I’ve always heard the saying, “Time flies when you are having fun,” but the first week of the school year truly was over before it began. After preparing my classroom, planning, and anxiously (and excitedly waiting), the first day of school finally arrived. It was an excellent week to begin a new year of Agriculture Education at Cumberland Valley!
Rather than ‘taking it easy’ during the first week, I wanted to welcome students into an active classroom where learning happens through hands-on interactions and student-centered activities. Students enrolled in CASE Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) began investigations into the origins of agriculture and how this vast industry affects every person every day. The week began with an active ‘trading game’ where students were randomly assigned food, shelter, and clothing items that could be traded with other groups in order for their group to ‘survive.’ Bringing things closer to home, students later worked in pairs to research common commodities grown across the United States.
Meanwhile, their peers in Growing our Agriculture Leaders (GOAL) began to analyze their style of leadership, the 4 stages of personal development, and the 4 steps to developing as an aspiring agriculture leader. Students reflected upon their strengths, areas of improvement, and goals as an individual. This is only the beginning of a reflective path that these young leaders will embark on throughout the year as they experience challenges, successes, and obstacles while leading their peers.
As the week came to a close, the process of planning, revising, and reflecting continued on my part as an instructor & FFA advisor. Major goals for next week’s classes include introducing nearly 50 students to the online AET (Agriculture Experience Tracker) system so they can track their agricultural experiences and hosting practice sessions to prepare for the Junior Dairy Management Contest & Dairy Judging Forum at the All-American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, PA. It promises to be another exciting week in the Agriculture Department!