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CASE in Point - OSU CASE Plant Institute 2010

As Brian Arp and I open the doors at 12:53 pm and cruise up the stairs in the oh-so-familiar building known as Strand Hall, time slows a little.  It has been only two short, yet jam-packed years since my home away from home, Strand 33, was filled with questions about teaching strategies, lesson plans and some random letter Shane received while student teaching. (We never could get to the bottom of that one?)  Ahead to the left is Betsy's office, our CASEplant1OSU ‘Oriental Trading Company' that lights the publicity fuse for the College of Ag's network of great people around our state.  We'll have to stop in for a chat and some heat detection pencils later.  At the far end of the hallway, we see Dr. Thompson, using his most elaborate trailer backing, hand motions as he flags those of us loitering his way.  "Hurry, you're going to be late for class!" he cleverly projects, as his voice carries into the door of a room full of testing music or psychology students across the hallway.  A bit of a showman, as always! Quickening our stride, we shuffled into the newly refurbished classroom and began to look around to find that perfect seat out of the spotlight/question zone.  Little did we know, we needed to be here fifteen minutes ago to get the coveted seats Kris and Curtis have already claimed at the back of the classroom.  Alright, front row next to Brian from New Jersey and Gail from CCC it is.  Let the CASE learning begin...

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“A Taste of Delta”

Last fall, there was enough Oregon interest in the Delta Conference that OVATA moved its Summer Conference to avoid a conflict with the Tarleton-based event.  And then, due to financial challenges, Delta was cancelled.

But that didn't stop Oregon ag teachers.  OVATA leadership worked with Dr. Kyle McGregor, one of the Delta Conference facilitators, to bring a shorter version to Summer Conference.  Judging by the participation and response, it was well worth it.

A quick round-up review of the key ideas from a taste of Delta:

- Components of a lesson: formulating the proper components and pieces before your lesson can make the difference.  Craft the learning!

- Setting context: do your students remember what you've done, see where this is going, realize why it is important, and know what is expected for them for the day?  Using global contextual sets and contextual bridges makes sure they do.

- Effective directions: do you find yourself repeating directions? Over and over again?  Using "go" words, crafting efficient steps, setting time limits, and clarifying questions will help.

Delta2- E-moments: great ways to reach multiple learners.  We'd include the equation but you'd need your learnbook to refigure it out.

- Language: do you include your students with how you say things?  Is it "we" or "I/you"?  Who is the keeper of the knowledge?  It makes a difference!

We all know that accepting and working with "change" is crucial-whether you work in agriculture or education.  However, changing ourselves is never easy.  We applaud everyone who participated in the Delta workshops with the willingness to learn.  Anytime you have an optional morning and the majority of your membership attends, you know you work with the right people.

Thanks for what you do!

But How Do I Change Everything Overnight?  You Don't!

After an intensive number of hours packed into a day and a half of effective teaching training, we all walked out with a several very different ways to approach our teaching this fall.

So how do we completely change the way we gave directions, spoke to students, set up activities, or even formulated lessons all at once?

We don't!

A valuable concept found in Quantum Teaching is "kaizen" - a Japanese business idea of always making small improvement.  What seems insignificant but done every day will create an ever-better result and never-ending improvement-in this case our teaching.

So don't expect to radically change every thing you do in your class on the first day.  But do challenge yourself to continually work on the Delta concepts-correct your language in the moment to make it inclusive, or restart directions that were starting to get muddled.  When we take the approach of "kaizen," we will do better in our teaching and ultimately do the best we can for our students!

OVATA Awards 2010

Several of our number received well-deserved recognition from their peers during the 2010 Summer Conference.  It is important to take the time to recognize the good things our members do, and we had great examples in our recipients.

Congratulations all!  We encourage everyone to apply or nominate someone next year!

Award Results 2010:
Program of the Year:  Imbler (Instructor:  JD Cant)
Teacher of the Year:  Brook Rice, Madras
Mentor of the Year:  Les Linegar, Ontario
Young Teacher of the Year:  Sam Herringshaw, Hermiston
Teacher Turn the Key (presented at State Convention):  Hannah Brause, Astoria


Klamath Summer Conference: “Change”

Summer Conference this year included a lot of "change".

Of course, we are more than aware of change.  Changing budgets, changing technologies and issues in agriculture, and change in education are...well, no change from the past.  But this time change came in several forms and useful tools.

Delta1Change included new ways to teach hydroponics in your program, presented by Mitch Coleman.  Changes in Program of Study and Perkins were also reviewed with Dr. Reynold Gardner.  Chris Guntermann of Horticultural Services Inc also shared ways to change the way you manage and teach in the greenhouse.

Change took us south of the border to Prather Ranch in California, seeing how their self-contained facility and closed herd ranches take organic and natural product from field to processing to retail packaging.

Lastly, change was literal in "A Taste of Delta," facilitated by Dr. Kyle McGregor of Tarleton University (more inside).  All in all, plenty of ways to handle change!

Several resources are now shared on the ovata.org website as well as reviewed in these pages.  So review if you were there in Klamath or learn if you couldn't make the trip!

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One of the Most Important Needs People Have...

In a few weeks, another school year will come to a close. As you say goodbye and anticipate a relaxing summer, be sure to set aside some time to reflect and take pride in what you have accomplished. Now is the time to acknowledge your efforts in planning and delivering great lessons, and providing learning opportunities for all students. The list of your successes goes on and on. You deserve the accolades, but we need to give them as well.

An essential aspect of showing appreciation is first to be grateful – and we have a lot of people to thank. Certainly, we need to thank our students for trusting us, for following our leadership in the classroom, and of course for providing us with some laughs and many reasons to be proud. Most of our students have done everything we asked and have performed to the best of their ability. Students deserve a big thank you and a promise of our continued support.

Search out faculty, staff, and administrators who work hard and have gone the extra mile to help you and your students. Our colleagues deserve our thanks for their vital part in our professional career. Many of them laughed with us, felt our frustrations, and acted as our sounding board. Some of them have become important resources as well as valued friends. Do not forget others who have served us, including the cooks, custodians, secretaries, counselors, aides, advisory committee members, FFA Alumni, and other vital members of the school, community and program. Finally, give a heartfelt thank you to your school administrators. They deserve your gratitude and acknowledgement of their hard work and support.

When you show gratitude, you will quickly realize just how many things people do to make your life easier, more productive, and more enjoyable. In addition, you will find that your relationships will grow stronger, people will enjoy you more, they will not forget you, and they will know their contributions have been honored and valued. A sincere “thank you is a powerful tool that will return to you many times.

This is the time to reflect upon what you did right and well. It is a time for celebrating your hard work, efforts, and successes. It is a time to be thankful and to give thanks. Teaching is the profession where dreams are born. Keep the dreams alive for you and your students, and finish strong.

The Battle of Misconception

I’ve fought the battle at least five times in the past year, and it ain’t been pretty.

The email comes: “I need to talk to you after school in my office.” I know exactly what my principal wants. It seems that parents are calling in a panic to know why their student has to buy a pig for a welding class. I respond with the same question.

sciencelab1Then the conversation goes round and round, me arguing the merits and the importance of the three circle approach to agricultural education, and my principal vehemently disagreeing. The last time around, he had the memo from Dr. Case, himself sitting on his desk, federal laws integrating FFA and SAE into the curriculum, and he still argued that I cannot make FFA part of “the class.” “Some parents can’t have animals” is inevitably uttered at some point during the conversation.

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