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