Wednesday, October 22, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Ms. Weaver goes to World Food Prize!

Des Moines @ Night (view from Hotel Room)
Oh readers! The last ten days have been some of the most remarkable of my life! I am beyond excited to share my experiences with you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy reading my tales of World Food Prize!

Each year, the humble city of Des Moines, Iowa busts at the seams as hundreds of scientists, politicians, professionals, researchers, students, teachers and others descend upon it for the World Food Prize. Begun in 1986, this event was initiated by Norman Borlaug to (from the website): "recognize - without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs - the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world." 

Each year, since 1987, a Laureate has been named and awarded a monetary prize through a sponsorship funded by businessman and philanthropist, John Ruan. The World Food Prize event allows committed parties from all over the world to come together, share, challenge, and try to solve the issue of providing food for the population. 
Kayla and I in the lobby 


I arrived Wednesday night and was soon joined by my roommate and partner-in-learning for the event, Kayla Hack (@HackKayla), the PSU Global Teach Ag! Intern. We were both a little nervous and unsure of what to expect, but we're both adventurous, so we were ready to see what WFP had to offer! Our first day there, we traveled to the Marriott Hotel and were immediately immersed in the hustle and bustle of the event. We zoomed up to the 2nd floor and joined one of the Borlaug Dialogues being held there. The first was a round table discussion on Soil Health and Fertilizer. Then we were honored to hear Dr. Pamela Anderson (Director of Agricultural Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) address the group.

Kayla and I were lucky enough to meet Dr. Emma!
Next, came a presentation regarding the development of the African smallholder and women's education. This was also my favorite presentation of the entire event. Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa was dynamic, interesting, inspiring and humorous all at once! Her presentation was magical and had every person in the room wanting to drop everything and return with her to Uganda to help her realize her dreams! If you can, I recommend you checking out the WEBCASTS from the event. They were all so interesting.

At the luncheons we were served meals that centralized or highlighted particular foods or people - our first meal centered on the soybean, and the other meals honored the keynote speakers including Dr. Rajaram, the 2014 WFP Laureate! Delicious meals and great company! We met a family farmer from England who had been nominated to attend by his county, a specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology who makes educational parodies of hit songs, and an adviser for a company that provides micro-financing to name a few!

Dr. Rajaram receives his award at the luncheon
But, the World Food Prize wasn't the only event occurring! In addition to the esteemed participants of the event, there were 170 students accompanied by their teachers, parents or advisors attending the Global Youth Institute. These students had developed a research paper detailing information on a country and issue they chose. These ranged from water quality in India to infrastructure of Japan and providing hot lunches to children in Bolivia. They mingled with the World Food Prize participants and participated in learning sessions during the week.
Borlaug and Ruan family members!


Teachers also challenged themselves. There was a teacher professional development workshop that I attended with Kayla. We learned some techniques to incorporate global learning into the classroom (I'll share in a future blog!).  We even met up with fellow Pennsylvanian Tiffany Turrentine (teacher at W.B. Saul HS in Philadelphia)! She made PA proud by sharing her expertise and creativity with the group!
Tiffany share her visual of global issues

On Saturday, the students had their chance to shine! They were split into several smaller groups consisting of 7-10 student presenters, 3 panel members, and a mediator. Teachers, parents and guests were able to move about the rooms. There, each student summarized their research and recommendations in a 3-minute presentation. The panel members (consisting of field experts from around the world) then made comments and asked questions. After all presentations, each group then elected a representative to share out to the whole group later in the day.

On Saturday, I also saw the posters and met some of the 23 Borlaug-Ruan International Interns from this year. Three accomplished young ladies were kind enough to share with me on video their experiences. Students attending the Global Youth Institute are eligible to apply for this amazing experience. Why would any student not want to take advantage of this opportunity?!

video
video
video
I want to personally thank Jacob Hunter, Keegan Kautzky, Lisa Fleming and Libby Crimmings. These amazing people have made this event possible and were so kind to welcome Kayla and me in and teach us about the program. 

Students and teachers, I absolutely encourage you to investigate this opportunity. The students I met during this event where poised, creative, respectful, mature and full of amazing potential. We ABSOLUTELY have those qualities in PA students! Students can apply to be interns internationally or can work stateside with the Washington Carver Internship. Please check it out, you will not be disappointed! 

Kayla & I and the WB Saul reps got to meet Dr. Rajaram!



















As always my friends, keep looking for those great opportunities to travel, share, grow and learn. Although I traveled to a destination within the US, the things I experienced have changed me forever. Travel, meeting people of diverse backgrounds, challenging yourself in new situations and simply putting yourself out there can have positive and lasting affects on your life!

Agriculturally Yours,

With Dr. Ngumbi of Auburn University (originally from Kenya)
Nicole Weaver
PSU Teach Ag! Fellow
PA Agriculture Teacher
Hooked on World Food Prize!
@TeamWeaverFever
TeamWeaverFever@gmail.com


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Are you a good Digital Citizen? #AEE100 Engages with the Penn State Teach Ag! Technologist


On Thursday October 16th, Penn State had the privilege of meeting some awesome agriculture education students from Penn Manor FFA chapter who came along with their teacher Ms. Diane Glock-Cornman (@DGCornman) for a day of education and fun!
Ms.Diane Glock-Cornman is our PSU Teach Ag! Technologist and specializes in teaching us new methods of social media and computer uses. Along with bringing five of her own students, she came and taught a class for AEE 100 on “Good Digital Citizenship”. She stressed the importance of noticing in your schools the digital divide and how much access your students have to a computer at home and at school. During her presentation, she also showed the video below about statistics and facts about how social media interacts with our society and world.

Avengers back row, Penn Manor students front row.
While Ms. Cornman was teaching, her five students were able to go out and have fun with the Teach Ag! Avengers! They were able to tour campus, try out Creamery ice cream, get a picture at the lion shrine, and so much more! All five students came up with a goal of seeing if agriculture education was right for them and had a better idea when they left campus.

Overall it was a successful day and everyone had a blast! If you have any questions about social media interactions or would like to talk to Ms. Cornman, you can tweet at her (@DGCornman).

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!


 Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger
Twitter Handle- @OSweetMurph
 2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher

Friday, October 17, 2014

#TeachAgGenius, Penn State students raising the bar on innovation

Dr. Foster and many Ag Ed Students participated in
the first Teach Ag Genius Hour!
On Wednesday, October 8th, the first ever Teach Ag Genius Hour was held with the members of #psuaged15! The pre-service teachers were challenged to come to the group with innovations or ideas about education. The ideas were presented by students then followed up with open conversation allowing other classmates, professors and visitors to share their ideas and "geek" out on the topics!

The 2015 student teachers presented a wide range of topics including how to use Instagram in the classroom, the importance of elementary school agriculture programs, the importance of community gardens, innovative ways to use 3-D printing and the numerous agriculturally related apps for digital devices. These were just a few of the "lightning" talks that took place during the three rounds of Genius Hour.

Members of the Ag Ed community were invited to join in on the conversation via Twitter using the
hashtag #TeachAgGenius. This allowed the students the chance to reach out to Agriculture Educators across the nation, leaders in the agricultural industry, businesses related to the topics and anyone who wanted to participate! We had a great response from Ag teachers all across the nation!

The Genius Hour created an open space environment to discuss, ask questions and brainstorm about the creative topics each student brought forth. Jasmine Graybill (@JasmineGraybill), a 2015 student teacher, stated "it was empowering to listen to different perspectives on education and how our role as future teachers can positively impact my school, my community, and my students! All the new ideas propelled me to really think!"

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!



Laura Metrick

Student Blogger
2015 Student Teacher
@Its_LauraBeth

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My First Love: Why I’m the Global Teach Ag! Learning Specialist by @GlobalMelanie

I’ll never forget the day that my high school economics teacher announced that he would be leading a group of students on a trip to Russia over spring break.  In an instant, my 16-year-old heart knew it would break if I wasn’t on that trip.  I had grown up near the Canadian border, and regular trips across the border comprised most of my international travel to that point.  So it was a shock to my system to want to travel internationally so badly, so quickly.  It felt like the essential element that had been missing from my life had suddenly been presented to me on a silver platter.

My parents supported my decision to go on the trip.  We weren’t exactly made of money, but they always prioritized educational activities.  Luckily, as the only teenage girl in our neighborhood, I had a monopoly on the babysitting market.  I gave up most Friday and Saturday nights to babysit my way to Russia.

It’s hard to explain what happened when I stepped off the plane in Moscow.  It felt like everything I learned in social studies and everything I saw on the news suddenly came true.  There were people over there, living in a different country!  I had just taken a semester of Russian history and could spout off all sorts of information about tsars and tsarinas, five year plans and the fall of the Soviet Union, but none of it was real to me until I stepped foot on foreign soil. 


I always say that Russia was my first love because that’s where the world became real to me.  I work as the Global Teach Ag! Learning Specialist because I want students to have their own global a-ha moments, whether they are here or abroad.

Perhaps part of the reason I was so enamored with Russia is because I was so ready to experience it.  There was no particular preparation for this spring break abroad, other than a few orientation sessions after school and the implicit trust we had in the trip leader – an ex-CIA agent who became an econ teacher when the Cold War ended. 

Of course there were the history and current event courses, the holiday meals featuring the food of my international ancestors, and the value my parents and other community members placed on diversity and inclusiveness.  All of these things came together as a haphazard global education that prepared me to approach Russia with an open mind and an open heart.

Today, my scholarship focuses on the teaching and learning of global knowledge skills and dispositions.  How do students learn about the world, and how do we, as instructors, facilitate this learning?

Since that first sojourn to Russia, I grabbed every international opportunity that has come my way – especially those that offered all-expenses-paid.  One time the 4-H exchange program came up one chaperone short, so I volunteered to go to Japan for a month at the last minute.  Another time an email went out to my entire Americorps cohort, but everyone else deleted it because it said “agriculture” in the title.  I won a huge study abroad scholarship from the opportunity advertised in that email and learned Spanish in the resulting experience.  Another time I went to Guatemala with a group of engineers working on pedal-powered technology.  Turns out they just needed someone to point out that women weren’t using their creations because they couldn’t pedal while wearing their traditional skirts.  And the list goes on. 

Besides grabbing all the international travel opportunities I could get my hands on, I pursued a M.S. and Ph.D. in rural sociology with a focus on international development in Latin America.  My graduate research took place in Costa Rica, where I took a closer look at the use (and disuse) of farming technologies that a local university, EARTH University, was promoting in local communities.  It was the perfect project to meld together my interests: international and agriculture.  Today, I add “education” to that list.
 
I’m not implying that all students should dedicate their personal or professional lives to global pursuits.  It is enough to simply ignite the spark that would open the minds of students to the wider world.  The awesome wonder of the world will make them fall in love.


To contact Melanie Miller Foster (@GlobalMelanie), Global Teach Ag! Learning Specialist and seek out help with your personal/program global learning goals, click here. http://agsci.psu.edu/directory/mjm727 

To learn more about the PSU Global Teach Ag! Initiative: http://aese.psu.edu/teachag/global 

#psuaged15 Students #GoAllOut for Professional Development from @NAAE at @NationalFFA Convention

Three members of the 2015 student teacher co-hort have been chosen to attend the National Agriscience Pre-service Teacher Program provided by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). The program will be held on Wednesday, October 29th  during the 2014 National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bryanna Kenno
Rea Ianson
Bryanna Kenno (@bkenno4), Rea Ianson (@rnianson08), and Howard Poole (@howie_poole) will be attending the program that focuses on developing inquiry-based lessons for their use. The program aims to promote inquiry-based learning and enhance science in agriculture. Bryanna, Rea and Howard will participate in the hands on workshop and be able to create inquiry-based lessons that they can use during their student teaching experience this spring.

Bryanna said "I am most excited to meet the other participants from states all throughout the nation. I'm anxious to exchange ideas, network with other pre-service teachers and just be a part of this awesome opportunity!" 

Students were chosen to participate in the workshop through an application submission through the National Association of Agriculture Educators.

Rea Ianson stated, "I am excited to be able to learn new techniques and tips that I can utilize in my classroom while getting to interact with the awesome group of student teachers!"
Howard Poole

Along with the pre-service teacher program, many Penn State students will be staffing the State Photo booth, judging CDE events, working the Penn State College of Ag Sciences booth and competing in ATA conclave events. The National Convention will be held in Louisville, Kentucky, October 29 through November 1.

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!






Laura Metrick

Student Blogger
@Its_LauraBeth
2015 Student Teacher

World Wisdom With Weaver - "The Millennium Development Goals"

Well, folks this is a big week! In the days to come two major events will occur; the first is World Food Day (October 16). Haven't heard of it? Well then check out my previous World Wisdom With Weaver Blog that details this event.

In addition to that, The World Food Prize begins this Wednesday and runs for the rest of the week. Visit the World Food Prize Website to see the events that Kayla and I are attending. My next blog will reflect on my experiences there and will share with you ways to participate or to utilize the information in your classrooms.
Running concurrently with this is the Global Youth Institute which I am attending with my cohort Kayla Hack! She and I are beyond excited to participate in this event for the first time and to meet
with students, faculty, scientists, policymakers and dignitaries from around the world. I feel that it will help us gain so much perspective. Check out their website.

But, for this week, while these other events are occurring I want to discuss another topic that ties in with both of these - the United Nations' Millenium Development Goals (MDG's). In 2000, a committee of world leaders sat down to compose the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This document outlined the commitment their respective nations made to help end extreme poverty by working as a global community. From that came the UN Millennium Project and the UN Millennium Campaign. Both are tasked with informing, inspiring, and challenging the global citizens to take action and help to combat extreme poverty. The UN Millennium Goals are 8 topic areas that help to focus the project to not only pinpoint areas of need, but to also help guide resources and action.

They set a deadline for 2015 to reach these goals...

That date is soon approaching, and in fact, on several pages of the website, there is a countdown clock to the 2015 date they set. So, what have they done? It's a wonderful question and, I think, a great question to ask your students!

My goal in this blog is to get you thinking about how to incorporate the 8 MDG's and inspire higher level thinking in your students. They are, after all, the next generation to tackle these global issues.


Listed above are the 8 MDG's the UN Summit determined. These goals drive the campaign and the efforts of those involved. Let's talk about some ways to introduce these in class:
  1. Idea #1 - Class Summit
    1. I like to challenge my students to "think outside the box." Start by giving them some documents to read:
      1. What is the United Nations? The United Nations: An Introduction for Students
      2. What was the point of the 200 UN Summit? Millennium Summit (6-8 September 2000)
        1. But leave out the part where it lists the 8 MDG's.
    2. Encourage a class discussion with the prompt "What are the greatest issues affecting those in extreme poverty?" As students begin discussion, have someone serve as scribe and list those items on the board. Have them review the board and reflect on their choices, perhaps ranking them. Before you know it, they've BECOME the UN Summit and are developing their own set of MDG's. Want to make this more technology-forward? Facilitate this discussion through Twitter or other online forums. Develop your own hash-tag for the event.
    3. When the discussion is over and they have determined the most pressing global issues (feel free to give them a number - 8 would be appropriate), provide them with the 8 goals the UN Summit developed and discuss the similarities/differences between this list and theirs. Have them evaluate - did the UN get it right? Is there something they missed?
    4. Take it to the "streets." Encourage your students to interview classmates, faculty, administration, families and community members to have them weigh in on the topic. 
  2. Idea #2 - News Sharing
    1. Want to incorporate some literacy initiatives in your classroom? Have your students check out some of the ARTICLES related to the UN MDG goals. In groups of 4, students will read an article of your choosing (each group will read a different article). Within each group, provide questions as a starting point for discussion in the group. One student should be the reporter and write down the main ideas presented by the group and a question they'd like to ask the group pertaining to what they read. 
    2. When ready, have each group report out on the article they read and facilitate discussion through the question they formed.
  3. Idea #3 - Fact Sheets
    1. A simple activity utilizes the Fact Sheets developed in 2013.  
      1. Goal #1 Fact Sheet
      2. Goal #2 Fact Sheet
      3. Goal #3 Fact Sheet
      4. Goal #4 Fact Sheet
      5. Goal #5 Fact Sheet
      6. Goal #6 Fact Sheet
      7. Goal #7 Fact Sheet
      8. Goal #8 Fact Sheet
    2. Split students into groups and have them read over a goal you assign. Each fact sheet provides an overview, targets, and current progress. From this, students can produce a product (poster, Prezi, infographic, etc) to share that information.
These are just a few ideas for now. Please check back in future blogs when I'll focus on just a few of the goals at a time and provide some articles, curriculum and ideas to incorporate these MDG's into your classes. 

Have a great week!

Agriculturally Yours,
Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriculture Science Teacher
@TeamWeaverFever

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week Reflection #letstalk

Did you know that in the past year it was estimated that 43.7 million adults (18 and older) in the U.S had a mental health illness that affected them. That number is 18.6 percent of our population in the U.S.  Last week, was Mental Health Awareness Week. In reflection to that week, this blog post will be focusing on the importance of educating and being aware of this disease.


As agriculture teachers, we are not only educators. We are coaches, advisors, and of course role models in our students lives. We get to see them every day which is a perfect opportunity to observe their behaviors. The fact that the percentage represents such a young population, we can make it our duty to catch this early on before it turns into a problem later on in our students lives.


Outlined below, are some characteristics of the disease as well as some facts to help you understand what mental illness is:

-       Mental illness is very common in our society and counseling or therapy can be helpful treatments

-       Struggling with a mental illness does not make you weak! In fact, when you or a student is asking for help, that is a sign of strength.

-       1 in 4 adults experienced a mental health issue

-       1 in 10 young people experience a period of major depression

-       Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

-       Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old.

-       One common myth is that people with a health disorder can just snap out of it. The fact is that there are many factors that contribute to it:

o   Life Experiences

o   Family history of mental health problems

o   Biological Factors

§  Genes, physical illness, injury, brain chemistry
By looking for signs in your students, at home, or even within your family, you can help anyone out! Remember, in the agriculture world, we are one big family! We are there to support, encourage, and motivate our students as well as our coworkers every day.

Please help spread awareness and educate people about Mental Health Illnesses. Maybe you are the one person who can help change someone’s life! If you would like more information, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has some great resources
: http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illness_awareness_week

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!


 Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger
Twitter Handle- @OSweetMurph
 2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher