Start Off on the Right Foot!

If first impressions are key, then the first day of school may be vital when you are teaching elective courses. We asked a few ag teachers across the state what they do on the first day. Here are some ideas for the next time you are starting anew with a group of students.

Rachel Kostman (Phoenix HS)
- Rachel’s goal is to know everyone student’s name by the second day. In order to get to know her classes, she uses a “Getting to Know You” activity page to get students out of their seats and comparing with each other. At the end of the activity every student shares one item about themselves, and Rachel does the same about herself. See Rachel’s handout here under the Resource Share.

dennisclarkDennis Clark (Union HS) - Dennis uses technology to engage his students on day one. Using TurningPoint clickers, he uses an interactive welcome to get kids hooked. See his PowerPoints here and here in the OVATA Resource Share.

Nick Nelson (Blue Mountain CC) -
Nick wanted to know every student’s name by the end of the first period, and made a competition of it. He took students outside and put them in a circle, then had then go around a put an agriculture or animal term with their name that started with the same letter. The challenge was to see if he could repeat everyone’s names by the end.

He also ‘tested’ the students the first day with his Keep-Cull test to see “if” they could stay in the program, albeit with a bit of tongue in cheek. Check out the Keep-Cull test, now used on college students, here.

Need more ideas? Check out NAAE’s Communities of Practice. A particularly useful post can be found here. Icebreaker activities and a pig personality test are just some of the ideas!

Enjoy the first days of school!

Tough Times Call For Tough Teachers

By now, it should be fairly obvious that tough economic times are upon those living in the United States, maybe especially in the state of Oregon. With Governor Kulongoski’s mandated 9% across the board cuts to state agencies, many school districts have been faced with drastic budget cuts, and with those cuts, the precarious positioning of some Agriscience and Technology programs.

For many AST instructors, primarily those in rural areas with an agricultural economy, the fear of losing a program is minimal. However, with forecasts of state revenue reaching even greater shortfalls, that confidence can be a bit presumptuous, even in places with strong support for agricultural education. Therefore, it is necessary for agricultural educators to fortify their programs in order to protect and preserve perhaps the most valuable educational program there is.

Read more: Tough Times Call For Tough Teachers