Buncee Board for FFA Week

I’ve been saying I need to blog again for a while, so I’m taking the blogging plunge again. This week I’ve dabbled more with Buncee and created an FFA board to share some FFA facts and trivia as well as agricultural science connections. Then I worked with my colleagues, sharing information with them about what Buncee is, how it works and how they could create a Buncee to add to the board. A great feature of Buncee is that if you share a student’s work, the privacy settings help keep them fairly anonymous. I am currently on a trial subscription and learned that with a subscription you have the opportunity to download a Buncee as a PDF or as a JPEG file. (That’s how both of the images here were created.)

Take a peek at the FFA Buncee Board  (Click here) and if you want go ahead and try creating a Buncee of your own with an FFA theme, feel free to add it to the board. Just make sure to set the Buncee so other people can view.  Here’s a video how to on that.

PS –  If you have a Google account you can login to Buncee without even signing up.

Breanna Holbert FFA Pres

Click on this image to visit the interactive Buncee that allows you to actually click on “News”

Another cool tool I found while using this trial is that each Buncee/ Buncee Board can generate its own QR code to use.

FFA Buncee QR Code

Scan this to get to the FFA Buncee Board


Goal Setting and Accountability

The National Association of Agricultural Educators Virtual Book Club has given me the opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice this summer as I joined others in our reading and discussion. One of our final assignments included determining goals for the upcoming year and developing a plan to hold us accountable to those goals by answering these questions:

  1. Who would be in your P2LN (Personal and Professional Learning Network)? This may not necessarily be a person. It could be an association that you reach out to, or a group/resource on social media.
  2. How do you plan to implement them throughout the year?
  3. How can you reflect, or be held accountable for your plan? Is there a person you can reach out to, certain times of the year to check in to your plan to make sure you are on course?

In my continued quest to be blog more frequently and as a way to hold myself accountable, here these goals are, out in the social media world for whomever is reading to see and call me out on down the road. Please note that this is a long post. Also, I tried a new to me infographic tool for this. It was Canva. The link to the infographic online is here.

2017-18 RCM Goals

Here’s the “mini plan” for each goal to answer the questions that go with it.

Personal 1: Fitness

My P2LN will be the “Sassy Fitness Friends” Group on Facebook plus my Fitbit app. Through my network of “Sassy,” I will set and share goals and challenges. I will be accountable through check-ins with them. As a Fitbit user, there will also be digital accountability. I did fairly well with my health when I was involved with this group last school year but let it slide as summer came.

Personal 2: Stillness

This might be one of the more challenging goals for me. I am always a busy and on the go person and stillness and quiet is something I frequently neglect. This is a goal that I will share with a network of my female friends as well as some friends I know by being in a church. I recently shared a small quiet challenge I was doing and already one of my male friends checked in on my progress. I have learned that my newest Fitbit has a guided breathing session option, so I think this might help me work towards this goal.

Personal 3: Cleanliness

My basement is a disaster. It’s where the “stuff” goes when I am cleaning the rest of the house. It has accumulated materials I moved from house to house from college and my father’s possessions from his passing (19 years ago). I always find an excuse not to clean up down there, so here it is, out in public, an open commitment to spend 20 minutes a week down there. To achieve this, I am going to put a weekly Friday reminder in my phone so hopefully I tackle this on a weekend regularly. I will let my significant other and one aunt know that they are to check on me and call me out on this. Note that I really don’t want to be typing this as I know it is something I have neglected, must do, and have now just told all of you my “dirty” secret so I am accountable.

Professional 1: Mentoring

This year, I was asked to be a virtual mentor to a Penn State Student. I hope that some of the accountability in this will come from hearing from her if she feels I am not giving her the feedback she feels she needs. I set my goal at two people, however, so through the social media networks I am in and pre-service or new teachers I learn about I can seek out the opportunity to work with them and help them grow as well.

Professional 2: Recognizing

In addition to the NAAE Book Club I was in, I also participated in the Educators Book Club on Facebook reading “Kids Deserve It.” I need to do a better job of recognizing both students and colleagues for not just their successes, but their efforts as well. I have set up reminders to alert me on a weekly basis that it is time to recognize someone.

Professional 3: Recording and Reflecting

I am a fairly high tech teacher. However, as I was in multiple book clubs this summer, as well as traveling and seeing things I could picture incorporating in class, I realized maybe I should go “old school” with a notebook of some sort to organize my ideas. Highlighting on a Kindle is fine, but to flip back and find those ideas and implement them is sometimes lost. I’d been toying with this idea and since it was professional goal setting time, I figure maybe that was my “sign” to turn the thought into action. Now to get down to the basement and find an unused notebook. 😉

Now that you’ve read these, please put a reminder or two in your phone or on your paper calendar to check in on me every so often and make me accountable.


Classroom Vision: Learn Together. Grow Together. Open Eyes

Currently, I am participating in the National Association of Agricultural Educators Virtual Book Club. (So as an aside, let me connect you to a Dave Burgess blog post about the book. ) Our most recent assignment was to create and share our classroom vision. So in a quest to do that and start communicating it so I can “live it” better in the upcoming year, here you go.

Short form of vision:

Learn together. Grow together. Open Eyes.
Long form:

By sharing experiences, resources, and knowledge we will learn together. By accepting failures, having an open mind, and demonstrating kindness we will support each other so we grow together. By spreading the awareness we gain, we will advocate for agriculture and open eyes to help build an agriculturally literate society.

NAAE Book Club 2017

Recently, the 2017 NAAE Virtual Book Club kicked off. We’re reading “Start. Right. Now.” This is the third summer I have participated in the Book Club. I am hoping that unlike other years where I start out strong and then peter out as summer travel takes over that I actually complete the whole experience. Luckily the Jive App (seen below in screenshot) makes it so much easier to stay connect to the Communities of Practice platform and see when new posts are in the group.

I’m excited by the diversity in the group because we range from people who have just completed their first year of teaching to veterans with 30 plus years on insight and everything in between. We are not just sharing ideas, but also tools and passions. It gives me a chance to be connected professionally and continue to grow over the summer.

What’s one of your most recent favorite professional reads and why?

Being Accountable: Sometimes Crazy Ideas Help

As a teacher, I often hear the word accountability thrown around a lot. Of course, I hold my students accountable for their work, as an educator, I am held accountable to meeting certain standards, teaching the curriculum, filing out this form and that paper, etc. With all of the roles and requirements heaped upon me as an educator, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that I need to make time to take care of me, not in the selfish all about me mode, but the I need to take care of me to better help and serve you mode.

I’ve been trying to be a little more aware of my health (as in let’s try to lose a few pounds, be more aware of what I’m putting in my body, and engage in more meaningful activity/ movement) and as such connected to a Facebook group through one of my Jamberry nail friends. I’m still part of that group, but then I got to thinking “What if I created a secret Facebook group for my friends to help keep us accountable to our health and fitness goals?” Two months ago, I did just that.

Here’s what happened:

  1. I was made more accountable to my own health and fitness as just like teaching, I can’t ask my students to do something I wouldn’t do.
  2. I learned how to use Tiny Torch  to schedule posts so I can sleep in or travel without “worrying” about not having a daily motivational post or check in.
  3. I started to do 30 day fitness challenges that alone I would have stopped at on day 10 or so, but I was accountable to the other ladies in the challenge to DO IT.

So, what started as a crazy “what if. . .” has turned into two months and counting of being accountable for the actions I take towards my health and fitness. Here’s to the ladies that motivate and inspire me. Thank you!


8 Characteristics of an Innovator: How do I relate?

This week, one of our National Association of Agricultural Educators Virtual Book Club activities included this prompt:

As we finish Chapter 3 and Part I, Couros identifies what he considers to be the characteristics of an innovator’s mindset. He narrows it down to eight. Based on your answers from the discussion posts from the last two weeks, do you agree with those eight? Are there any others that would add? Before we can build our classroom’s innovation, or even our department’s mindset, we have to think about how we personally think about innovation. Keeping that in mind, you will be ranking the eight characteristics based on how you feel they relate to your teaching. In other words, which characteristic is your strongest point? What do you innovatively do well? Now, this isn’t a direct 1-8 ranking. If you feel that resilience and empathy are your weakest, put them both at the bottom next to each other. This is your scale, so “rank” them however you would prefer.

After you have “ranked” them, please add text boxes to explain why the characteristics are placed where they are. You can add one text box next to explain everything, or one box next to each characteristic. Feel free to add other characteristics if you think there should be more/different than the eight.

Upload your document to the book club.You can take a picture of the slide and post it to social media too, just be sure to use #naaereads!

(As an aside, if you are curious what the eight are, you can read Couros’ blog post about them)

As I prepared my response, I decided to be a risk taker and put my fairly non-existent artistic skills to the test. This little bit of sketching was actually inspired by my recent read of “Visual Note-Taking for Educators: A Teacher’s Guide to Student Creativity.” Before I started to add the textual part to my answer, I had a fairly decent looking juggler of traits with the arm muscles representing the date it was created. Then as I added the reflective bits, the image got a bit crowded. Once done creating, I realized that one of the concepts of innovators was networking and just recently I wrote about “needing” to blog more, so sharing this image and response was a perfect way for me to put action to those ideas.

Thinking about how or if I have those traits and which of them were my greatest strengths provided the opportunity for some reflection about my own teaching practice. I think the real question now comes with what I will do to help build up some of those areas I saw to be lower in my strengths, such as empathy.

It’s almost like the internet stalks me to help me find the answers! Or was a simply using my observant trait? Although I created this reflection on paper, shortly after it was done, a Peardeck email was in my mailbox focusing on “Building Empathy.”

Innovator Traits Reflection




Intention Needs to Turn to Action

It’s another blog post that I am writing about the fact I need to get to blogging on a regular basis. I had really good intentions to do this and even began several drafts of a variety of teaching tools and resources I had used throughout the Spring. However, I didn’t make time to finish and publish them.

Currently, I am in the National Association of Agricultural Educators Virtual Book Club and read a statement that practically smacked me in the face with a reminder of why blogging is important to me as a professional with a growth mindset. It was in the section of George Couros “The Innovators’s Mindset” about being networked in the chapter related to eight characteristics of having an innovator’s mindset. It posed the importance of modeling a sharing behavior for students, reflecting on your own practice more deeply, and both learning more and clarifying thinking through writing blogs.

So, I have reminders set for every other week in my Wunderlist app and hopefully I will get in the habit of blogging over the summer so it is a regular practice by fall when the school year resumes. Help hold me accountable, friends.