Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Educational Philosophy

During my first semester of college I had developed a philosophy for teaching that was simple, it focused towards being the best teacher possible through trust and respect and that was all you needed. Even though I still believe in that statement, my outlook has changed because of the professors I have observed and admire.

I now believe that there are four basic steps to a successful classroom. First, you must establish trust and respect with each student. Second, each student should be looked upon separately, not labeled in any fashion. It is my responsibility to find the students strengths and weaknesses and build a positive learning environment. Third, teach each student to go as far as they are capable of going and to give them the tools to reach their goal. Their education will be the cornerstone of their future experiences. Last, would be to communicate with each student. By using both verbal and non-verbal communication you can learn from your students, not just lecture. This will build trust and respect for each other.

The learning process never ends, even for the teacher.
To have a successful program it requires numerous hours outside the structured classroom. I have the time to devote and the excitement to share my experiences and knowledge with the students and look forward to learning from them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Texas Farm Bureau

I. Name of Web Site: Texas Farm Bureau
II. Web Site: www.txfb.org
III. Updated: October, 2007
IV: Organizational Credentials: Texas Farm Bureau was established in 1933. It is one of the largest member owned organizations that’s mission is to help the agriculture related individuals in their search for information and assistance.
V: Web Site Design: The home page of Texas Farm Bureau is very impressive. The sub-title at the top says, “The Voice of Texas Agriculture.” This title is carried through with all of the links that are available. The central interest on the page is for teachers. It shows food and fiber for the 21st century and has a link for teachers to include agriculture in the classroom. Other links listed on the left hand side would be extremely helpful. They are News Room, Daily Ag News, Legislative, Ag in the Classroom, Planet Ag, just a name a few. I went to Ag in the Classroom to try it out. There are five individual links on this page. Your options are TV AG stories, Planet Ag, Rural Texas, and Texas Farm Bureau Videos, and Ag in the Classroom. It starts out with a six true/false quiz that was very interesting. It checks for background knowledge of agriculture. From there you can go into several topics that are very current and important to agriculture. Texas Farm Bureau also offers the opportunity of the mobile learning lab to visit your classroom and community. It would be easy to get it to your classroom with the collaboration of other schools in your area, they ask for four stops on their way. Another link was Texas Farm Bureau TV which provides videos with a number of topics which would be useful in the classroom. The last page of the website has links to the US Department of Agriculture, Federal Grant Programs, and the National Future Farmers of America, where I’m going next. The overall design is very easy to maneuver.
VI: Response and Recommendation: Teaching Agriculture is a constantly changing subject. This website would be helpful in keeping up with the every changing information that is needed. The links to legislature and federal assistance would be good to use for current events and daily updates. I would recommend this website for use by all ag educators.

Untied States Department of Agriculture

I. Web Site Name: United States Department of Agriculture
II. Web Site: http://www.usda.gov
III. Copyright: Last Modified 10/26/07
IV: Organizational Credentials: The United States Department of Agriculture website is a national used multimedia project provided by their agency. It has numerous subject areas ranging from simple to advanced topics for educational uses, as well as information for their employees.
V: Web Site Design: This is a tremendous website with a wealth of information. When you open their site you find menus on both sides of the page. It is easy to locate your topic. I went to related topics and found USDA for Kids. In this specific area it showed topics ranging from information on the food pyramid and eating healthy to raising your own garden in the classroom. The pages were very colorful and would attract kid’s attention. I next looked at Ag in the Classroom and was amazed. You had an option of Beginning Students, Intermediate Students, or Advanced Students. I clicked on Beginning and it brought up a ten question quiz that was very simple and fun to take. I then went to the Advanced and it was laid out the same. It had a ten question quiz to take. After the quiz it had a link to information on each one of the questions. Next, I went to the link that showed lesson plans, and chose Dolly. When it came up it was Hello Dooly, an introduction to cloning. The information given was very organized. It game a summary of the law on human cloning and compared it to animal cloning. Then it proceeded to the process and gave activities to do for the lesson. Interesting enough it tied it back to information on Dr. Frankenstein and another link that was fun. The lesson on Cloning was very insightful and would be fun to teach. The site gave 10 other lessons that would be very useable.
VI: Response and Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this website for various needs. It has a great directory on the home page that leads you wherever needed. Next, the lesson plans are wonderful. They break it down into age groups. They have extra links to go to other areas, and the table of contents is very specific. There is also a link at the bottom of the table that gets you to other states lesson plans as well. They also have a national resource directory link that I looked at and it is amazing. They tie agriculture to science lessons, geography lessons, and also vocabulary building. It would be very useful in planning lessons.

National FFA Organization

I. Name of Web Site: National FFA Organization Agriculture Education
II. Web Site: www.ffa.org
III. Copyright: 2007, National FFA Organization
IV: Organizational Credentials: Dr. Larry Case, President, FFA is one the largest youth organizations in the nation.
V: Web Site Design: The home page appears to be very organized. I liked the tabs at the top of the page. On the right side of the home page was statistical information or FFA at a Glance. The tabs are formed specifically for easy use. You can find information ranging from history, programs, middle school, high school, and college. There is a center focus that reads, “The Garfield’s Middle School Discovery.” Of course, Garfield is someone who is recognized by everyone. A lot of time and effort went into this link. It appears to be geared to getting information to the middle school kids to interest them in Ag before they reach high school. The Ag Witt was games that they could play and were easy to do. But the best was the Komics Zone where they can actually create their own custom comic strip. You didn’t have to have any special code to be able to design, and it was easy to follow the directions. This was excellent. The entire web site is filled with information that is very useable. The tabs are great and there is a web site index tab. The index is listed alphabetically and you just click on the topic to take you to the correct spot. Something else that’s important is the link to your state information, as well as national. Contest dates, winners, and information for the advisor are very easy to find and use. There is a general link that list job opportunities for agriculture teachers. This is listed by state and gives contact information. The collegiate tab was interesting. There is a tab for cell phone etiquette and eating etiquette. Is this a hint that there’s a problem with the college age kids? An on-line store is also available. This web site is very easy to navigate.
VI: Response and Recommendation: The National FFA Organization website is a valuable tool for both teachers and students. It provides information for classroom, research, and contest, or just for fun. I really enjoyed the middle school focus with the Garfield link. This is an excellent tool to encourage younger students to be interested in ag. Teachers actually have to recruit out of middle school and this would be excellent to use. This website would be valuable on registration day or when visiting middle schools for prospective members of FFA.

Texas Tech New Teachers Website

I. Name of Web Site: New Agricultural Teacher Program
II. Web Site: www.depts.ttu.edu/agriculturalteachers/
III. Updated: October, 2007
IV: Organizational Credentials: Texas Tech University, Ag Education
V: Web Site Design: The home page design is interesting, and a little confusing. There are no tabs to click on just pictures. There is a Georgia Agricultural Education link on the home page of Texas Ag teachers, which I found a little misleading. I would expect on Texas links for your home page. I clicked on it and got page cannot be displayed. In the center of the home page is a picture link that “Local Program Resource Guide 2005-2006.” If the program was updated in October 2007 you would assume that this link might be outdated. So, I clinked on it and found this page no longer available. There are education games online, and computer learning links. I chose the classroom link and found a wealth of information. It breaks it down into two categories, discipline and general. The subcategories were very helpful. I went to discipline as a new teacher and found information ranging from setting up your classroom discipline to ice breakers for the first day. The discipline that I looked at gave positive reinforcements and links to certificates and letters praising children’s behavior. Next I found a link emphasizing what will not work in the area of disciple. These were really good links. I went back to the home page and tried the Livestock Show link and it was excellent. Then I tried some of the game links; they didn’t seem to work on my computer. The agency links seemed to work well, and were easy to navigate. However, I did not have a search engine to help navigate the web site.
VI: Response and Recommendation: I was somewhat disappointed in this web site. I assumed that it would be more effective being supported by Texas Tech University. The picture links were ok, but I didn’t particularly like them. I like to have a description or index to the links. I did not find a search engine either. Some of the links did not work. However, the education link was great. I believe that discipline is a major role in the day to day activities of teachers and they had some very helpful hints. Overall, there was good information, but I found the web site needing attention and I would get frustrated going to links that do not exist, or games that cannot be displayed. I believe the other four web sites I looked at very far superior to this one.

Glen Rose FFA

Web Site Evaluation #1
I. Web Site Name: Glen Rose FFA
II. Web Site: http://www.glenrosearkansasffa.org
III. Copyright: May 2, 2005/Updated 08/07/07
IV: Organizational Credentials: This is the website of Glenrose FFA in Malvern , Arkansas . John Jones is the person responsible for this website and can be contacted at jcjones@grl.dsc.k12.ar.us. This website is dedicated to the busy teacher who can’t seem to get it all done!
V: Web Site Design: This was an interesting find. It is a collaboration of Ag teachers who have downloaded their lesson plans to this website to be used by others. The website has been divided into six broad categories: Animal Science, Plant Science, Ag Mech, FFA/Leadership, Ag Business, and Miscellaneous. I picked several different categories to get an idea of their lessons. Most of the lessons are in a power point. The first one, Ag Careers was very interesting. It listed the careers, education needed, estimated pay and what was involved. Not all the careers involved college. It was as simple as a farm laborer getting minimum wage all the way to the federal level. The next lesson was on table settings. It was also a power point and listed the different plates, utencils, and their uses. It even gave a short quiz at the end that was fun. The sites are very easy to use and all were downloadable for future use. There was also a section on comments about various lessons. It also encouraged anyone who had a lesson to share to send it to the Glen Rose FFA department. There is also a Who wants to be a millionaire game with twenty-one variations. It was easy to utilize. Also, a Jeopardy game is available in different topics, and there is also a template for Jeopardy where you can add your own categories and questions. There are fifteen pages of links to lessons. The website also provides six links to other organizations providing lessons. The most interesting was Cal-Poly State University had power points developed for computer applications in Ag Education classes.
VI: Response and Recommendation: This was a project by the Glen Rose FFA Chapter and they were the Regional Winners. This site would be good for reference only, especially first year teachers. However, it should be used only as a guide and not as the only teaching tool a teacher would use. It would too easy to use what has already been done, instead of doing your own research and using your own talents.