Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2014 Student Teachers (#psuaged14) reflect on their Micro Teaching Experience at Central Mountain

A front view of the high school. Photo Creds: Chris Knight,The Patriot-News
A few weeks ago the 2014 student teaching cohort traveled to Central Mountain Area High School to apply what they have been learning throughout the semester. It was an interesting time for most, being able to see what worked and what didn't work, with all the theories and practices we have been learning throughout the semester. During the three day teaching period, we approached the situation recognizing that we had free use of trial and error to see how our theories worked, and if they didn't, we would never have to go back there or see the students again. We have been working a lot this year to have a growth mindset. Part of that is to take what you did well and what you did badly and learn from it. Change the bad in the future and grow from the experience. Nothing is a bad experience; it is always a learning experience that can help push you in the right direction.

As my cohort reflects on our experiences at Central Mountain, here are some of the things that we did well and others that we need to improve on.

Valerie Laub prepares for a class

Meagan Slates was happy with her student teaching experience! To challenge herself, she taught a welding class where students completed a hook project. Meagan started in the classroom the first day to really go over what they were doing and why its important. On the second day, she broke the class into three groups so they would be able to travel around the shop, complete their project in smaller groups and be safer. Meagan demonstrated at each station and asked many questions to make sure that the students really knew what was going on.  She could tell they were getting a little annoyed with all the questions, but she wanted to make sure everyone stayed safe. On the the third day, the students actually got to work at the stations and everything went well. Overall, Meagan was really happy with how her micro teaching experience took place and is excited for her future plans of student teaching. You can read her blog here.

Allison Hoover facilitating an activity outside

Allison Hoover ended her blog with some “concepts for success” such as: to set the stage by creating a felt need for the content, don’t second guess yourself, keep directions clear and concise, and to ask high order questions to get them thinking. She also said "teach for many years.. then maybe you’ll get it down".

I completed student teaching on Wildland Forest Firefighting. I had a class of nine senior boys and really enjoyed working with them. However, I did not keep them engaged enough. It was a very interesting experience as each day the class responded differently.  On the first day they talked too much, while on the second day, a student fell asleep.  On the last day, I had a really awesome bellwork and interest approach but lost their attention as the class went on. I learned many lessons for my future student teaching experience like carrying out lesson plans and teaching from PowerPoints, but especially preparation. Preparation is everything and can really help you out. I was really prepared with the stuff that I had since I brought some equipment that the firefighters really use, but I did not have enough engaging activities and I kept losing my students. However, this is a learning experience and it served its purpose as I learned a lot and I will improve in the future.

My student teaching cohort all had good experiences and learned a lot during our time there. We were able to learn from this experience and change things for our LifeKnowledge lesson at our cooperating school that we are student teaching at. Teaching is one of those things that just takes a while to become good at. It takes a while to come to a point that you feel comfortable and this is something that people really need to keep in mind. You cannot enter the field thinking you will be perfect right away. You need to give yourself room to grow.

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!

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

Alpha Tau Alpha Welcomes New Members

2013 Initiation of New Members into ATA

Twelve students were initiated into the Eta Chapter of Alpha Tau Alpha on Tuesday, November 19th. Alpha Tau Alpha is a national, professional, honorary, agricultural society. It is founded upon the development of true professional spirit and grown in agriculture.

The 2013 Alpha Tau Alpha initiates.
(Back Row) Kate Bassett, Morgan Campbell, Amanda Forstater,
Katherine Andrews, Janae Van Buskirk & Toby Neal.
(Front Row) Jillian Gordon, Jena Shaffer, Laura Metrick,
Bryanna Kenno and Deanna Miller.

The initiation ceremony took place in the Ferguson building at Universtiy Park. It was led by current members of ATA and Advisor Daniel Foster.  New initiate and 2015 Student Teacher, Janae VanBuskirk stated “I am excited to begin this new experience. I have ever been involved in an organization like this. It is nice to be recognized as students who work hard for their grades. I think all of the initiates are excited to grow out professionally and to ultimately make new friends with the same goals!”

The society was founded in 1921 and the Eta Chapter was organized at Penn State in 1931. The organization strives to promote the high standards and ideals in agricultural and extension education and to promote the bond between individuals in and those that have interest in the world of agriculture and extension education.

 2014 Student Teachers helping with the ATA initiation ceremony.
Another 2015 Student Teacher and ATA Initiate Morgan Campbell said “Becoming an ATA member is an exciting and rewarding accomplishment. I am proud to be a member of an organization that represents the professionalism and camaraderie of agriculture educators!”

The twelve students who have just joined the Eta Chapter of Alpha Tau Alpha will enjoy the fellowship of individuals in an atmosphere of high scholarship that is dedicated to teaching, and who have a sincere desire to be a leader in agricultural education. The Students are; Katherine Andrews, Kate Bassett, Morgan Campbell, Amanda Forstater, Jillian Gordon, Megan Keller, Bryanna Keno, Laura Metrick, Deanna Miller, Toby Neal, Jena Shaffer and Janae VanBuskirk  

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!

Laura Metrick 
Student Blogger
2015 Student Teacher
Twitter: @Its_LauraBeth

National FFA Parliamentary Procedure Career Development Event Reflection

L-R Tyler Scheffer, Olivia Murphy-Sweet, and Doug Masser
I was fortunate enough to travel with Penn State to the 86th Annual FFA National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. There were over 62,000 FFA members in downtown Louisville for a week celebrating agriculture and FFA. This year, I had the honor to be a judge at the Novice Parliamentary Procedures Competition for the Society of Agricultural Education Parliamentarians, be an assistant with the Senior Parliamentary ProceduresCareer Development Event for national FFA and work at the Penn State booth to promote how amazing our school is. Now, this may sound hectic and busy, but I was able to be a part of a national conference and make an impact on the lives of the students that were there.

Students competing in the Final Rounds
During the Novice Parliamentary Competition, students have to demonstrate a knowledge in Roberts Rules of Order (the bible of Parliamentary Procedures), good debates that are prevalent to the motion at hand, make the motions that they were assigned to, which is on a card in front of them, and have 3 debates. Although there are more rules and regulations regarding the competition, the students have the opportunity to show us how well they work as a team to get a meeting completed in under 12 minutes. In addition, they also have a written test and oral questions after they presentation their meeting to the judges. The national winners this year were from the San Luis Obispo chapter from California. They blew the judges away with their presentation and their knowledge.

Another Penn State student, Tyler Schaeffer, a coach of the Cumberland Valley’s National Parliamentary Procedures team, has a tremendous respect for this competition. “I feel that the Parliamentary CDE is one of the best competitions that students can test themselves. It demonstrates teamwork, communication skills, makes them understand parliamentary knowledge, and develops leaders.” This is more than just a competition. It is preparing the world for future leaders who understand the proper way of how to run meetings and have reinforced better communication skills.  
View of the Parliamentary Procedure room

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 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dupont National Agriscience Preservice Teacher Program from NAAE

Recently during the 2013 National FFA Convention, sixteen students from across the nation chose to develop themselves professionally with the help of Dupont and NAAE. These sixteen students from fourteen universities applied and were accepted into the National Agriscience Preservice Teacher Program, created especially for students that were currently student teaching or would be teaching in the upcoming spring or fall.

Two students from Penn State were selected, Jessie Ross (@JessieLeeRoss) and myself (@JRose_Case). To be selected into the program, we had to answer a variety of short answer questions, submit a resume, and have a letter of recommendation. We were honored to have been selected for the opportunity.

The preservice program was funded through Dupont Office of Education and facilitated by the National Association of Agricultural Educators coordinated through Alissa Smith. 

The teachers leaders of the program taught the program by example, going through the different areas and subjects in which inquiry based learning could occur. We learned how to keep and grade a notebook as we recorded different lab activities such as, how to write hypotheses, find out if double stuffed oreos are really double stuffed, photosynthesis and respiration, grizzly greenhouse murders, and cattle calls.

Jessie Ross trying to identify flowers to find the "killer".
Inquiry based instruction is having students do mental work rather than the teacher unloading information in front of the students, and it also helps them to think critically. It is not a passive form of teaching and reengages students into learning. Instructional strategies that we learned included having the students write reflections in their notebooks in a different color; for example, they can write definitions in a different color. There were also partner highlighting where two students read the same article and had different color high lighters. When they are done reading and highlighting, they discussed what they highlighted and their partner will highlighted what the other person highlighted on their own paper. This got them engaged in a discussion of what they thought was important and why. It also makes them not miss anything important because they will have two people on one paper.

Jeanne Case on left, working together to discover the photosynthesis cycle
They also gave us classroom management tips. My personal favorite was stamps to grade a notebook. As students complete different parts of their project, they have to get approval from the teacher in the form of a stamp. After they have gotten the stamp, they may move on and continue with the classwork. This definitely beats dragging home 20 notebooks from one class, and it also checks understanding throughout the lesson to make sure the students really know what is going on. Question cards were another avenue since it limits student questions. They can only as ask many questions as they have cards.. and yes, may I go to the bathroom does count. This makes them think more rather than just asking for it to be spoon fed to them when they need help. Lastly, a way to get students into group is to hand out famous pair cards. Students will match up with their partner, an example being Louis Lane and Superman.

Jessie reflected on the experience and said, "I 'm really glad that I had this opportunity to take part in the Preservice Program on inquiry based instruction, learning how to teach students both material and more importantly how to think on there own. Along with the instruction, the instructors also shared great classroom management tips to still keep the room under control without limiting your students, as well as grading tips so that the lessons still have value to the students....I would have never thought that students would work so hard to get their paper stamped until I saw fifteen college students and myself's in action. It truly was a great experience and would really encourage next years student teachers to fill out the application and take part."  

Besides from learning a lot about inquiry based instruction, we also got to meet and work with our peers from across the country. A girl that I talked to was already student teaching in South Dakota and had a job lined up for January, which I thought was really impressive for a fast turnover rate.

It was great to learn more about another form of instruction, especially before student teaching where mistakes are allowed to happen and you can really figure out what works and doesn't work for you. Also, classroom management is necessary to learn, because it is necessary everywhere. Lastly, it is important to participate in professional development events, because as people always say…. It is important to not invent the wheel twice!

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!

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: @JRose_Case

Monday, December 2, 2013

What is Agricultural Education?

The most commonly heard phrase when walking on the campus of Penn State University,  watching a Nittany Lion football game or attending the graduation ceremonies are the words We Are! The slogan which has become a trademark of the University has been around since 1948. Over the years it has been used in many ways and for many different occasions but is always brought back to the phrase We Are Penn State!

Ever since I was a little girl, this phrase is one that I have known well. Having a die hard Penn State family I knew from the time I could talk that when someone yells We Are, you yell back Penn State! However now that I am a student at Penn State I have began thinking of this phrase in a different way. My major has become the core focus of my time and got me thinking what is Agriculture and Extension Education? What are we?

When most people think of the word agriculture the first and sometimes only thing that comes to mind is farming. And when you hear the word education, you think of a teacher. So to most people the Ag. Ed. major is basically teaching about farming. However, its so very much more than that. 

In an agriculture classroom the things learned and the experiences the students have are ones they will carry with them for a lifetime.  Agriculture education is designed to provide students with competencies to make them aware of and prepared for the world of work. It teaches them skills in public speaking, teamwork, finances, plant and animal science, small engines, community service, leadership and so many more. It provides skills students can transfer from the classroom setting to their careers and instruction that will engage students in the globalization of agriculture as the solution for environmental demands, food safety, technology, natural resource protection, and urbanization. Agriculture Education is more than teaching students about farming. It is about educating them, being a positive agent of change and giving them the knowledge to be successful.

This video by Agriculture and Extension Education majors Morgan Campbell, Kate Bassett and Quinn Cashell does excellent job of explaining just what an Agriculture Educator does!

So what is Agriculture and Extension Education? What are we?

We are Educators.
We are Changing Lives.
We are Making a Difference.

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!

Laura Metrick

2015 Student Teacher 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Penn State CFFA hosts a Career Development Event Day for High School Students

Here are some of the Penn State  student helpers
On September 28, 2013 Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences lead by the PSU CFFA hosted the first ever Career Development Event (CDE) Day.  A CDE is a competition that connects to various careers and strengthens student’s skills to provide them with both experience and knowledge.  There are 24 CDE’s listed at the national level and 8 of those were offered at the CDE Day at PSU.  The goal of this event was to provide Pennsylvania FFA members a glimpse of the diversity of competitions within the FFA.  An additional benefit was to attract younger agriculturalists to Penn State University.

FFA members and Penn State students conversing together
The CDE Day was organized by Penn State’s Collegiate FFA as a result of a delegate issue “To have a Practice CDE Day” discussed by FFA members at the State Convention in 2012.  During the week’s delegation process, the FFA members decided that they would be appreciative if Penn State’s Collegiate FFA would create and host the event.  The information was passed on to the Collegiate FFA Chapter and the members began to plan.  There were members who reached out to all of the agriculture educators across the commonwealth, and members who communicated with the different agriculture clubs on campus to encourage involvement.  CFFA wanted this event to not just be about Penn State’s FFA program, instead they wanted to emphasize the importance how FFA can connect and relate to any organization.  This event became a tool that helped to mold a stronger sense of community within the College of Agricultural Sciences. 

Students learn more about livestock judging from Block and Bridle
The following clubs played an essential role in the success of the day’s events: The Dairy Science Club who facilitated the Dairy Judging CDE, Tau Phi Delta running the Forestry CDE, Block and Bridle who facilitated both Horse and Livestock Judging, The Teach Ag Society who organized the Parliamentary Procedure and Public Speaking Events, The Small and Exotic Animal Club who ran the Vet Skills CDE, and The Wildlife Society who organized the Wildlife CDE.  There were over 100 students who participated in these events and they came from eleven different FFA chapters throughout Pennsylvania.  The students certainly had a blast and learned a lot.  One student on a response card said, “The people were nice, I learned a lot, I met a lot of new people.”  This response signified to the members of CFFA that they were doing great for the first ever CDE Day.  Throughout the day CFFA members sought feedback from the different clubs, teachers, and students that participated to ensure that the events to follow will only be greater! 

There is a sincere thank you to all of the volunteers, participants and supporters of this event.  Without their faith and encouragement it would not have been possible.  The first line of the FFA Creed states “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.”  Well the people, who showed up with their heart of service on September 28th, demonstrated that the future of agriculture is certainly in good hands!

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!

Jenna Moser
Guest Student Blogger
2015 Teacher Candidate
Twitter: @JennaLeeMoser 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Leveraging Crowd-Funding through Technology to Total Student Success in Supervised Agricultural Experiences - A submission to the Alpha Tau Alpha Essay Contest

Recently at the National FFA Convention collegiate students participated in the Alpha Tau Alpha Conclave. There were a variety of events such as parliamentary procedure, quiz bowl, debate, outstanding chapter and essay. Here is an essay that Penn State's own Jillian Gordon a 2015 student teacher wrote in response to the following prompt:

With the changes in traditional agriculture and the innovative technologies of the present and future, describe the potential of SAE in school-based Agricultural Education. Use current agricultural research to support your position

We are very proud of her essay and wanted to make it available on our blog for our reader. 
Author Jillian Gordon (on the right) worked the National Teach Ag Booth during National FFA Convention

Leveraging Crowd-Funding through Technology to Total Student Success in Supervised Agricultural Experiences

Potential is defined as having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future (Merriam-Webster, 2013). Potential is what drives agricultural education across the country, pushed forward by the notion that every student is capable of developing into something larger themselves.  The potential of students is limitless, but the reality is that potential has barriers, mostly in the form of resources. This is ever true in agricultural education, specifically when looking into Supervised Agricultural Experiences. While not true in every case, some of the most effective and educational SAEs require monetary resources. Students can be limited in their outcomes of SAE through school based Agricultural Education simply due to lack of funding. Whether it be a research, placement or even entrepreneurial project, the cost is there and limits students in their potential to receive a truly complete agricultural education experience.  A study done by three professors from Texas A&M University showed evidence that among the factors influencing a student’s participation of SAE was that of resources, specific the need for monetary resources (Lewis, Rayfield, & Moore, 2012). Conversely, while resources may limit, technology has the ability to expand potential.  If the burden of finances was taken off the table through the use of technology, SAEs would have the potential to be the leading force in the advancements of agricultural innovations as well as school based agricultural education.
The evolution of SAEs from Rufus Stimson and the beginnings of “home-project” concepts of vocational agriculture to John Dewey and today’s SAE has been a captivating one (Boone, Doerfert, & Elliot, 1987). The advancements of technology within SAE have assisted students in going from the traditional applied “home-projects” to developing 21st century skills such as financial literacy, global awareness, and initiative and self direction (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2013). Innovations such as The Agricultural Education Tracker help further advance these said skills. However, technology has not fixed the barrier of funding student projects. As for any individual who is in the market for seed money to start their own business or project, students have the option to take out loans. Almost always, due to lack of substantial income and credit history, students rely on their parents to get that loan for them. The additional financial burden to parents is not ideal, and unfortunately the student is simply out of luck. But what if technology advanced to help students with this barrier as well? The solution could potentially be just around the corner.
“Crowd-funding” is an up- and-coming trend that is taking entrepreneurship and personal projects by storm. Defined as “the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals,” (ValueClick, Inc, 2013) there are many companies and organizations out there that are utilizing this new trend. One example is Kiva, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization founded in 2005 with the mission of connecting people through lending to help alleviate global poverty (Kiva, 2013). The organization works with micro financing- a financial service for those who do not have access to typical banking systems- and pairs lenders with borrowers to provide short-term loans. This allows low-income individuals and families the opportunity to make an investment, earn the money back to return it to the lender. The family is able to continue to thrive, and the lender can help with no personal cost to them. Imagine the wealth of possibilities that could be available if micro financing was available specifically for Supervised Agricultural Experiences. Not everyone out there can necessarily give $1,000, but what if every single person could give just $1 to help fund a student project? Additionally, students could add even more 21st Century Skills to their arsenal by having the ability to help micro-finance projects of other students and see their investments come back to them.
When technology is incorporated in the classroom, students are more apt to fully dive into the learning experience. It has been shown that students who actively participate in FFA and Ag Education in high school have a 97% chance of returning for their sophomore year of post-secondary education; while only 60% of their non-FFA peers return (Aschenbrener & Dodson, 2010). In order to facilitate the best possible experience for these students, having the ability to give them minimal limits is vitally important. The technology of crowd funding has the potential to advance SAE projects exponentially and in return, impact the agricultural futures of tomorrow.

Aschenbrener, M., & Dodson, B. (2010). Impact of FFA and Supervised Agricultural Experience on Student Retention and Academic Success. AAAE Research Papers.

Boone, H. N., Doerfert, D. L., & Elliot, J. (1987). Supervised Occupational Experience Programs: History, Philosophy, Current Status and Future Implications. The Journal of AATEA , 8.

Kiva. (2013). How Does Kiva Work? Retrieved 10 12, 2013, from

Lewis, L. J., Rayfield, J., & Moore, L. (2012). An Assessment of Students' Perceptions Towards Factors Influencing Supervised Agricultural Experience Participation. Proceedings of the 2012 American Association of Agricultural Educators Research Conference.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2013). Framework for 21st Century Learning. Retrieved 10 12, 2013, from Partnership for 21st Century Skills:

ValueClick, Inc. (2013). Crowdfunding. Retrieved 10 12, 2013, from Investopedia:

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!

 Ms. Jillian Gordon
Student Blogger
2015 Student Teacher

2013-2014 National Teach Ag! Ambassador

Sunday, October 27, 2013

2014 Student Teacher Emily Urban Travels to World Food Prize

Agriculture IS Sexy!

For most of us here in the United States, if we want to eat something, we: open up the refrigerator or the pantry, pick up the phone for delivery, stop at the local super market, or meet up with friends at a restaurant. The availability of food does not cross our minds and this luxury is a given in most of our lives. However, food insecurity is a major and rapidly growing issue around the world, as population, environmental, social and other pressures limit the availability for millions of people to obtain a dependable, nourishing, and safe food supply.

Penn State World Food Prize attendees from left to right: Veronica Pasi, Emily Urban, Sarah Eissler, Anh Tuyet Tran, and Abraham DeHart (missing) 
I, and four other Penn State students, had the opportunity this past week to spend three days in Des Moines, Iowa, attending the World Food Prize. After being granted a full scholarship to attend this conference, I was prepared to be inspired by the work being done around the world to improve food security issues. The World Food Prize is held annually to recognize top biotechnology achievements in the field and to conduct dialogue pertaining to the many different issues related to this area. With top industry correspondents and international guests, world leaders in the area of international agriculture gathered together in the remembrance of Norman Borlaug’s achievements in biotechnology and the impact that the Green Revolution had on the world, as it brought millions out of hunger, especially in Latin America. Guests and speakers at this year’s World Food Prize included Tony Blair, Howard Buffet, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the President of Iceland, and corporate CEO’s, including Brett Begemann from Monsanto.

Agriculture IS sexy

This was a major theme after Mpule Kwelagobe, CEO of MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development, stated this boldly in the opening session. Young people are losing interest in agriculture she argued, the subject that feeds the world! To me, this is how the importance of agricultural education comes into view. We as agricultural educators, whether in formal school or informal settings, are given the notable task of promoting agriculture and expanding agricultural literacy not only here in the US but also around the world.


The State Capitol Building of Iowa.
The inspiration and knowledge of opportunities that I gained from this experience will have a lasting impact on my professional development. As I am currently a senior in Agricultural Education and Extension with a minor in International Agriculture, I am looking into entering graduate school with plans of making a positive impact on global food insecurity issues, while also utilizing my agricultural education background. It was truly amazing how top professionals from around the world were simply sitting next to us during speaker sessions, and we all jumped on the opportunity to talk to as many people as possible. Many of us gained career ideas, job offers, and graduate school opportunities.

To check out more about this year’s World Food Prize, checkout #worldfoodprize and #agricultureissexy.

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!

Emily Urban
Student Guest Blogger
2014 Student Teacher 
Oley Valley High School

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

PSU Ag Councils Recognizes AEE Major with Youth Leadership Award

Caleb at the luncheon ready to get his award
Caleb Wright, a senior in agricultural education was recently awarded the Youth Leadership Award by the Penn State Agricultural Council. Every year the Penn State Ag Council recognizes three groups; one is a member of council for their leadership, second is a student, and third is a member or group in the agricultural industry.

Caleb was nominated for the award by his advisers and was asked to provide a resume to send into the selection committee. After sending in his resume, he was emailed said that he was selected for the award and was asked to attend the meeting to receive the award.

Caleb with his award!!
After receiving the award Caleb said “To be recognized by your peers when being elected to an office is one thing, but to be recognized by the leaders of the industry for your efforts as a student and leader is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” He is also very excited to have been selected and receive a lion statue. It is especially an honor because all of the agriculture in Pennsylvania is represented on the council and being recognized really shows that all of the work completed by you has not gone unnoticed.

Caleb feels refreshed and pumped up to go into the world as an agent of change. “This award was not won on one skill or event in my life. It has been the accumulation of taking chances and surrounding myself with amazing people and friends.” Caleb said, as he reflected on his time at Penn State.

The Agriculture and Extension Education Program has seen many student receive this award before Caleb.  This really shows the caliber of the students in the program and the amazing opportunities that the faculty provides. Students feel that taking advantage of one opportunity leads to the ability and want to do more. Sometimes students only need to take that first step to set themselves apart from the masses and find themselves as an individual. The Penn State Agriculture and Extension Education program as well as the Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education Department enable every student to reach their amazing potential.
The Lion that will be displayed on his desk this spring while student teaching at Midd-West High School

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!

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

Teach Ag! Society: Brand New Spirit!

Teach Ag! Society and ATA recruitment board
Teach Ag! Society, a newly formed club at the Pennsylvania State University, has kicked started the new year with a bang! With big events such as the Welcome Back Picnic and celebrating National Teach Ag Day on the 26th of September, they are really making a splash in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Teach Ag! Society was formed as a branch of the Alpha Tau Alpha, an honorary professional agricultural fraternity. In order to be a member of Alpha Tau Alpha, a student must be in their junior year and have a GPA above a 3.0. This greatly limited the number of students that could be involved in the club. Since students could only be full members for two semesters, Teach Ag! Society was born to solve the problem of the rapid turnover rate.

Teach Ag! Society is open to all majors and focuses on students interested in promoting and teaching agriculture. They participate in the Alpha Tau Alpha Conclave at National FFA Convention where students get to show off their knowledge in Quiz Bowl, Parliamentary Procedure, essay writing and debate about agricultural education topics. They also try to enhance what their members are learning in class during club time by discussing current topics in agricultural education.
Students at National Teach Ag Day brunch

The club started the semester with many goals to work towards throughout the year.  So far, members have helped out at CDE Day, hosted by CFFA, by running workshops for parliamentary procedure and prepared public speaking CDEs. The club recently celebrated the first ever PSU National Teach Ag Day, and are currently working on having students participate in the ATA conclave during National Convention in late October.

To celebrate National Teach Ag Day the club hosted a brunch in the ASI building.  About fifteen teachers from across the college came together to enjoy food and company and receive recognition for teaching the wonderful subject of agriculture. Meagan Slates, president of Teach Ag Society, was happy with the first year’s turnout, but hopes more professors will come out to celebrate with the club next fall. Another event hosted by the club on Teach Ag Day was a National Association of Agricultural Educators live webcast party.  During this event, the students indulged in lunch and snacks while following the live twitter feed of the #taglive13 while watching the panel on TV. Students enjoyed connecting with agricultural enthusiasts across the nation through the live feed. It was especially fun when Penn State was recognized nationally for some of their efforts through shout outs from the panel. Lastly, the club sent resources for Teach Ag Day to 160 agricultural programs in Pennsylvania, which included: a lesson plan for Teach Ag Day, a letter thanking the teacher, an invitation to National FFA Convention, a PSU Teach Ag Day poster, a social media postcard, and a link to the YouTube promotional video that a member of Teach Ag! Society created.
Students at the live Teach Ag webcast Party

The club is continuing to grow and provide their students with resources and fun activities. Upcoming events include Bonfire/social event on November 7th  and NATIONAL CONVENTION during the week of October 30th where they HOPE TO BRING HOME SOME TROPHIES!

Teach Ag! Society’s mission is to promote the high standards and ideals of agricultural and extension education, to promote a bond between individuals in and those that have an interest in the world of agricultural extension education, to aid in the development of leadership, citizenship, and scholarship, and to cooperate in promoting the interest of the national organizations of Alpha Tau Alpha and Teach Ag!

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!

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

PA FFA Fall Leadership Conference: New experiences for both high school and college students!

FLC, formally known as Fall Leadership Conference was hosted in Blair County, October 1st at a convention center. The purpose of the conference is to teach and reinforce the different duties of FFA officers, as well as jump start new members of the FFA. It also serves the purpose of allowing pre-student teachers at Penn State to gain “real life” experience by teaching the different officer workshops.

Students work on scrapbooks during the "catch all" workshop
Penn State focuses on giving their students experience in the classroom before they student teach in the spring. FLC is the perfect outlet for that experience. This year, the 2014 student teaching cohort split into groups of two or three with one shadow teacher. The shadow teacher is typically a junior in the major that will be presenting at FLC next year.

Student teacher groups consisted of Michael Petrun and Tyler Cremeans completing the President workshop with Jillian Gordon as their shadow teacher. Vice President was taken care of by Mindy Stoops, Meagan Slates, and Jessie Ross, with Laura Metrick as their shadow teacher. The secretary workshop was taught by Brittany Rigg, Caleb Wright and Quinn Cachell with Cassidy Cheddar as their shadow teacher. Kate Livingston and Valerie Laub with Megan Keller as their shadow taught the treasurer workshop. The sentinel workshop was taught by Emily Urban, Jeanne Case and shadow teacher Jena Shaffer. The reporter workshop was taught by Anenette Sprenkel and Casi Foster with Kate Basset as their shadow.  Lastly, was the “catch all” group which included chaplains, parliamentarians, and student advisors. This group was taught by Billy Saylor, Todd McMillian, Allison Hoover and shadow teacher Howard Poole.

Mike said, “at first it was hard to imagine running a two hour workshop, but then time flew by and we didn’t even have enough time to finish all of our activities and wish there would have been more time to fit everything in.” This was Mike’s first FFA conference ever.

Allison Hoover, another pre-student teacher said “it was great to see the cohort teaching styles in actions. By having students in front of us, it was a good reminder on how to be prepared and motivated for real students as opposed to lab.”

Dr. John Ewing said, “FLC is a great opportunity for future teachers at Penn State to interact with current FFA members. I believe that everyone learned a lot as FLC is one of the first teaching opportunities for pre-student teachers.”

After lunch all the pre-students teachers met with Dr. Daniel Foster (@FosterDanielD) and Dr. John Ewing (@jce122)  to talk about the workshops that had gone on in the morning. Topics were discussed such as adaptations that have to be made on the fly, giving the students enough time to process information, and teaching while remaining silent. In addition, critical elements such as enthusiasm, creating energy in the beginning and keeping it, and getting the unmotivated students involved.

Jena Shaffer said “I am really glad that I was asked to be a shadow teacher at FLC this year, because I got to experience what the atmosphere is like and that this conference is all about. I believe that this will be extremely beneficial in preparing a workshop for next year.”

Another 2015 student teacher, Kate Basset said “after being a shadow teacher, I have picked up a few ideas, methods, and strategies that I can implement in my workshop planning for next year”.

Annette Sprenkel said, The level of energy depends on you! If you lose the energy it's really hard to get it back. While you're teaching it’s important to watch your students body language to determine if they need a change. Example: When students start yawning, they need to get up and move around.

Other aspects of the conference included workshops that the State Officers hosted for the new students. Some of the workshops included Official Dress, FFA History, SAEs and Teamwork. There was even a chapter,Williamsport, at the conference that had just been chartered two weeks ago! Austin Shay, Pennsylvania State Sentinel, said, “I believe that the day went great. Students were engaged and excited to learn and meet new people from across the state. Plus this conference is special because you do not have to be an FFA member to attend.”

Matt Reutlinger presents to all the students about WLC
To end the conference, 2015 student teacher, Matthew Reutlinger, hosted a workshop to get students pumped for WLC (Washington Leadership Conference) in the summer. This past summer, Matt spent seven weeks in Washington, D.C. as a facilitator for National FFA. There, he worked with students from across the country to develop a personal plan to become better citizens. This is referred to as a “living to serve plan", as it helps to address problems that students see in their home, local and global community. Matt had a different style than the other presenters as the FFA members had to chant “Let us in, let us in” in order to be let into the room and for the session to start. Matt reflected on the day saying, “It was nice to be able to facilitate again. Connecting with a new generation of students is always a refreshing experience. I think students were caught off guard by my uncommon form of facilitation and that created some difficulties. I do think they were receptive to the process though.” Hopefully there will be some better Pennsylvania representation at WLC this summer after this presentation.

Todd McMillien and Billy Saylor, 2014 student teachers check to see what is wrong

As the life for a teacher never really ends, Penn State students go to apply their knowledge of AEE 297 and AEE 350 on their way home. When the vans stopped for ice cream, a seemingly very popular place for people after FLC, one of the high school vans from an FFA chapter broke down. Dr. Ewing and some of the more mechanic-savy students came to the rescue with a rubber floor mat and a hose clamp. There was problems with the pin hole fittings heater return line. There was also not that much oil in the in the engine as well. All in all it was a good that that got to put multiple Penn State agricultural education classes into real life practice.

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!

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case