Sunday, December 21, 2014

#teachagtech -> Using Infographics in the #TeachAg Classroom

Using Infographics in the #TeachAg Classroom

Using infographics in the #teachag classroom is another fun way of evaluating understanding in a creative way.  Infographics are becoming extremely popular to concentrate incredible amounts of information in an easy to read, compact form.  I have asked my students to create these graphics on two separate occasions this semester and even if the final project is neat to look at, there is a learning curve to develop the necessary operation skills along the way.  You will have to take some time and show students how each program works.  {For example: Do you select and slide the word bubble or just click and type.}

However, once students learn these programs are more intuitive than they originally thought, they begin to have fun with the graphics.  I feel it is important to introduce new forms of communication into the classroom as much as possible.  Using web-based infograph generators like Piktochart,, and the site I used to create the Chapter Degree Infographic above:  

If you would like to have the Greenhand Degree version of this, please visit my personal web page for the Greenhand Infographic.


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

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer with #AgEdu "Parody" Videos!!!

We are proud of all of our #psuaged15 students, but these two groups of students went above and beyond in making us chuckle as the completed a "recruitment video" assignment for AEE 413: Program Planning lead by Dr. Ewing, @jce122.

All About Ag Ed ("All about That Bass by Meghan Trainor" Parody)
Group Members:
Amanda Forstater, @CityAggie
Jillian Gordon @jillianpsu
Toby Neal, @tjn5065
Cory Scott, @CJScottAgEd

Join FFA("Fancy by Iggy Azalea" Parody)
Group Members:
Laura Metrick, @Its_LauraBeth
Howard Poole, @howie_poole
Jasamine Graybill, @JasmineGraybill

If you are interested in having fun like this and changing the world one student at the time, join the @TeachAgPSU team! Email for more information!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

World Wisdom with Weaver - Wrapping It All Up!

Kayla Hack and I at World Food Prize (October)
"Wrapping it all up" - do you see what I did there?!  :) 

Happy December to you all! As 2014 draws to a close and many of us begin the holiday festivities, I know that we can't help but reflect on the year that has unfolded. This has been one of my best, and most challenging years - I had a baby, I took a semester off of teaching, and I took the role of PSU Teach Ag! Fellow while completing my M.Ed.

Last December, I had decided that I wanted to finish my M.Ed. but had no idea how it'd be possible to accomplish this with a baby on the way and no ability to take summers to study at PSU. Then came the idea of the educational leave. My school was so generous to grant me this opportunity and I'm thankful that I was given this chance to improve myself personally and professionally. It's amazing to me how things somehow work out!

The biggest question I ask myself is "would you do it all over again if you had the chance?"and the response would be YES! Now, I was naive about some things - I didn't quite realize the learning curve I had for becoming a mother, which complicated the learning curve I had as a grad student - but I think this experience has made me stronger, more confident in myself as a person and teacher, and has reinvigorated me as an educator. I look forward to returning to the classroom and employing what I've learned to my students.

Through my work, I met amazing people like the coordinators for World Food Prize and the state youth institute coordinators. Amazing people doing amazing work to help our students grow in global competence. Through  my work as a grad student, I hope to bring those same opportunities to more of our Pennsylvania students so they can experience the amazing program that is the World Food Prize and Global Youth Institute.

My wonderful husband, Jesse!
I'm forever a changed person from this experience and I'm so thankful that I was given this opportunity. I wish to thank my professors and mentors at Penn State who guided me through this process and who will push me this spring to finish my research and walk across that stage in May! I also want to thank Twin Valley School District for believing in me enough to let me take off a semester and go "do my thing." It's not everyday that you find yourself working for a district that "gets you" and lets you wander off for a few months! I want to thank my mother, father and sister who traveled to PSU several times to help me take care of my son, and who also were his primary caregivers during my multiple trips! And of course, I'd like to thank my husband and son who were flexible, supportive and overall just wonderful for sacrificing so that I could do this.

Finally, I'd like to thank you, reader, for taking time out of your day to check out my blogs. If you ever want to look back at them, go ahead and CLICK HERE! and you'll find them! I know my mom (in true mom fashion) has kept a printed binder of all my posts, so you could always ask her, too! There are some pretty good little nuggets of ideas and curriculum for incorporating global learning into your classroom. I hope that in the new year you'll employ a few and work towards improving global competency among ourselves as professionals as well as our students.

David wishes you all a Merry Christmas! (photo: CarrieKizuka)
As for this experience, would I recommend it to others? Absolutely! As part of my duties as a fellow, I developed a description of the position so that, while I was the first Global Teach Ag! Fellow, I will hopefully not be the last! This is a remarkable experience and I hope that other Ag. teachers in PA will realize that every so often, we need to take a break to reinvigorate and re-inspire ourselves. It can be daunting to do what we do year in and year out; we work harder than a lot of teachers just by the nature of our job, and we need the ability to charge our batteries and come back stronger. These last few months did that for me!

Although this is my last official post, I am still around if you need me and always willing and passionate to talk about global learning. Over the next few months, I'll try to stop in and share some of what I'm doing in the classroom. I hope that the last few weeks of 2014 are blessed and happy for you and your family and that 2015 is your best year yet!
(photo: Carrie Kizuka photography)

Agriculturally Yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agricultural Science Teacher


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Digital Early Field Pre-Service Teaching Experiences: A Virtual Partnership between Minnesota & Penn State

They say never say “never”…..and it rings true!  I have always said, I never want to take an online class and I would never want to teach one, well… I was wrong!  This semester Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart) and I were give the opportunity to be teaching assistance for a class in Minnesota from Penn State!  Yep, it all happened in Ferguson Building room 206 on Penn State's campus at University Park. It was unique, it was real and it was innovative.

Mr. Eric Sawatzke (@ESawatzke), Agriscience Teacher and FFA Advisor at Dassel-Cokato High School leads a unique, real and innovative program in Minnesota.  Eric will take a group of students to South Africa in August to engage in international agriculture.  To develop global agriculture learning objectives and asses global competency in a high school Global Agriculture and Agribusiness classroom, Dassel-Cokato Agriculture Program and Penn State Global Teach Ag! formed a partnership.   Janae Bickhart, 2015 AEE student teacher candidate and myself, Kayla Hack, 2017 student teacher candidate signed up for the challenge. 

How did this happen?
"The ability to talk to someone outside of our school.
 Gave us a second view on things."- Dassel Cakota Student
Every Friday the teaching assistants would video chat with the students in MN to teach a lesson.  The focus: Global Agriculture.  Lessons ranged from hunger issues worldwide to the importance of cooperatives as an agriculture business model for developing nations.  As teaching assistants we engaged virtually in the classroom Fridays and assisted with other 
grading and homework guidance. 

"It was something different, it made class more fun. I actually looked forward to Fridays not just because of the week end, but because of being able to talk to Penn State. It made the class way more interesting!"- Dassel Cokato Student

This opportunity was unique, it was taught from an office weekly to students across the country. 

It was real, the students through video were real, interactive, funny and impressive high school students that took an interest in global agriculture. We received real experience teaching lessons and using innovative technology.

It was innovative, when something is new creativity ripples, adapting lessons to be taught virtually while students were still able to have concrete and reflective experiences in class took creativity. This opportunity provided professional development for a pre-service agricultural 
educator and a twist on classroom learning. 

Unique. Real. Innovative. - Penn State Teach Ag!

To learn more about the PSU Global Teach Ag! Initiative check out our website:  

Yours in trying new opportunities,


Kayla Hack
Global Teach Ag! Intern
2017 Agricultural Education Student Teacher Candidate

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#teachagtech -> For the Love of Nearpod

For the Love of Nearpod

For the Love of Nearpod...Awesome Presentation and Formative Assessment Tool!

We are surrounded by apps, new technologies and constant reminders of better tools for our classroom.  It can be overwhelming.  However, every once and a while, a platform truly does deliver what it promises.  Nearpod is one I have come to trust and appreciate as an effective tool in the classroom.  Nearpod takes ordinary presentations and makes them interactive.  You can use Power Point Presentations you already have developed and use them in Nearpod (they just need to be converted to PDF format.)

Here is a short video on an introduction to Nearpod:

Here is a video on the teacher's perspective in Nearpod using an animal science based presentation:

Here is a video on the student's perspective in Nearpod as the teacher is presenting a "Live Session":

You have many options when creating your Nearpod to add various forms of assessments.  You can do open-ended questions, polls, drawings, and quizzes.  The following video will help with showing you the various options within Nearpod:

I hope this great interactive tool can help diversify your teaching techniques.  I know I have enjoyed planning lessons around using Nearpod and increasing the engagement of my students.

Happy Nearpod'ing!


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

Yours in the Quest to be a Tech Savvy Aggie,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

World Wisdom With Weaver - More Global Classroom Activities!

So, I've been working feverishly on my M.Ed. project and finding resources left and right. I came across one that I think has some really fun potential and wanted to share it! It's some curriculum that is global and STEM related. What great buzz words!
The group is called "Practical Action" and their main goal is to use technology to alleviate poverty in developing countries. They work in over 45 developing countries around the world.

One section of their website includes lesson plans that utilize problem solving and critical thinking to develop solutions to real-world global issues. The one I found first is called The Squashed Tomato Challenge and deals with tomato farmers in Nepal. Did you know that tomato production is HUGE in Nepal?! Well, it is! This lesson teaches students about the tomato industry in Nepal and a common problem that farmers in the higher altitude regions face when harvesting and transporting their product to the local markets. The lesson includes links to teacher notes, students, certificates and helpful videos. I plan to try this out in my classroom!

Want something else? Well then check out their STEM Challenges Page. It includes lessons for "Beat the Flood," "Wind Power," and more! 

Another link under the Global CREST Challenges includes even more activities. From their website:

Global CREST challenges are based around Practical Action's work, which uses science and technology to address global issues such as energy, water and food. They give students a real insight into how science and technology can be used to tackle challenges faced by communities in the developing world, and how they can be part of the solution. 
Check it out and I hope it helps you in the classroom! Let me know if you use any of these lessons! I'd like to see what is done with the challenges!

Agriculturally yours,

Nicole Weaver
PSU Global Teach Ag! Fellow
Agricultural Science Educator