Sunday, October 26, 2014

Year 2---Go With the Flow!

As I look back to the first few weeks of my first year of teaching (last year), I wish I would have learned to "go with the flow" and enjoy things as they happened. I was much too worried about having my classroom being perfect, having all papers graded the minute they were turned in, coming in early to set-up all of my labs for the upcoming day, and having everything planned to a "T." I kept up with this idea of "perfection and planning" until about National Convention. After that point, I realized that I couldn't control every minute of every day and learned the art of flexible planning. Well, here I find myself the week of the 87th National FFA Convention looking back at the past 9 weeks and asking, "Where on earth did the 1st marking period go?" I looked back at my calendar and some of the photos taken over the past weeks and realized that all 3 components of our Agriculture Program have been exceptionally busy, but rewarding at the same time.  Here's to recapping the past 9 weeks by the numbers.

Classroom Instruction

This year I am teaching 6 courses (Introduction to Agriculture, Animal Science, Food Science, Growing our Agriculture Leaders, Independent Study (SAE), and Animal & Plant Biotechnology). Introduction to Ag has been exploring the history of food production and is currently finishing up a unit on communication and FFA history. Food Science has been conducting numerous experiments investigating how food ingredients affect the baking or cooking process while Animal Science has just begun to investigate the importance of biosecurity on farms. To say the least, these classes have been flying by and I'm actually getting to enjoy teaching these classes by tweaking activities and instruction from my experiences last year. (The 2nd year of teaching is much less stressful than the first from a curriculum standpoint). Enjoy some of the photos to see specific classroom activities!

During Food Science, student used indicators such as Benedict's Solution, Biuret's Reagent, and Iodine to test various foods for the presence of sugar, protein, and starch, respectively. By observing color changes of the indicators, students could identify a positive or negative presence of a given nutrient in the foods.

Students in Animal Science participated in a Beef Quality Assurance training held on Wednesday, September 24th. Nichole Hockenberry of the PA Beef Council and Dr. Dave Wolfgang from Penn State conducted the training for over 50 students enrolled in Animal Science or Food Science. Students were given the chance to see an injection given on a live beef calf, learn how to administer an intramuscular and subcutaneous injection, and see the damage of giving injections in the wrong location. 
Cumberland Valley FFA

On the FFA side of things, the chapter has been quite busy over the past 2 months by competing in numerous contests, attending conferences, and conducting a popular fundraiser at home football games. 


All-American Dairy Show Junior Dairy Management Contest-2 teams represented the chapter. Throughout the contest, members judged 2 classes of live animals, identified feeds, calculated dairy financial ratios, and answered questions about quality assurance.  CV FFA had the 5th and 10th place team out of a field of 16 teams.

The 10th place Dairy Management team poses after the Award Ceremony.

Keystone International Livestock Exposition-27 FFA members on 8 teams competed among over 400 students from several states in the annual Stockman's Contest. Again at this contest, students answered questions about animal management, judged 3 livestock classes, and identified tools and feed used to manage animals. There were numerous highlights from this contest including the 1st place livestock judging team, 3rd place meat judging team, 3rd place overall judging individual, and the 13th and 17th overall placing individuals.
2 of the 8 KILE Stockman's Contest teams pose after the competition has ended

Tractor Driving-3 young men competed in both the Cumberland County and CDP area tractor driving competitions. At the county contest, CV had the 1st, 2nd, and 8th place individuals, which meant the 1st and 2nd place individual would move on to the area level. Congrats to all on a job well done!

Eastern Regional CDEs-9 students attended the Eastern Regional CDE day at Lebanon Fairgrounds to compete in Horse Judging, Aquatics, and Dairy Foods. This served as a practice for those teams wishing to compete at the PA FFA State Convention in June.


The popular milkshakes!
Milkshakes-At all home football games, CV FFA sells the famous "Farm Show Milkshakes" in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Dairyman's Association. 24 members assist at each game to sell over 900 milkshakes in a 3-hour time period. 
Members pause after milkshake set-up has finished and patiently
wait for the rush to begin.

Youth Overnight Leadership Operation-A favorite activity among members that seeks to attract new members, the "lock-in" event features many recreational activities, leadership workshops, and activities that encourage members to become familiar with FFA activities and opportunities. This year, the chapter also collected canned goods to benefit the "Harvest at Homecoming" food drive.

YOLO attendees gather with the donated canned goods and the #AgItForward campaign.
THON Tailgate Farm Animal Education Area-Another popular tradition is hosting a farm animal education area as part of the THON Tailgate event to raise money for pediatric cancer. About 300 people attend the event, which takes place directly before a home football game.

Attendees to the THON tailgate mingle with the alpacas.
4th Grade Agventure Day-In late October, FFA members invite all the 4th grade classes to the high school to learn more about agriculture and the FFA organization. The 4th graders enjoy agriculture workshops within our Ag Department and get the chance to see where they will take Ag classes in the future. Over 800 students, parents, and teachers attended this year's event!

Heifer International "Beyond Hunger" Event-Dr. Phil Ogline of Heifer International invited CV FFA to be a part of this 70th anniversary celebration of Heifer International. 4 FFA officers attended and assisted with escorting "Seagoing Cowboys" and helping kids realize that hunger is a world issue through numerous interactive booths. The officers brought back valuable information to be utilized during the planning stages of our annual "Hunger Banquet" in March.

Attendees to the Heifer International event were asked to
take a picture with this sign and post photos to various social
 media sites.

Supervised Agriculture Experience

Last, but certainly not least, is the ever-important 3rd component of any Agriculture Education program--SAEs! SAE is the extension of classroom learning that complements a student's interest and allows them to gain experience for their future careers. CV has a variety of SAEs ranging from various entrepreneurship projects where students raise livestock to  home garden projects to off-farm employment and even agricultural communications. Part of the SAE process is for the Ag Teacher to provide supervision to the students conducting their SAEs.  Over the past 9 weeks, I've visited about 13 students with various CDEs.

Some highlights include watching 2 students compete in a Central PA Rodeo Association show and learning that preparing a horse for rodeo events is a very strategic process, tagging 9 market animals for the Pennsylvania Farm Show, visiting a student that is shadowing a horse barn manager, helping 2 Freshmen get started on an Aquaculture SAE, and supervising 2 students begin their Poultry SAEs.

In addition, for 1 Senior and 8 Juniors, hard work and dedication to their SAE projects will pay off shortly as they are beginning to complete their applications for the Keystone and Area Degree, respectively. It is amazing to see all the growth these students have achieved in their SAE programs over the past 3-4 years!

I have numerous students I still need to visit, but our program is slowly beginning to put more of an emphasis on the importance of each student carrying an SAE.

Photos of Emiliann and Makayla at the Central PA Youth Rodeo Association
event in Wellsville on a beautiful September Sunday.

2 of 5 goats that will be attending the Pennsylvania Farm Show
in January to try and qualify for the Youth Sale of Champions
As I'm preparing lesson plans for the upcoming week when we travel to Louisville for the 87th National FFA Convention, I'm looking forward to an exciting week! Our Ag Communications team has been practicing for the National Stage and our AgriScience Fair finalist is preparing to present her research on Equine Ethics.  Time will sure fly by from now until Thanksgiving! Until then, go with the flow!

The Ag Communications team attended a practice Press
Conference to prepare for the national competition this week!

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