NAAE Conference, and it was a hoot.
There are some great lessons in Unit 6 of Life Knowledge!!
Just wanted to point out that the AgTivity book is here on CoP, in case you're looking for that Party Hat idea Agtivity Book 5th Edition -pdf format (It's in several formats over in the Classroom Dynamics community).
So, what do you think are the most important dates out there? There are 51 by my last count listed on the FFA site.....which ones should be be focusing on??
I just watched a great lesson by a pre-service teacher. This student found an object to represent each date. Like a ruler for 1917 National Vocational Education Act, a graduation tassel to represent the Alumni in '72, and a rock for '44 when the foundation was formed. You could get really creative. I might use it in my intro to ag ed class next year!! This student went back frequently picking up the objects and associating the dates with the objects and the event.
I have a PowerPoint with all of the major dates that I choose to highlight. We review these as a class and discuss them. Then I have baggies with all of the dates and descriptions of the events and the events impact cut up in strips. Students work in groups to match up the dates, events, and meanings. I suppose it's a type of matching game. This is a new activity for me...I hope they enjoy it. Just a thought. I believe that I will offer piece of candy or something to the firs group to get all of their history facts matched up correctly.
To add onto the idea of having students make the 'posters' for each year, with the year and a picture describing it.... I've done that in the past and then just hang them in the classroom or in the hallway, in order. I like the shoot out game idea.
My student teacher developed a game during her practicum. It uses trivia/jeopardy like questions (harder questions worth more points). The object of the game was to get from our home town to Indianapolis. Rather than getting points, they received miles. Each question has a consequence (ie advisor gets sick, stay in hotel for one night or advisor forgot wallet at last lunch stop, go back 20 miles). On Monday, she gave the class a reading assignment from the student handbook to help them get the knowledge for the game. They played the game Friday. They were allowed to use their books, but only had 1 minute to answer, so they had to be familiar where content was in the book. The greatest thing, the teams who were waiting for their turn were even looking up answers, even though they wouldn't be rewarded for answering it correctly if the team going got it wrong.
Back to the history question.... I haven't done this but I think some students would enjoy this. If you cover this when the weather is nice and the students are wanting to be outside, have them draw a timeline with sidewalk chalk on the school sidewalk (I suppose you might want to get permission). Write the year and a picture for each event, assign them a year, just like the other idea = bonuses, they get to go outside, act like a little kid (and you want them to this time), and others might be educated too!
My experience is that FFA history is difficult for kids to find engaging - even in Virginia where we have a rich history of both FFA and NFA. The lifeknowlege lessons seemed to work. Somewhere I have pictures of old FFA & NFA jackets and the table where the idea of FFA was first discussed at VT, if you're interested I can try to dig them up.
I try to get the students to have some ownership and they become more interested then. A popular activity I do every year is the FFA Creed Rap. I break my classes into groups and assign them a portion of the creed. I have them write it in song form and they can modernize it or work with whats given already. The kids really get into it and then I record it for them and make a DVD which we show at our banquet. The kids really get into it and the parents have a good laugh.
Also, I make a HUGE timeline that I stretch from one end of the classroom to the other and allow students to draw their thoughts and ideas about how the facts may have "looked" back then. The timeline then becomes a sort of mural and I leave it hanging for a good part of the first semester.
Retrieving data ...