Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Student of the Month: Stacia Creed (@stacia_creed) #psuaged16

Every month, the Agricultural and Extension Education Department chooses to highlight certain students who are excelling well in our major or someone who has gone above and beyond each month. For the month of April, Stacia Creed (@stacia_creed), a 2016 Student Teacher Candidate was selected as our Student of the Month!
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As a graduate student, Stacia has had a long college career pursuing what she loves and that is of course agriculture. She started her educational career at Delaware Valley College (now known as Delaware Valley University) majoring in Livestock Science and Management due to her love for animal production. After she graduated with her bachelors, she knew that something was missing which led her to the Penn State Agricultural and Extension Education Department. After discussing options for her to get her degree and to become a teacher, she started Penn State University in the spring of 2014.
Since Stacia has been at Penn State, she has taken it upon herself to make a difference everywhere she goes! She is currently the Teach Ag! Society Student Advisor and apart of the AEE Graduate Student Association. Along with the various clubs she is involved in, she also is conducting her own research with the 2015 Photo Contest submissions.

Stacia plans on graduating in May 2016 with a Master’s of Education in Agricultural and Extension Education. After she receives her degree, she plans on teaching at the high school level and becoming an agriculture teacher. Her goal is to teach in Pennsylvania but, she is not opposed to teaching in the Midwest because of its open spaces and community. Another dream that she has is getting into Agritourism. “I don’t know if it will happen, but I would love to teach the general public about where their food products come from while showing them a working farm” We know that Stacia is going to do great things in the future, and with a full education behind her, who knows what she will do next!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Blog Editor
2016 Student Teacher Candidate


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#teachagtech -> How to Use Google Classroom

How to Use Google Classroom

This past year I have had the opportunity, along with my colleagues at Penn Manor, to use Google Classroom in my agricultural classroom.  Google Classroom is part of the Google Apps for Education suite that streamlines so many of the great Google tools I love - Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Sheets and Google Drawings (I could go on).  This short video shows how to set up your classes, add students and post items online using Google Classroom.  This learning management system allows you to post announcements, assignments and collect grades all in one place that seamlessly incorporates outside files and Google tools.

Below you will see my dashboard of classes.  It will list the classes along with any upcoming assignments.  (We just switched semesters today, so not many assignments are posted).  As you can see, you as a teacher can join other teacher's classes/groups as we have with the Greenhand Degree group.  I use Google Classroom to make an organizational stream for my Dairy Judging/Management CDE team.  There are many ways you can use Google Classroom to help with educational endeavors.

Below you will see what an individual class looks like.  I have opened up Floriculture.  You can see on the left sidebar there are upcoming assignments and the class code students can easily enter in order to enter the class.  (You can also personally invite them if you so choose.)  Across the top you will find the Stream, Students and About.  The stream is nothing more than a "stream" of the postings, assignments and other various items you post to your class.  You can delete them once done.  The Student tab is a listing of students who are enrolled in the class with a link to their school e-mail.  (I didn't include a picture of that page due to privacy protection - it isn't complicated.)  Next the About page lists your name, email and allows you to post materials.  Here you can list a syllabus, rules and regulations for your class or as it was so wisely suggested to me by Doug Masser at Pequea Valley, you can post information just pertaining to the lessons you are covering at that time for easy reference.  Below you can see I have posted a link to an identification quiz students were required to take and another assignment to post on their digital portfolios their experiences at Longwood Gardens.  It literally takes a few clicks to make this all happen.  

Below you can see a snapshot of the stream where you can choose to post a file from your computer, link something from GoogleDrive, embed a video or include a outside link.  Please notice the "Announcement" and "Assignment" options.  I will explain these further below.  

The next best thing about entering an assignment or announcement is you can mass post items.  The picture below is show my entering an "Announcement".  In addition, if you click on the class and the down arrow it will list all the classes you have created in Google Classroom.  So if for instance, you had an assignment you wanted all classes to do on SAE, you could just click on all the classes and it would immediately post to all other streams. 

Below is an example of entering an "Assignment" and you can see there are a few changes.  You can list the "Title of the Assignment", "Description of the Assignment" and set a due date.  Again you have the same options for the source of the assignment and whether you want to post it to multiple classes.  Once you have sent the assignment you can go back in and set the total points.  Once you have submissions, you can download all assignments to evaluate at one time.

There is even a Google Classroom app - pretty awesome stuff.  Here is a link on more information on how to acquire the app.  Below you can see what the classes look like on your mobile device and how class information is displayed.  I love the app option because I can be constantly connected to my classroom in an easy-to-use convenient way.  For example while I was at the Pete&C Conference, I came across a beautiful floral display at the Hershey Hotel, I immediately took a photo and posted the picture on the Floriculture stream and asked students to comment - good or bad.  They enjoyed this because not only was I involving them in what I was doing, but they were able to interact and interject their comments.  

As you can see, I'm a big fan of Google Classroom.  I like its simplicity.  So many times learning management systems get muddled in options which can loose students.  You never want the technology to get in the way of the learning it is supposed to be supporting.  I believe Google Classroom does a wonderful job of doing just this.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

#teachagtech -> Teach Ag!! Technology Tips Pt 1

Teach Ag! Technology Tips Part 1:  I am little over half of my tenure as the PSU TeachAg Technologist.  I thought it would be a good time to do an inventory of posts I have been doing for the TeachAg E-mail Blasts located here.  There is a great deal of information here that can hopefully help you in your classroom.

Using Twitter in the Classroom and Beyond
Twitter can be a useful tool in the Teach Ag! Classroom. This is a short guide on how to begin using Twitter in the agriculture classroom.

Discover Pennsylvania Learns via iTunes.
Utilize online teaching materials aligned to help students become more successful on Keystone exams.

Managing your e-reputation and being a good digital citizen is crucial to future success.

Using WeekCal App to Organize Our Busy Life

The WeekCal App is a handy app to help organize our busy agriculture educator lives.

Keeping Students on Task While Using Devices

With the ever-increasing push to use technology in the classroom, it can be a challenge to manage students' attention. This Edudemic article poses some great solutions for this problem.

ck-12 Offers Supplemental Materials for your Classroom

ck-12 offers standards-aligned materials for your classroom.

Use Graphite to Narrow App Options

Use this online tool to sort through webpages, games and apps for classroom use.

Using Remind 101 for all areas in the Ag Ed Program

This one way messaging platform allows you to remind students of anything for class, SAE, or FFA.

Find Inspiration with Pinterest

Use Pinterest for inspiration in all areas of the agriculture classroom and beyond.

Using Adobe Flash for Differentiated Learning of the FFA Creed

Using animation with sound can help different types of learners more efficiently learn the FFA Creed.

Generating QR Codes and Short URL's

Generating QR Codes and Short URL's

Make a visual impact - Use Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is an alternative to commonly used presentation programs. It has a high visual appeal to present minimal information.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#teachagtech -> How to Use Google Forms for Easy ID Quizzes

How to Use Google Forms for Easy ID Quizzes:  I made a vow several years ago after grading I don't know how many identification quizzes that someday I would go paperless.  Looking back now, I know it was quite a lofty goal, but as technology becomes more user friendly, not one that isn't unattainable now.  Some experience in the classroom and a more grounded approach to life has definitely shown me that not all examinations should be given on paper or a computer, but there are definitely times when it would be most efficient and effective to test and provide feedback via a technological interface.

Here enters Google Forms.  I have already provided one post on the use of Google Forms for Formative Assessment, but wanted to share a system I use on a weekly basis to quiz students on various identification quizzes.  I use this heavily with my Floriculture and Veterinary Science class, but also use it in Intro to Ag Mechanics to ask students to identify parts and tools.

In the following video, I show you how to go about creating a Google Form that will streamline your assessment process when it comes to ID quizzes.

As I mentioned in the video, I would provide students with a hard copy of the name selections.  This seems to reduce test anxiety and provides students with an organizational tool as they progress through the quiz.

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

#GlobalTeachAg: Nur Husna, Visiting Global Teach Ag! Fellow, discusses agriculture education in Malaysia

Earlier this month, Nur Husna, a Ph.D. Candidate in Workforce Education from Malaysia, delivered a presentation about Malaysia and their school based agriculture education system. If you missed out on the opportunity to hear her speak, she provided in depth knowledge on what education majors and teachers have to go through to get certified in their field. 

One interesting thing is that teachers have to sign a contract and abide by the following rules when they are in their field. Below are just some of the responsibilities and rules that these teachers have to follow.

Ministry of education Malaysia: Teacher education Financing terms/ contract
Student teacher Responsibilities
1)    Must successfully complete their studies within the prescribed period
2)    Not allow to change area  study and / or place of study to University or institution other than the one designated
3)    Must strive  very hard to study by attending lectures, seminars, tutorials, lectures and any program carried out in connection with the study

1) Must always adhere to the rules and discipline as in force at the university or institution
2) Not Allow to take part in any demonstrations 3) Not allow participate directly or indirectly in any political party
4) Not allow to engage in any conduct or activities that may affect the study

Serve the Government
1)    Will serve the government as determine by the government  after graduation

Teacher Pledge when entering the teaching profession
I promise to:
1)    Always be obedient to His Majesty the King, the country and the government
2)    Always carry out my duties with conscientiously, earnest, efficient, trustworthy, and responsible.
3)    Will not neglect my duty for my personal interests
4)    Will not use my position as public servants for my personal benefit
5)    Will not behave in a way that can aggravate and discredit the public services

Serve the Government
1)    Will serve the government as determine by the government  after graduation

As you can see by these lists, you begin to notice that teachers are under watch by several people and they take their jobs very seriously like we do in America.
After the presentation, I was able to interview Nur to ask her more questions about her presentation. In the interview below, questions were asked based on her presentation and other stories that she had to help us see what her country was like. Check out the video!

If you would like to watch the full seminar, please click on the video below (18 minutes) and watch an abbreviated presentation created by Nur in our PSU One-Button Studio!

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 Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!
Olivia Murphy-Sweet
2016 Student Teacher Candidate
Blog Editor

Monday, February 23, 2015

#psuaged15: Morgan Campbell explains her unique, chaotic, awesome, student teaching experience #teachag

Each week, the Penn State Ag Ed Roars! Blog will highlight a student teacher that is out in the field teaching and learning valuable experiences that they can use in their future! Morgan Campbell (@mcamp400) is teaching at Mifflinburg Area High School under the supervision of Mr. Chuck Kessler in Mifflinburg, PA.
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Morgan Campbell (@mcamp400)
If you would have asked me four months ago what student teaching would be like, I would have given you an idealistic picture of perfectly planned units, well-behaved students and flawlessly executed lessons. To say the least, my student teaching experience has been far from my expectations…. And that’s okay!

In the short five weeks that I have been at Mifflinburg Area High School, I have been thrown my fair share of curveballs. Not only did I begin teaching my third day there, but I also picked up four additional classes within the first three weeks. Many of the units that I had planned had to be majorly overhauled and I found out that I would be picking up some additional units later on. Throw in some schedule changes and snow days, and you have a recipe for panic… and that’s what I did!

Morgan Campbell teaching in a shop class.
Anyone who knows me can assure that I am extremely detail-oriented. I thrive on structure and I like to know exactly what I am doing, when. This combination of changes and alterations had me feeling very overwhelmed, but after taking a step back, I realized that rarely (if ever) does anything go perfectly as planned in education. Mr. Kessler has said it once, and I’m sure that he will say it again; “education is about being on Plan B or Plan C”. I am finding more and more truth in these words as I gain experience at the front of the classroom.

While these changes have caused a bit of chaos thus far and the idealistic picture in my mind has faded, I believe that embracing these changes is helping me find my feet as an educator. I am being stretched (far) from my comfort zone, but this has prepared me for the realities that a teacher faces on a daily basis… and for that I am thankful!

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 Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!
Olivia Murphy-Sweet
2016 Student Teacher Candidate
Blog Editor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Words of Wisdom Wednesday: Ellen Thompson shares views on job placement strategies #teachag #WOWW

Ellen Thompson (@ellencthompson) has been selected to be Penn State Ag Ed Roars! first Words of Wisdom Wednesday participant on this blog. She is the Project Director for the National Teach Ag Campaign and works hard everyday spreading the word that the world NEEDS more agriculture educators to fill our national shortage. Ellen shares today some important strategies that you should consider when looking at open teaching positions in high schools.
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I knew the moment I saw the vacancy post for the Sauk Centre agriculture teacher position that it was the place for me.  I was even more convinced when I walked in the door for my interview.  Eight years later with tear filled eyes I left Sauk Centre to move to South Dakota.  The honor and privilege of being part of that school and community stays with me to this day.  It was the house that built me.  I cannot imagine teaching anywhere else.  
Accepting a teaching position is more than just accepting a job.  You are making a commitment to the mission of the school and developing a connection to the community.    You should feel welcome, excited and at home.  The best way to know if the school is a right fit is to spend some time ahead of the interview on the school website, perusing the local newspaper and dropping in on a few businesses either before or after your interview.  Bring along questions that will help you get to know more about the school.  I recommend these as a starting point…
  • What are you most proud of at your school? 
  • I noticed your graduation rate is higher than the state average, what do you attribute this success to?
  • What do you want the ag program to look like in 5 years? 
  • What is your policy regarding professional development?
  • What would the parents in the community say are the schools greatest assets (also ask some parents the same question if possible)? 
  • What is the new teacher on boarding process? 
Listen carefully to how they respond to these questions.  The answers will tell you what the school values so you know if their values match yours.  As an agriculture education major you are precious commodity and school knows it.  Make sure you start your career off in a school that supports you, challenges you and has similar educational goals.  

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 Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!
Olivia Murphy-Sweet
2016 Student Teacher Candidate
Blog Editor