Monday, February 21
Happy President’s Day! A Monday like this when we are out of school is such a blessing. I had time to actually enjoy the entire weekend, and I still had a full day to catch up on a ton of work! So, I spent today doing just that. Most of the morning and early afternoon I spent shopping and gathering supplies for my Ag Science II students. Students in those classes are designing and conducting research projects about soils and plants. Today I gathered everything from peat pellets that we will use to germinate seeds, to styrofoam meat trays that we will use to create a homemade hydroponics system that will grow plants in soil. This afternoon and evening I worked diligently on grading assignments, as I must submit grades by 8:00am tomorrow for the end of the interim grading period. I also went to school to take care of the rabbits and work on cleaning my classroom for a while. All in all today was a good day!
Tuesday, February 22
We used the supplies that I purchased yesterday to plant seeds in my sophomore classes today. Some seeds were planted in peat pellets, which are small discs made out of peat and contain fertilizer to help seeds germinate. Students who are conducting research projects that involve growing plants in soil will transfer the small plants that develop in these pellets into their soil pots in a couple of weeks. Other seeds were planted in rockwool cubes, which are small cubes made from molten rock and spun into cotton candy-like fibers. Seeds that germinate in rockwool will be transferred into the hydroponic growing systems in a couple of weeks. All of the seeds are currently in trays with lids, which will help contain the moisture and heat (provided by lights) that the seeds need in order to germinate. My students and I are waiting anxiously for the seeds to germinate in the next few days! We have only invested a little time and money into these projects, yet we are still excited to see the results. One of the things that some of the students have discussed is how little control they feel that they have over the plants. I find this interesting because in reality, they have complete control. Students are controlling every aspect of the growing process, including the growing medium used, temperature, water, light, etc. When discussing this, I referred to a speaker who came to visit my classes during Ag Career Week a few years ago. The person was a local farmer who explained that growing crops is somewhat like gambling. He used the analogy of throwing thousands of dollars out into a field (seeds), and having practically no control over whether or not they would grow efficiently and produce a return for him since so many factors were out of his realm of control. Now that’s a scary thought!
Wednesday, February 23
Today was a pretty normal day at school. Afterward, I left immediately to attend a meeting at Butler Tech, which is the school that is actually my employer. The meeting was a committee of individuals who are creating recommendations for teachers to follow in running their Career Technical Student Organization (FFA, FCCLA, DECA, etc.). After the meeting, I made a quick stop at Berns Garden Center to pick up some more supplies for my students’ research projects. Then, I took the rest of the evening off. Last night I got home from the District Public Speaking CDE at 9:00pm, and I suspect that tomorrow will be a late night at school as well. So, tonight I will take a little break!
Thursday, February 24
What a day! From 7 am until 9 pm, we haven’t stopped. The day has been jam-packed full of activity. Classes went well, and during my 5-minute breaks between classes I worked on organizing details for activities school. Immediately after school, students came to the Ag room to meet for the Greenhand Officer team, Wildlife Management CDE, and Recycling committee. At 5 pm, the students held their monthly FFA meeting. This meeting had 2 special features: students running for a chapter officer position presented speeches in front of the membership, then members voted for the candidates, and students were recognized for earning their Greenhand and Chapter Degrees. Greenhand Degree recipients got to paint their hand green and leave their mark on the program by placing their handprint on the door in the Ag shop. Chapter Degree recipients enjoyed a game of FFA Feud, which was based on a survey conducted in class last week. The meeting was a lot of fun for everyone who attended. Meetings like this when the students gather and enjoy each others’ company are so rewarding for me as a teacher. I am re-energized each time an event like this occurs!Following the FFA meeting, members of the Edgewood FFA Alumni came in for their monthly meeting. The FFA Alumni is a group of adults who dedicate their time to supporting the FFA chapter by volunteering to help at events, raising money to support FFA trips and events, and providing a helping hand whenever needed. Our FFA chapter is blessed to have this dedicated group of individuals who support the chapter and its’ members in so many ways! The business meeting was held, making some key decisions for fundraising and supporting student trips. It was a great end to a very busy day!
Friday, February 25
Today was the date scheduled to have our annual Farm Tour field trip. The purpose of the trip is to allow students the opportunity to visit a farm to see firsthand how their food is produced. Many of our students do not have a farm background, and thus this is an important trip that we take each year. It gives all of our students a context for discussions that we have for everything ranging from animal care and manure management, to economies of size and specialization. Unfortunately, the farm is located in Versailles, OH, and today the weather was bad enough there that their school district was closed. Therefore, we could not go on the trip. I felt terrible about this, as when I told students that we had cancelled, they all gave me their best set of sad eyes. I hope that we can reschedule the trip in a couple of weeks!After a long week of late nights and constant activity, I was pretty drained today. I hate days like this when I know that I’m not at my absolute best. But, I made it through the day and took home 2 bags of work to do over the weekend. I decided that if there’s any hope of getting through my pile of work this weekend, I will need to work the entire time. So, tonight I started with grading student work. I have all of my grading done, so the rest of the weekend I can focus on other tasks.
Saturday, February 26
Today involved a little bit of everything. I spent time checking things off of my To Do List. Some of those tasks included writing letters of recommendation for students, ordering FFA chapter t-shirts, catching up on emails, completing online safety training for the school district, preparing pictures for the yearbook, submitting requisitions to Butler Tech so that I can make purchases for the program, and planning ahead for the National FFA Convention in October. It’s been a busy day, but I’ve gotten a lot done for my classes and for the FFA chapter.
Sunday, February 27
After church today I went back to work! Today I drove back to Dayton Hydroponics to purchase more supplies for the students’ research projects. The staff at the business is extremely helpful and gave me a ton of hints on how to make hydroponic systems ourselves for much less money than purchasing them. I bought the supplies that I needed, and headed to Lowe’s to get some more. Afterward, I spent some time taking care of the rabbits at school and edited the monthly newsletter that the FFA Reporter would like to mail out to FFA members, Alumni members, and key supporters. I also planned lessons for the week ahead and reviewed my calendar for the week. I’ll be traveling to a conference at the end of the week, which will require me to miss 2 days of school. This puts some added pressure on everything this week, so I’m hoping that all of the time I spent doing schoolwork over the weekend will help in the days ahead!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Today was a great start to the week! We accomplished a lot in classes, which always makes me feel more confident about the week ahead. Freshman students learned about incomplete dominance and codominance with relation to animal genetics. Sophomores continued to work on their research projects, including setting up supplies and using the classroom computers to research details about their projects and previous studies that have been conducted in a similar manner. Students in the junior class discussed customer service techniques to use before, during, and after making a sale, while the senior class began exploring job interview questions. After school we had an officer meeting, during which the officers made a lot of plans for their FFA banquet that will occur on April 14. Overall it was a busy, productive day, and a good start to the week!