Sunday, September 17, 2017

AEE 412 Weekly Investment #4: Teaching to a group!

This week's reading have lead us to dive deeper into thinking about how to approach an informational lesson which lines up perfectly as this week we are tasked with writing our first informative lesson.  As I sat and brainstormed this weekend about what information I would like to cover in this lesson, I noticed that a lot of the lesson was going to consist of me just presenting the information to the students.  I don't want for me to just be dumping information onto the students so thankfully the readings were able to help me think a little deeper and gave me some great ideas.  As I read, I also couldn't help but think back over my education over the years and realized that most of my teachers used some of these techniques at some point or another.  When students hear the word group work, we usually think of it as a punishment but now I see that the teachers put us into these groups only to help us learn the content much better.  If they would have just stood in the front of the room and talked about it instead of making us think about the information and work together to understand it, I would have just tuned them and not have learned anything.  I hope that I am able to help my students absorb content more efficiently by incorporating collaborative learning into my classroom by utilizing many of the ideas listed within our readings this week.

Our other reading this week talked about effective objectives for students and the importance of having objectives for every lesson.  I need to make sure that I as the teacher am make clear, concise objectives that my students are able to achieve.  Objectives need to be measurable and contain an action verb in the actual objective.  Student learning, written objectives and teaching all need to be on the same level of achievement as well.  Don't  write a high level objective and teach at a low level.  This would be like trying to reach for a book on the top shelf with out having access to a ladder.  Students will become frustrated and just give up.  No teacher wants their student to just give up on anything.  The video I found about objectives helped lay out the same idea just in a little different fashion.  Everyone has heard of SMART goals, well this laid out objectives in the same way.  Teachers need to have SMART objectives; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relative, and Targeted.  If I am ever struggling with writing objectives, I know that I can always look back on these resources.

Groseta, K.J. & Myers, B.E. (2006). Using cooperative learning in formal and nonformal educationView in a new window. Retrieved from

Newcomb, L.H., McCracken, J.D., Warmbrod, J.R., & Whittington, M.S. (1993). Methods of teaching agriculture. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Whittington, M.S. (2005). Writing objectives in secondary agriculture courses that challenge students to thinkView in a new window. Agriculture Education Magazine. Retrieved from

backgrounds in agriculture or interns in crop consulting  

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Final Thoughts of my First Day Lesson

My lesson that was focused on the first day of class went well I feel.    In this lesson we were to introduce ourselves to the class, let the class introduce themselves, discuss the expectations, procedure and consequence of our classroom, and whatever else we could fit into 10 minutes.  I have listed below some of the things I think were successful and also some things I need to work on. 


  • Greeted students at the door and introduced myself to them quickly. 
  • Was able to get to know the students through example bell-work 
  • Loved the idea of my time capsule and think that it would work great in an actual classroom!  
  • Expectations, procedures and consequences were well organized and numbered.  
Opportunities for Improvement! 
  • Was nervous
  • Talked so fast, need to slow down majorly 
  • Need to make my expectations, procedures, and consequences posters more colorful and different from each other. 
  • Think I need to carry my lesson plan with me to help remind me of my prompts to ask students
Over all I think it was a successful but very informative experience and I am excited to see what next week's lab brings and how I am able to succeed or improve then.  I also am interested to play with other types of lesson plan formats this week and hope to find the one that fits me best!  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Home of the Seals!

I was able to explore my cooperating center and learn all about the program, the instruction areas, and the FFA chapter.  I can't wait to begin my experience and learn even more about the students, school and community.  Check out all the cool things I have learned so far! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mindset: Final Reflection

My reading has come to an end.  I have finished my book on Mindset and I am excited to take
everything that I have gained and learned from these readings and use it to shape me as a teacher with growth mindset.  In the last leg of the book, it discussed a lot of the ways that parents, coaches and teachers not only guide children on the path of mindsets but it also talked about how they themselves need to have a growth mindset.  If you are a teacher who is of fixed mindset but are only trying to have a growth mindset when around your students, they are going to know that it is a fake front and the encouragement that you are trying give them will be wasted time.  Children need the encouragement and praise to be as genuine as possible and the best way to do that is to have a growth mindset from the beginning.  This can be hard! 

As the book goes on further, it talks about how most people are a mix of the two mindsets.  That all of us have a fixed mindset about something and they found that it was usually ourselves.  As teachers or parents, we have growth mindsets when it comes to our children and we are always trying to get them to also have a growth mindset.  We push them and encourage them to keep trying even in the face of failure.  However, when the parents or teachers fail themselves or feel as it they have failed, they will turn to the small part of fixed mindset that they have.  The most important thing to remember in these times is to "Practice what you preach".  You need to listen to yourself and know that it is ok if a lesson didn't go as planned or that every student didn't get a 100% on the last quiz. 

This is something that I particularly hope that I can remind myself of daily when I begin my student teaching.  It is easy for us to be hard on ourselves but encouraging to others who are in the same situation.  Part of growth mindset is that we have to learn from our mistakes and appreciate those moments when we do fail for those are the times of exponential growth.  By no means should we go out of our way to fail, but remember that sometimes the failure is even more powerful than the success!  I know that not every lesson I am about to teach in the spring is not going to go as planned or that I have planned an activity that was not able to meet the objectives of the day.  It is going to very easy for me to think that I am a failure and that I should give up and only conduct lessons that are simple and boring.  However, by reading this book, I hope that I am able to use many of the things I have learned and help keep myself out of these "Poor me" spirals of mindset death.  I need to remember that those will be the times where both myself and students will learn and grow together.  It doesn't mean that any of us have failed; we just need to go back to the drawing board and see how it could have went better. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is going into education but more importantly I would recommend it to anyone!  This book can be beneficial to anyone who wants to change their out look on life or wants to become a more positive person because as I mentioned in earlier reflections, living with a fixed mindset will start to effect your interpersonal relations.  There are countless suggestions within the book on how to start to change your mindset or how to strengthen an already growth mindset.  The most important thing to keep in mind though, is that this is a process.  You can't change your mindset overnight, it will take time and effort to help keep yourself on track to change! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

#AEE412 Weekly Investment Reflection 2

This week we are diving in head first and learning about the part that we all fear the most about student teaching; lesson planning.  This has been on each of our minds within my cohort and it is always one of the first things we have questions about when someone asks "What questions do you have?"  Well this week's reading may help settle at least my mind some.  I was able to take away that sometimes you need to come at a lesson from a different angle.  Our readings specifically talked about started with your desired end result and build you lesson backwards, leading up to developing your objectives.  You could start with a great activity and build off of that or think of a great interest approach and think of  lesson that goes with it; just keep Bloom's Taxonomy in mind.  Doing so will help to ensure that objectives are clear, well stated, and action oriented.
The "right" way to write a lesson plan!

I have had to write a few simple lessons in the past and have indeed had to include objectives in these lessons.  I always thought that the best objectives were those that were lengthy and had elaborate, scholarly wording.  When in fact these objectives are not incorrect, but are not as efficient as those that are clear and easily state what is expected of the students.  I now know that it doesn't matter how elaborate my objectives and not to be as afraid of lesson planning.  I am learning that as long as I keep calm, keep my end results in mind, and utilize the methods and techniques I learn along the way, I will have well written objectives and an overall effective lesson plan. 

I would love to hear how everyone approaches lesson planning as I begin the task of writing my first lesson plans for student teaching!  Please feel free to comment below some of your favorite tips and tricks or ask me any questions you may have! Thanks for reading! (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
 Chapter 5, Planning for Instruction (26 pages

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Closer Look at SAE's

Supervised Agricultural Experience otherwise known as SAE is a vital part of agriculture education.  It serves as the opportunity where students are able to apply and showcase skills that they have learned both in the classroom and in FFA activities through a project of any type.  There is a way to turn almost anything you do into an SAE whether it be raising a livestock project for the fair, working at a local business, or even volunteering in your community.  There are endless opportunities to turn your students experiences and interests into an SAE. Through SAE, students are also able to discover what self-directed learning is.  They are able to take learning into their own hands and dig deeper into the things that interest them.  All of this being said, I was able to see some really interesting SAE while visiting some of the students of Selinsgrove High School.
I started my day off with Mrs. Fry by going to visit Kaitlin Shaffer.  Kaitlin is an incoming freshman
Free stall barn at
Kaitlin's Dairy Farm
to the Selinsgrove Ag Department and is just starting her SAE.  Thankfully her older sister has just graduated from the program and is helping her with small questions she has along the way. Kaitlin has two SAEs right now; swine finishing and on farm employment.  She is raising two market hogs for her local fair and has been keeping records of feed expenses, rate of gain, and once she shows them she will record how they placed and what they sold for. This is a very popular type of SAE with ag students.  In fact, most of my SAE's growing up were finishing projects that were exhibited at the fair. As I said before, Kaitlin also has an on farm employment SAE as well.  She lives and works on her family's dairy farm where they have robotic milkers.  She is able to log her hours and describe her duties on the farm in her records.  Since they have robotic milkers, none of her hours are dedicated to actually milking.  She spends most of her time during this project, helping with  feeding and keeping the milking facilities clean.  Being a dairy girl myself, I was very interested and curious about how things differ at a robotic farm versus traditional milk parlors. 
Jacob working on
the grill of his current
Next we went to visit Jacob Dock who serves as the FFA chapter's President.  His SAE was very interesting and was new to me.  Jacob does vehicle restoration as his SAE.  He has always had an interest in old cars and trucks and loved working on them in his free time.  So why not turn it into an SAE?  This was definitely new for me.  I knew that SAE's could be very unique but I never knew or thought about having a student have an SAE like this.  Jacob is currently working on two different vehicles.  One is completely tore apart in his garage as he is replacing the grill and various other parts on the truck.  The other is a project that he was working on and took for a test run.  Unfortunately, the test run didn't go very well so he is headed back to the drawing board to see what went wrong.  In his SAE, Jacob not only has to find vehicles to work on and then find parts to fix them but he also does a lot of fabrication.  On one of his finished projects, he replace the fenders and the bed of an old truck but he made it all on his own using the welding skills that he was able to learn in Mr. Swineford's classes at school.  Jacob was even a member of the 2nd place Ag Mechanics team at the Pennsylvania State FFA convention in June.  The team will be competing at the Big E in September.
Our last visit of the day was with Darrah Yerger.  Darrah also serves on the FFA
These are Darrah's Dutch Belted heifers
and her Belted Galloway bull calf. 
chapter's officer team as Secretary.  While driving to see Darrah, Mrs. Fry told me that Darrah had a little bit of everything at her place and I learned that she definitely does.  As we pulled up, I saw sheep, horses, chickens, beef cattle as well as produce fields and fruit orchards.  Darrah helps with all of the aspects of her families farm but her SAE's and focus is on the produce and fruit production as well as her small her of Dutch Belted cattle.  She has two heifers and one bull calf.  I actually learned from Darrah that she has Dutch Belted heifers which can be milked and are more like a dairy breed.  Her bull calf is a Belted Galloway which is the beef breed and get a lot more hair on them. Darrah also helps her dad with the produce and fruit production.  They grow tomatoes, green beans, peaches and apples.  Darrah helps her dad with planting, managing pests, harvesting and selling.  They are able to set up a produce stand at the Farmer's Market in Harrisburg and sell their fruits and veggies. 
Not only did Mrs. Fry just visit with her students and check to see how the SAE's were progressing but also on every visit she had the students pull up their record books and helped them with any questions or problems they were having.  We were able to show Kaitlin how to manage her breeding stock and where to enter the calves that were born.  Jacob had a few questions on how could he apply for a proficiency award and Darrah was curious where she entered experiences that related to her FFA office. 
I had a great day visiting with these Selinsgrove students and can't wait until I get to go on more visits.  I was able to see a variety of projects just in one day and I am curious to see what other unique SAE's are found within the program! 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Don't be a microwave dinner

After reading several difference articles about the difference between effective and efficient teachers.  What I have taken away is that an efficient teacher does the right things while an effective teacher does things right!  Some may take a minute and say aren't those essentially the same thing, but when we start to think deeper, there is a huge difference!  When I sit back and think about the difference is as simple as the difference between a great teacher and a mediocre teacher.  An efficient teacher does do all the right things.  These are the teachers that dump information on students, makes the powerpoints, force students to take notes; all the "right" things to do for students to learn.  They teach everything by the book and don't change it up for fear of something going wrong.  However, these are the teachers that students hate going to their class.  They are long, tedious boring and bland classes that can be replicated by anyone; just like a microwave dinner.
These lessons have nothing interesting or special about them.  They are just standard and flavorless.  I never want to be a microwave dinner teacher!  I want to continuously keep introducing new flavors to my teaching. Even if I try something and it doesn't work as planned, it will still be an experience that impact my students and they will remember it.  I never want my classes to be predictable and easy to be replicated.  From the articles plus from an addition article, 6 Traits of Life-Changing Teachers, I have started to think past the obvious things and how to introduce things like humor, positive reinforcement and structuring comments into my lessons and teaching style.  I just always need to remember that I never want to teach like a microwave dinner; be flavorful and memorable!!

Link to article referenced:

AEE 412 Weekly Investment #4: Teaching to a group!

This week's reading have lead us to dive deeper into thinking about how to approach an informational lesson which lines up perfectly a...