It’s FFA Week 2016 #AmplifyFFA


It’s time to celebrate what FFA is and what it means to you.  This week several state FFA associations have photo challenges that encourage their members to share images related to FFA experiences. Almost all states include a photo of official dress in their challenge. New Jersey FFA is no different. Their photo challenge also includes your FFA family, somewhere you’ve been with FFA, and other themes.

I’m encouraging my members to tell their FFA story with photos. Photos are huge for them. If it hadn’t been for one of my insistent middle school members two years ago our middle school FFA chapter wouldn’t have an Instagram account to share their stories. However, this member convinced me Instagram was the “way to go” to meet members where they are. Now Instagram is a “go to” place to communicate with members, share trivia questions, provide announcements for the chapter and of course share photo highlights of chapter activities. I’m grateful for the members who encourage me to try new things so I can help them better tell their FFA story.

How will you #amplifyFFA this week? What will you do to tell your story? What picture captures FFA for you?


#TeachAgChat is Growing


Last year, Teach Ag at Penn State (check them out on their Facebook page) begin hosting a series of #TeachAgChats on Twitter.

The movement to have virtual professional learning for teachers is growing and the #TeachAgChat concept continues in 2016.  So far this year two chats have been held.  The first was January 28 and focused on classroom management. You can see the archived Storify here. Last week the topic was Careers in Ag and Food: The Role of #AgEdu. The storify for that one is here. (Excuse the Drake face. In keeping the excitement that was generated, I forgot that Storify uses your first tweeted image as the cover.)

If you want more information on #TeachAgChat, are considering being a chat host. or are simply curious about what a Twitter chat is check out the #TeachAgChat blog here.

Hope to “see” you on February 25 when drones are the topic.


It’s Been Awhile

 Well it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’m trying it a different way this time. I’m sitting on my sofa using the voice feature on my iPad. This should help prevent the fact that I get ideas for blogs, think about how I should get back into the blogging habit, and get thoughts running through my head for what I  could share but then don’t take action. For months,  I’ve thought how I should jot a thought or two down about experiences in class or use my blog to respond to someone’s question about what books I recommend to a person considering education or maybe even blog about the fact that there are changes in education and we need young people to enter the field and be the future and not get scared away by the rhetoric  i’m hoping that by using this tool and letting my iPad do most of the work, I’ll just tweak here and there and I’ll be able to get back in the blogging groove. This way I can more regularly share about my teaching experiences, the observations I have about education today, and the importance of continual and consistent communication as an advocate for my career, career and technical education and agricultural education  


Feel free to comment on this blog with topics that might interest you and if I’ve got experience with them I might share my perspective in a future post. 


FFA Love – Try New Things, Be Creative (aka Career Readiness is more than current mandated tests)


If you thought I was done with the FFA Love blog posts, guess again!  I got a “late comer” today and it was so worth sharing!

“I love FFA because we are always trying new things, learning more, and being creative.”

I absolutely love this sentiment because to me it means I have done my job as an educator.  I have helped at least one student spark a love for trying new things, learning more and being creative.  I believe “college and career readiness” is more than the current round of mandated testing that our students are subjected to.  It is the untestable career skills such as the willingness to be innovative and try new things.  I recently blogged for the Association for Career and Technical Education Educators in Action with a piece called “The Path to Innovation is Full of Mistakes” As a teacher, I try to model this concept of trying new things.  This FFA Love statement tells me I have succeeded.

Career readiness is more than just the writing and math that gets emphasized over and over again on test after test (almost to the point of driving some students away from finding joy in exploring the importance and value of these skills).  It is the desire to learn more and be what some call a “life-long learner.” This love of learning more will be a critical trait for anyone who plans to have a career in the future because we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t even exist yet.  Helping them find joy in learning is vital to prepare them to meet the future we don’t even know.

The fact that “being creative” is part of the reason to love FFA gives me a little thrill, too!  I like to challenge my students to come up with ideas then take the action to carry them through.  I challenge them to sometimes think out of the box.  Isn’t that part of what creativity is?  Being willing to embrace the ability to create (an article, a poster, a display, a visual representation, a video, and the list goes on), is a skill that career ready citizens need!

This FFA Love statement represents what I aspire to help my students do – Try, Learn, Create.

PS – I didn’t start this blog with the intent of getting into the career readiness aspect of what I felt this statement represented, but as I typed, the words just flowed.  I tell my students, “Learning is messy.” Sometimes, it appears that my blogging wanderings are messy  as well.😉

FFA Love – Wrapping Up the Week

FFA Love Cows Corn Good TIme M

Today is the last “official” day of FFA Week, so I’m wrapping it up by sharing some of the remaining FFA Love signs my middle school FFA members created. (I had to tweak some colors to get their writing to show up.)

Only one student mentioned leadership skills and hers have certainly shone this year.

Love FFA Leadership M

A very popular theme was “friends/ meeting people” and “cool events”

Love FFA More Cool Events M

FFA Love Amazing People

Love FFA Cool Events M

For many of my students, although I make sure they know the value of farmers and production agriculturalists as the critical foundation of our food and fiber system, they embrace FFA because it has broken the stereotype of just being for farmers.  I have students who want to be meteorologists, scientists, actresses, and more.

FFA Love Love M

As a member, parent, alumni, or supporter, why do you love FFA?

FFA Love – Amazing Information

Love FFA Info About Ag and World

This FFA Love represents that second day in a row of the word “amazing” being used.  There must be something to it!

“I become endulged {sic} in amazing information about agriculture and our world today.”

I love this statement because if I look at the word “indulge” it means “to allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure. ” (There’s a part of me that gets the concept of the sentence, but knows there is a language arts flaw.  It’s all good.😉 )

As someone who advocates for agricultural literacy and the relevance of agriculture in society, this statement sums up so much of what I believe in.  I approach the world with wonder and have a passion for finding out the amazing information that  does exist about agriculture.  To see a student mention this as something he loves about FFA brings me great joy.