Monday, November 24, 2014

#teachagtech -> Family Friendly Apps for these Holiday Times

Family Friendly Apps for the Holidays (and Classroom Too)

Cornman and Glock Family Spread - Thanksgiving 2013

Family Friendly Apps for the Holidays (and Classroom Too!)  Every year it seems the holiday season approaches more quickly.  I remember being told as a child, "enjoy your time now because time goes quicker as you grow older."  Sadly, I see this happening and can attest to the adage "times flies as you get older".  So I see time spent with family and friends as becoming more precious every year.  I hope during this holiday season, you are able to spend it with loved ones.  Thanksgiving is the holiday in which we travel the most, so the odds are good you will be able to see family you haven't seen in a while.  I know around this time this is when board games or puzzles were dug out to keep that healthy competition alive within the family dynamic.  If you make your way through some of the "old school" games and want a few fun alternatives, I thought it would be fun to show you a few apps you can use both in the classroom, but also just to have some fun.

The first app is colAR.  This is a 3D coloring app where drawings become 3D images.  They basically jump off the table at you and many are animated.  It truly suspends your concept of reality...or basically lets you step back and have a good chuckle.  Besides having fun with family, this can be used within the classroom directly as with the animal cell print out or as an interest approach for a creative project.  I especially like the "Dot Day" printable where you can draw anything within the circle and than once the you open the app and point your camera towards the paper you just drew on, it will animate the "dot".  {If you would like additional info on the Dot Day printable, please se this site from FableVision Learning.}  Go to the colAR website and scroll down for printables for your personal or classroom use.  At a later date, I will post about a more sophisticated app dealing with virtual reality.

Here is a video on what you might experience with colAR app:


The second app I would like to show you is Sock Puppets.  This is live animation app that allows you to voice record role playing situations.  At home, it could be a fun way to interact with family or ask a child to clean up their room.  At school, it could be a way for students to demonstrate they understand a concept via the role playing app.  It is easy to set-up and record.  You pick your characters and setting and than click the red record circle to record your voices.  If you need a tutorial, here is a YouTube video to guide you.

Here is a screenshot of the screen to record your voice prior to animation.

Another great live animation app is PuppetPals 2.  In this app, you can actually take a picture of yourself and use it as one of the heads of the interactive characters.  This is yet another opportunity for students to demonstrate understanding or to exchange information in a fun and interactive manner.  Here is a trailer on YouTube about PuppetPals 2.  

I hope these ideas can help in your classroom and add a bit of fun with family.  

All my best to you and yours during this holiday season.


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - Multicultural Activities for the Classroom!

I know from years of teaching that this time in the school year is such fun - class holiday parties, assemblies, decorations throughout the halls. But these next few weeks can also be frustrating when trying to maintain focus, discipline and the drive to continue with the curriculum when the students have turkeys, cornucopias, sugarplums and holiday breaks on their mind.  I also know it's frustrating when family vacations coincide with these weeks and take students out of class for long periods of time.

My challenge to you is to see this time as a chance to broaden student minds. Take advantage of those days of "holiday ennui" when the students are antsy and you are just waiting for that bell to ring. I am supplying you in this blog with some activities you can use in class to promote multicultural learning and help students with cultural perspective. Most are lighthearted on the surface, and can help to get excess energy out, but they lead to good and deep discussions. 

Keep these in your toolkit to pull out when necessary. And hey, add one that I may have missed (just comment below - I'll even send you a little something if you do! Well, I mean as long as you email me your address!)
  • BARNGA - We played this game at the Global Learning in Agriculture Conference (#GLAG14) that was held November 7-8. It was a blast! It's a basic card game that has a great deal of teachable moments and discussion starting points. Most kids will get wrapped up in the game, but will then will have their minds blown when you start to point out some of the inner workings of what is happening. I have linked a few resources on the Global Agriculture Space on NAAE Communities of Practice. Check it out! 

  • Penn State Resources - the College of Agricultural Sciences, Agricultural Research and Cooperative Extension has developed (from what I could find) these two online resources that includes over 20 different activities. Not all are gold, but there are some good nuggets in there. Most are generalized, but can be tweaked to be more "global" and agricultural with some slight changes. Here are some of my favorites.
    1. Diversity Activities - My favorite from this one is Proverbs. It's a neat activity that could potentially lead to some other discussions or lessons. As an extension, it might be cool to research some of these sayings and find their origin in the culture.
    2. More Diversity Activities for Youth and Adults - From this one I liked Unequal Resources. It's made to fit economic diversity as I interpreted it, but easily you could change this to different "resources" that are unequal. 

  • Global Education Activities - This WEBSITE has links to all kinds of activities. These ones are more agriculturally minded, but have some great messages. Not all are for High School level, but there are several that are and can be used effectively in an Ag. classroom.
Enjoy the time leading up to these next two holiday breaks!

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1) National Agriscience Ambassador Shines at National Convention! #goFFA #TeachAg

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1)

When you become a part of the Agriculture Education family, there are so many opportunities for you to grow professionally and personally! 

Mark Anderson (@duecehorse1), an Agriscience teacher at Elizabethtown, took that additional step to further expand his education by becoming a National Agriscience TeacherAmbassador! Through his hard work and dedication to agriculture education, he was selected to present a workshop to several teachers around the nation and on stage during one of the sessions at National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.


Mark Anderson speaking on stage during a session

His ambassador position began when he learned about it through Mike Clark, Greenwood’s Agriscience teacher, and through the NAAE website. He was looking for something to “re-spark” his passion for agriculture. Through several applications that asked about his philosophy of teacher is and how he incorporates inquiry based learning in his classroom, he was selected to become a National ambassador! 

During the summer months, his training started where he would attend a one week work camp that started when the sun came up and wouldn’t be over till the sun went down! They learned about inquiry based learning, teaching strategies, and much more. 

Pj Simon (black shirt and pants) with her National Ambassadors
When asking Mr. Anderson what would be some advice he would have for future and present teachers, he stated “Step out of your comfort zone and don’t ever be discouraged when trying to reach your goals!” Showing his passion of agriculture throughout the week, he was truly able to teach how we can have our students grow as learners! 

As P.J. Simon (@pj_Simon), DuPont’s Program Administrator, says, “It’s not about changing the curriculum, but the way you teach which get’s the students to ask the right questions.” Overall the week was a success for highlighting our student’s success, and highlighting our outstanding teachers nationwide. 

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#teachagtech -> Using Socrative in the Agriculture Classroom

Using Socrative to Engage Students in the Classroom

Using Socrative to Engage Students in the Classroom.  All agriculture educators are constantly juggling the living mechanism we know as agriculture education.  We manage many facets involving with the FFA, classroom instruction and SAE.  Tools that can be instantly and easily incorporated into the classroom are incredibly important.  Socrative is one of those tools and was introduced to me by my teaching colleague Neil Fellenbaum upon arriving at Penn Manor several years ago.  It is easy to create formative assessments to gage student understanding and provides a multitude of avenues to assess student learning.  It also allows you to collect student data to be used to differentiate instruction, regroup for review or be confident for a summative assessment.  I have used it many times as the "ticket out the door" or to do fun games to review for a test.  It is a very easy platform to use.  When you sign up, you receive a "classroom" number that is unique to you.  Students log on and use your classroom number to gain access to whatever challenge you place before them.

Here is an overview video on Socrative:

How to Create a Quiz:

How to Run a Quiz:

When you are finished with any type of evaluation, you can have reports sent or stored in many forms:

This is merely an introduction to Socrative.  As innovative educators, I'm sure you will find creative ways to incorporate this platform into your classroom.


If you have specific needs regarding technology in your classroom, please feel free to connect with me via the TeachAg! Technology Help Ticket

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Diane Glock-Cornman
PSU Teach Ag! Technologist

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Global Learning in Agriculture #GLAG14

Well, it seems that the temperatures in the north are starting to really match up to the time of year. This weekend I spent my time in blustery, but fun, Penn State!

From November 7-8, the College of Agricultural Sciences hosted the first "Global Learning in Agriculture" (#GLAG14) conference. Over 50 teachers, undergrads, professors, and professionals met at the Atherton Hotel to learn together.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of this two day event and was able to learn so much from those who spoke and shared.

Krista Pontius shares her travel experiences.
The first evening kicked off with some keynote presentations on lessons learned from experience by Dr. Kenneth Cushner (Kent State) and Dr. Kirby Barrick (UFL).

Dr. Melanie Miller Foster (@GlobalMelanie) shared with us a very fun presentation on Risk Management. Although a serious topic to consider when taking students abroad, she definitely managed to make it an engaging presentation.

I also enjoyed the two group presentations of the night. The first was led by Eric Sawatzke (@ESawatzke), an Agricultural Science teacher from Minnesota. He's currently working with our very own Kayla Hack (@HackKayla) and Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart) to develop curriculum for his classes that involves distance education from these two amazing young ladies. They reflected on their experiences with this class so far and all that they are learning and creating.

The group assembles and mingles!

After that, Megan Merrill (@megan_merrill), an Agriculture Science Teacher from Springport, Michigan, and Jeff Garrison of the AEC Spanish Institute discussed their experience working together to provide Megan's students with a study abroad opportunity to Turrialba, Costa Rica. It was really interesting to hear how Megan put the trip together so quickly and was able to provide such a unique and engaging experience for her students.

On the second day, we got down to the nitty-gritty!  

(L-R) Jeff Garrison, Eric Sawatzke, David Bittner

Dr. Cushner led an AMAZING learning experience for the group. We discussed the concept of Intercultural Development and the hangups that we have to consider when learning to become more intercultural in our thinking and teaching. To illustrate some of the concepts, we played a game called "Barnga" and considered perceptions and misconceptions can cause barriers to our growth. We learned about Robert Hanvey's Dimensions of a Global Perspective and worked on ways to integrate these concepts into our lessons. 

After lunch, we were treated to a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Andrew Thoron of the University of Florida. The panel consisted of a professor (Dr. Dennis Buffington, PSU CAS Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Distinguished Professor of Moscow State Agro-Engineering), a current Ag. Teacher (Krista Pontius, Greenwood PA Agriscience Teacher, NAAE Region VI Vice President, Past PAAE President, @KristaPontius) and a current AEE undergrad (Jasmine Graybill, PSU AEE Major, 2015 Student Teacher, @JasmineGraybill). This panel discussed their experiences with traveling, learning and teaching abroad and their plans and dreams to incorporate global learning into classrooms.

Dr. Cushner is just amazing!
We ended the day with some excited group brainstorming sessions and some challenges from the group, specifically, "Wouldn't it be cool if". Each participant walked away with a vast amount of resources, prizes, and a text on Global Learning. 

In the coming months, we plan to continue our growth by discussing the books on NAAE CoP as well as posting lessons and ideas to the site as well (Space: Global Agriculture).

It was an exciting and inspiring weekend. I like that it was a mix of people at different places in their careers and working in the field of global learning and competency in different ways. It was an atmosphere of sharing and collaboration and I feel confident that good things are to come from this group of highly motivated and global-passionate people!

If you didn't attend, you truly missed out! 

Agriculturally Yours,
Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriscience Educator

Got to share the experience with my wonderful former student, Jill Gordon!

Monday, November 10, 2014

#psuaged16, Olivia Murphy-Sweet- National Teach Ag Ambassador!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet (@OSweetMurph), a 2016 student teacher, was chosen to represent the National Teach Ag Campaign as a 2014 National Teach Ag. Ambassador. Through an application and phone interview process, Olivia was selected to be one of 12 Ambassadors across the nation.

Olivia will participate in numerous events throughout the year spreading awareness about the shortage of agriculture educators across the nation. During the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Olivia worked at the National Teach Ag booth interacting with the many FFA members, advisors, parents and others.
 "It was awesome to work with 12 outstanding individuals from nine different states. I loved spreading the word about Agriculture Education and making an impact!"

Olivia's greatest takeaway from her experience with the National Teach Ag Campaign so far, is that she has had the chance to meet teachers all across the country that are willing to share and help you with anything. She said "after meeting the other ambassadors and many Ag teachers, their enthusiasm and passion for the program re-lit my spark and excitement to teach! I cannot wait to work with these ambassadors throughout the year!"

Olivia and the other National Teach Ag Ambassadors!
Olivia is excited to take the skills she learns through this experience to her student teaching next year! Her position as a National Teach Ag Ambassador requires her to teach lessons to students, attend important events all year and be one of the faces for the National Teach Ag Campaign. All of these will impact what she can bring to her future career in a different and new perspective!

To find out more about the National Teach Ag Campaign, check out their website!

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - Global Learning Blogging!

I'm a surfer. No, not the sun-kissed glistening skin, bleach blonde, "gnarly" dude surfer. I'm a web surfer. Yes, the internet can suck you in to a vortex of funny cat videos, kids being adorable, 50 pins that I'll never actually do, etc. But, it can also be a realm of knowledge, growth, and new ideas to challenge and expand your horizons.

And it connects us to people from all over the world - different cultures, races, religions, ideas - who can share ideas.

In short, global learning and the ever-expanding internet are pretty much hand in hand.  Through this blog series, I've found that to be an ever constant fact. I'm honored to share my insight and discoveries with you, but there are plenty of others out there who are more well-traveled, more eloquent and writing more about global competency!

For this entry, I sought to find other bloggers who are using the Internet to share their ideas and experiences of global learning.

In particular, I'm going to highlight five resources:

1. Matador Network - @MatadorNetwork (also @MatadorU) This isn't a blog per se, but it is a vast resource of travel information and first-hand experiences from people who are living, working, thriving, and writing about travel. In particular, I found an interesting article written about the American vs. European view of travel (Americans Need a Thesis Statement for Travel). I enjoyed the article thoroughly. Now, teachers, some of this content is not G-rated, so I suggest pre-viewing before sharing. But it has some great insight from people who travel. A great resource to use with students. Their contributors come from all over the world and share stories about travel, living in other countries, learning culture, and taking photographs. 

2. Education Week - @educationweek Yes, once again, this isn't a blog I've given you, but please open THIS LINK. On the page are several blogs about teachers and international education/global learning. You have to register to read the entirety of most of the articles, but they have a FREE option (it lets you read three articles/blogs per month. Or you can subscribe for about $60 a year). Some ones of note?
  • A Global Artology Program - Guest blogger Jamaine Smith discussed this program developed by a Build A Bridge initiative. Students from Philadelphia spent weeks over the summer in an experiential learning program. It enlisted the help of artists, science teachers and medical students to develop the curriculum. They worked in and around Philadelphia doing various activities and then got to speak to students from Ecuador as part of the program. I highly recommend the read - cool stuff happening here!
  •  Real World Connections to Global Learning - I like how this blog discusses how the blogger's school has incorporated global learning into multiple academic disciplines. Meghan Sullivan covers efforts from the World History teachers to the French teacher and even discusses how they partnered with Proctor and Gamble in regards to clean water. They have typically done a lesson on water where they collected water to test the quality. Proctor and Gamble provided them with a lesson on "Children's Safe Drinking Water Campaign" and water filter packets. The students then had to clean the water with the packets provided.
3. The NEA FoundationGlobal Learning Fellow This blog series (you have to scroll down toward the bottom of the page to link to the blogs) followed a group of 30 teachers who traveled to China in June of this year. It was part of a year-long fellowship. There was one in 2013 to Brazil. 

4. Global Learning PartnersBLOG - "Speaking of Dialogue" This blog has some fun posts about global learning. I encourage you to stop by and check out a few!

5. Shady Side AcademyGlobal Learning Blog This one is so cool! The students at Shady Side Academy are able to participate in diverse travel programs that take them across the globe and involve them in culture, service experiences and more! This blog is in the words of the very students who are traveling - a great way to show your students the benefits of travel!

Do you have any to add? Please comment below! 

Oh and hey! Have you checked out the NAAE CoP Global Agriculture page? You haven't?!? Well, HERE IS THE LINK - Global Agriculture Space. It's a great place to collaborate with other teachers, share your ideas/curriculum and get ideas from others regarding global learning in agriculture! Let's make it a great resource for everyone!

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agriculture Science Teacher

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#TheNextNorm World Food Prize: Perspectives from the Global Teach Ag! Intern

The World Food Prize is an event to recognize those that are taking on “The Greatest Challenge in Human History”, feeding the world by improving food systems and quality.   Norman Borlaug is at the heart and history of this event.   Dr. Borlaug is known as the father of the green revolution and credited with saving millions of lives because of his research.   He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and hoped to have an award to recognize others in food and agricultural improvement.  The World Food Prize was started as a result of that.  Paired with the World Food Prize was the Global Youth Institute, where students from across the country took on “the greatest challenge in human history”, researching their way to being #TheNextNorm

So what is this hashtag #thenextnorm all about?  It is about giving students opportunities and avenues to find and research ideas to become the next Norman Borlaug, and to challenge the norm of society around the world.  I have no doubt the roomed filled with over 150 students held “The Next Norm”.  

Students sharing their research!
These “next norms” are innovative, inspiring and they are our future. As one of the speakers said, in some generations put a man on the moon or created the computer, this generation will  feed the world.  The students at the Youth Institute did not take that lightly, they chose a developing country, one factor effecting that countries food insecurity, and came up with solutions to improve food systems through anything from education to infrastructure.  As they shared their findings with a panel of experts,  their passion and determination filled the room.

Agricultural Education around the country differs, but if we want one thing to tie it together, maybe it should be Global Agriculture.  Why?  My question is why not?  These student proved it to me this week, as a high school student stood in front of laureates, expert faculty and his peers and said, “We came up with a whole list of problems… ..but we came up with two pages of solutions.”  They made me want to learn more on my own, research on my own and join them.  

2014 Laureate, Dr. Rajaram shared a conversation that happened between him Dr. Borlaug, and it applies here as well. He said, It didn’t happen right away but it was a process involving a global team.  We have a team, are you willing to join us?

Check out what Secretary Vilsack had to say to encourage young people in agriculture!