FFA Officer Leadership Building Activities


FFA Officer leadership building activities are a way to prepare our chapter’s leaders for the coming year.  School is just around the corner, so that means we are gearing up to get this party started.  We just returned from our chapter officer retreat and I wanted to share a few activities we did so that they may help you in the year(s) to come.  I have been teaching myself Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator for a few years now.  You know, because we don’t have enough to do as educators, but I find it fills a creative side that I have long since forgotten.  I wanted to create a generalized theme or just something visual to bring the students together, so I created the above “logo”.  {{I use the word logo very loosely, because I am by no means a graphic designer and wouldn’t want to insult those who are professionals in that area.}}  I have uploaded this image here via PPT format so you can add your own chapter to the image and use it for your own purposes.  All you would have to do than is “save as”, than click JPEG under file type when saving.


FullSizeRenderAnother exercise I wanted to share was based on Emojis.  As with any group of people who are together for a great deal of time, tensions arise.  I wanted to find a fun way to clearing the air from the previous year, so I thought Emojis could be a way to do that.  FFA Officers were asked to anomalously write down something that happened from last year that reminded them of the emotion from the Emoji.  I tried to create equal amounts of positive and negative and we made sure to end with the positive.  The officers enjoyed it and it was a nice icebreaker for the more meaningful conversations that needed to happen when thinking about the coming year.


Another activity was the “Why (K)not activity. I have Pinterest to thank for this one, but put the spin on it for our chapter. Another advisor (@neilfell) worked them through an amazing exercise using the 360 Vision Conference as inspiration where they came up with their own vision for their year and legacy. This laid the groundwork for them to take the risk of asking themselves Why Not? In the final hours of the retreat, they were asked to write down something to challenge themselves and others….a “what do I have to loose situation”. They came up with great concepts. Later I glued them together and posted in their office for them to see all year.

Example from Pinterest

Example from Pinterest

We created a space for each officer to build the other up. I have to thank Pinterest again for this one. I found a posting about team building where they used a chalkboard/whiteboard for each team member to write something great about the other. I thought this would be a great activity to bond the crew together. Ms. Slates, Mr. Fellenbaum and I became very unpopular when we wouldn’t allow them to see what others wrote. We took a photo and they are now framed and hanging in the new officer office. Hopefully when they are tired or working together, they can reflect on that moment and remember why they are doing what they are doing.

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Lastly, at one point in the retreat we had officers write letters to them selves. I stumbled upon futureme.org one day where you can actually write yourself a letter to be delivered via e-mail in the future.   I might have over done it with the letters, but we asked them to write letters to themselves halfway through the school year, at the end of the school year and than utilize futureme.org to write a letter five years from now. I am hoping these letters can reenergize them throughout the school year and provide a little gift for them sometime down the road.

[You can find the downloadables at the links included here at the NAAE Communities of Practice]

I would be remiss if not to say thank you to Mr. Fellenbaum and Ms. Slates for their help with the officer retreat. Both of them did so much work for the event, that I really appreciate their time.  I just thought other teachers out there might appreciate seeing what we did.

Everyone did a great job to hopefully position the group to have a stellar year.

I hope some of this is helpful!
Happy First Days!




Periscope -> A Possible Addiction

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I’m afraid I might be addicted to Periscope.  As I dive deeper into my technology studies, I’m finding it takes me longer to adopt many of the “new and exciting” apps, etc.  In my opinion, at the heart of all technology in education, it has to be truly relevant and practical.  Does it meet some need or expand the horizons for students or simply just replace something I’m already doing?  I can have students take notes on paper or their computer…but that doesn’t mean I’m truly integrating technology.  However, the last few weeks as I’ve found a few moments to myself, I’ve been exploring Periscope and I am truly impressed and excited of the capabilities of this application.  Although I feel I am light years behind discovering this platform since it has been out since March, I am excited about the possibilities.  Being in the world of agriculture and career and technical education, this could be huge.  With virtually everyone having a mobile device now, we could reach experts in the field {pun intended} and utilize this instant interactive communication tool.  I would encourage you to download this app and search on on Twitter for #periscopeteachers or #periscopeEDU.

I have found that it is an awesome professional development tool already.  I was preparing for a technology presentation just a few days ago and was literally watching a “Scope” on using Periscope from Florida.  Obviously, there are things to watch out for when using this app (like making sure you turn off your location and restrict who can comment), but this is definitely one to explore.

The Path to being a Greenhand with Piktochart

 The Path to Being a Greenhand with Piktochart

For some time, I’ve been intrigued about the efficacy and creativity of infographics.  Where else can you provide clear and concise information in a way that is easily read and fun to explore?  There are many sites that provide opportunities to create infographics; such as, visual.ly, infogr.am, and easel.ly.  I chose to begin working with Piktochart due to its ease of use.  I believe this would be a great way to have students summarize content for a unit.  Here I created a quick infographic on how to become a Greenhand.  As we grow closer to the spring semester and banquet season, degree applications are upon us.  Hopefully this can help streamline your process.

The Path to Being a Greenhand


For ideas to create your own infographics, I like to browse Pinterest to find ideas.  You can check out my “Being Mrs. C – TeachAg” Pinterest Board for some agriculturally related infographics.   Enjoy!

Guest Blogging and Spending Time as the “Penn State TeachAg Technologist”


Guest Blogging and Spending Time as the “Penn State TeachAg Technologist”:  I am happy to be guest blogging and spending time as the Penn State TeachAg Technologist.  Since October, I have been given the opportunity to provide technology tips, guest blog posts and any technology support to fellow agriculture teachers.  I have greatly enjoyed working in this capacity and find that I am at my greatest when I have a defined purpose and working towards a goal.  However, it has taken time away from my personal blog, here.  I will be posting some of my posts from the other platforms I am working with for my other role.  For now, please visit my Technology site on the AEE website for weekly technology tips.

Finished the FFA Creed Series

I finished the FFA Series!!!!  Well, I finally had time to post it to the blog nonetheless.  It has taken me some time, but I have been able to finish the FFA Creed Series.  Some of the audio is not ideal – I need a professional microphone, but hopefully it can be of use to those FFA Greenhands out there.

FFA Creed


Here is the 1st paragraph:

Here is the 2nd paragraph:

Here is the 3rd paragraph:

Here is the 4th paragraph:

Here is the 5th paragraph:

The FFA Creed in Flash

Teaching with Technology

Source: http://www.coetail.com/stanleyaes/files/2013/10/teaching-with-technology.png


We all know our students have grown up with technology and it is more important to provide unique opportunities to learn; such as, using animation in the classroom like the FFA Creed in Flash.  Many schools are utilizing 1:1 or BYOD initiatives to harness that innate understanding.  As I build my technological repertoire, I thought it would be fun to create a series using Flash to help with learning the FFA Creed.

I am just learning this program and the video/link I have provided is very raw and basic, but maybe it can be of use to someone out there.  I plan on doing the rest of the Creed in just the same way.  Hopefully you see a progression of creative usage within Flash, or as the school year rolls around…it might just have to stay basic!  Here’s to all our audio and visual learners!

FFA Creed in Flash 1st Paragraph

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Bringing Color into the Field….err Fold.

Bringing color into the fold in design and projects within the classroom is now easier.  Recently, I learned about Adobe Kuler where using the standard color wheel you can observe how color schemes work together.  At first, I struggled to see how this might work within an agriculture classroom; however, I believe it may have many possibilities.

Adobe Kuler

You will need to sign-up for a free Adobe ID in order to use Kuler.  This is key because as you explore and create your own color themes, you will want to save them.  Having an ID allows you to save them and even share them through various outlets.  At the top of the page you will see “Create”, “Explore” and “My Themes”.  Create is just that – creating your own Kuler Theme for a projects or just for fun.  The “Explore” tab allows you to view other Adobe user’s themes.  This can be a source of inspiration or just to get an idea of Kuler’s capabilities.  Lastly, “My Themes” provides a collection of your own creations for later use.

Adobe Kuler

As you see there is many moving parts to the Kuler page.  There is a combination of hue, saturation and several other color components.  If you click on the “Color Rule”, there will be a drop down menu that allows you to choose a color scheme based on the where you want colors to fall on the color wheel.  The base color is the middle color as shown below and depending on the types of color rule you choose will determine where the accompanying colors fall in this theme.

Adobe Kuler

The bottom photo shows that I have chosen a monochromatic color theme based on a violet (Hex F227FF) color.  This way I can tell what color compliment this base color or in different situations would contrast it.  (Purple is my favorite color, so I just had to!)

Adobe Kuler


You will see at the bottom of each color there is a RGB and HEX number.  These numbers provide information to use to categorize exactly how much of the RGB color spectrum is used and to denote what HEX color it is for web page coding.  Unless you are doing your own graphic or webpage design these numbers are not that important.

I feel this could be a fun and inspiring resource for many projects within the agriculture curriculum.  I will be using this in Floriculture class to help students understand the color wheel and how colors work together to either compliment or contrast one another.  The interactive properties of this program allow students to really explore their own interests.  In addition, I believe this could be introduced to an Agriculture Business Management Class when talking about marketing.  Being aware of the psychology behind color and how poorly designed works can actually dissuade customers is important.

Happy Teaching…..

Prezi and Socrative: A Fun Voting Activity

Prezi and Socrative: A Fun Combo in Class.

It has been some time since I’ve posted.  A quote by Allen Saunders that seems to always run true for me and has lately had some bittersweet implications is:  “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans“.  Life has a way of interrupting even the best laid plans.  However, going forward, I hope not to neglect this and several other tech based projects I have in the works.

To date, I have not viewed myself as the most creative person in developing innovative activities to differentiate instruction and diversify my instruction approaches.  However, as I try to teach myself new applications, I find that sometimes the best learning happens simply when the students teach each other.  I have used Prezi in several projects in and outside of the classroom.  It’s a fun and innovative presentation producing platform that provide a multitude of components for classroom and business.  I encourage you to go and sign-up to explore the templates within Prezi – you can sign up for free where you get three free Prezi’s to begin your journey.

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Once there, you will find many fun and animated templates to fit your style or topic.  Students had fun finding templates and customizing them for their topic, which for the day was the respiratory tract in Veterinary Science Class.  Below you will find an example of a Prezi template (which I have not filled in with information).  The arrows at the bottom of the page advance you to the next item in sequence of the animation pathway.

Prezi Template Example

At the bottom, of the page, you can see you have many options to store, share or embed your Prezi into whatever other platform you are using.  In our activity in class, I asked students to develop a Prezi on the basic anatomy of the respiratory tract (nose, trachea, etc) and give their function.  They were to include pictures as well.  Once completed, they were asked to share their Prezi via Paperplane (a url sharing system used in the school district).  However, you could create a GoogleDoc and have everyone share their Prezi url there as well.

The final stage for this lesson was to have the students compare and evaluate the information in each other’s Prezi’s.  I found this to be a great review exercise and created a competitive atmosphere within the classroom.  They were instructed to choose two Prezi’s they felt were the best at presenting accurate information in the most efficient manner.  I asked them to post their vote via Socrative.  This is just one way to utilize Socrative as you can also use it to give quizzes, poll the classroom or provide an immediate interactive platform to collect feedback from students.  It too is free to use and does not seem to have any limits in its usage.


Above is an example of the many choices you have with Socrative.  I simply chose the “short answer” category for our final vote on the best Prezi.  A word of caution: to ensure students are accountable for their postings, you can require students list their names before posting anything to the online forum.  This reduces any inappropriate content and promotes high expectations as the entire class will be reading their contributions.

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This activity was a fun and interactive way for students to build content, evaluate it’s accuracy and contribute to the overall success of the class.  I hope to adjust and use this same protocol in other classes and settings.

Happy Teaching….