Friday, January 30, 2015

It's Elementary, My Dear...

As my third week comes to a close here at Greenwood High School, I find myself amazed at the efforts of our students working toward their upcoming Hunger Banquet event on February 6th.  It seems as my week has been filled with meetings and lessons and events all geared toward supporting Greenwood's anti-hunger efforts... and it rocks!

One of the unique things I have had the chance to do with my students in the short time that I have
been here so far, and is a part of the Hunger Banquet project, is wrapping up this week as well.  In the FFA Leadership class, my students worked hard at developing lessons which they delivered to
elementary students, ranging from kindergarten all the way through 5th grade.  The 10 high schoolers taught the elementary kids about what it meant to be hungry and that not everybody gets to go to bed with their bellies full each night.

After each lesson was over, the elementary students placed their hand print on one of the 3 six-foot posters that will decorate the banquet hall on banquet night.  The handprints are arranged in a total of 18 small circles, each representing a dinner plate that will hold a fact or statistic about food security around the world.

When we began this project, we were hoping that two, maybe three, elementary classrooms would humor us for an afternoon to let us do our thing.  However, the response we had was overwhelming.  We elongated our teaching time from one day to two and ended visiting 8 different classes (and the whole 5th grade at one time!)  It was awesome to see my students getting excited about educating younger students.  I may have even spotted a few potential teachers...

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Black-Tie Affair

As my second week comes to a close, I would say it was a little less than elegant... but stellar nonetheless!! Though I'm still working to find my stride with all my classes, I believe its begun to click with my first period Plant Science crew.

This week we started digging into hydroponics (well, not literally... there's no dirt in hydroponics!  See what I did there...) and were having a blast doing it!  On the second day of class we had the Hydroponics Challenge, where students were asked to take some items that I collected and develop their own system that they believed would support plant life.  We had some great ideas!  I was throughly impressed at the ingenuity of these students; though I was a little shocked when I turned around to find a group using a large piece of spouting that I definitely did not provide.  They say they got it from the greenhouse, but I have my doubts...

We ended the week by hosting our very own black-tie event.  Well, a little less black tie and a little more drawstring hoodie type event, but it was still mighty classy!  Our class became a brand new Hydroponic Corporation that wanted to promote their product, so we hosted a Hydroponic Dinner Party!  The task was for the "dinner committee" and the "dessert committee" to create a dish to serve at the dinner party that was comprised completely of fruits and veggies that could be grown hydroponically.  The committees did a fine job and provided us some scrumptious dishes, that made finishing our guided note packets a little easier.

Weighing fish with Bob,
my favorite custodian
All in all, my week was great, but let's be real, it can't all be fun and fancy parties.  There were some challenges too.  I made it through my first in-service.  The most exciting thing do to on an in-service day, you ask?  Well, we weigh the fish of course!  I'm sure that contributed to professional development... in one way or another...

However, the challenges really fell with the snow.  I experienced my first early dismissal and 2 hour delay, back to back.  It posed a little bit of a problem because the project we are working on in our FFA Leadership class has an outside deadline, but we are flexible and making do.

I look forward to starting my 3rd class next week with the industrial arts instructor.  I will be beginning a metal fabrication unit with his students... his two 4th period students.  I was nervous at first to be in front of only two students but the more I think about it, I'm ready for another set of challenges, so look out Greenwood, Ms. Bisquick is ready to get her weld on!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Introducing the Newest Wildcat: Ms. Bisquick

Introducing the Newest Greenwood Wildcat:
Ms. Bisquick

After just 5 days in to my student teaching experience, not only have I gained a new desk and a new name, but also a whole new set of challenges.  I often go by Ms. Bisquick while at school; its a long story but apparently Bickhart sounds like Bisquick and it just kinda stuck... 

All in all, my first week has been a blast!  What started out as simply a week of observation, has turned into a week of many hats.  I've been a substituting, AET-teaching, copy-making, Moodle-doing, lesson-planning, exam-grading, chaperoning, post-it note-using, FFA Jacket-fitting, Farmshow-going, bonified, first-week approved student teacher.  After all of that, I even had time to fit in a great conversation about scrapple-making with my favorite custodian, Uncle Bob.

But it hasn't all been a frenzy of fun... I've had some stretching experiences this week as well, mainly in the category of classroom management.  Teaching some lessons on record books and AET while my cooperating teachers had substitutes for the day was a lot of fun, but proved to be challenging as well.  Working with kids with only establishing limited rapport is tough and resulted in some frustration.  My goal is to continue working on relationship with my students so that hopefully by the time I begin to teach that particular class, we have established some mutual respect and we both can learn a little something.I have had a great week here at Greenwood!  I enjoy working with the kids, my teachers are great, and I have experienced nothing but hospitality from other faculty and the administration.  But if someone were to ask me which moment was my favorite, it would be tough to choose, but I believe Sun Salutations Plant Sciece during our weekly session of Stretching with Sam would take the cake!

Monday, January 12, 2015

No Days Like Snow Days!

Today is day one of my student teaching internship.  I laid out my clothes, Greenwood FFA windbreaker included,  the night before, packed my bag all up, ready to chaperone my first (official) field trip as a student teacher.  At 5:30 am I am up and moving and ready to get this show on the road!  But wait, just kidding, we have a two hour delay...

Ok, no problems, just a little behind schedule.  But wait, just kidding again, school's closed for the day... Again, no worries... We are Ag Teachers now; do you think we would really let a little (or not so little...) bit of ice stand in our way?!

And so we were off!  Off to the PA Farmshow in our Silver Bullet (a silver van that is the pride and
joy of the Greenwood School District).  Unfortunately, because of the snow day we were not able to take our kids along.  However, we were pleasantly surprised to meet a few of them at the complex when we arrived. ;)

I had the opportunity today to get acquainted with the PA FFA Alumni Foundation's Jacket Scholarship program while working with my cooperating teacher, who just happened to be in charge of making sure that 550 freshman students had jackets with their names on them, sitting on the backs
of their chairs when they arrived.  It was awesome to place so many of the corduroy jackets today, knowing that today was the beginning of 550 new FFA careers.

Also, even after only officially being at Greenwood for one day, I am al
ready so proud of my kids!  5 Keystone Degree recipients, 2 Regional Stars in Agricultural Placement and Agriscience, 1 Washington Leadership Conference Scholarship recipient, Agriscience projects earning 1st place and "Best In Show", multiple freshman members receiving their first Greenwood FFA Jackets, and a super experience with two of the best teachers around!