Supervised Agricultural Experiences…
We love them….and then….sometimes….we dislike them strongly 🙂
They are probably the most incredible experience that we offer our students, because each student gets impacted (even if they are not in FFA) in a unique and differentiated way.
But, we have 50 kids, 180 kids, 480 kids, and it’s hard.
It’s hard to TEACH them what it is, it’s hard to GET THEM STARTED, it’s hard to MANAGE THEIR PROGRESS, it’s hard to help them understand the PROFICIENCY application, it’s hard to navigate the AET, it’s hard to do DEGREE applications, it’s hard.
But, here is something that can help you with a few of those things that I implemented in my classroom that A LOT of you wanted to see more of!
So, I needed to help my suburban kiddos who are multiple generations removed from the farm wrap their brain around SAEs. It wasn’t easy, but here is how I did it, and a month in, they are surpassing the creativity that my past 3 years at this school came up with.
STEP 1: Information overload
No matter how you look at it, when you talk about SAEs, it is going to be information overload. So, I broke it up.
PPT, video, chat, brainstorm and repeat. There is a WHOLE LIBRARY of resources for teaching HERE from National FFA. I used their “doodle/whiteboard” videos to introduce the 5 categories along with my own PPT.
STEP 2: Partner check in
Now that they can “kinda” understand SAEs after lots of talking, chatting and providing resources. The need to TALK their idea out with SEVEN other classmates, and write down their ideas. The purpose of this is two-fold 1) They actually get up and moving and talking with other people 2) They can gain creative ideas from others and refine their idea by listening to others.
THEN EVERY WEEK, they must have a PARTNER CHECK their records and sign off on it. We keep copies of these paper in the classroom, so on record keeping day, they just grab it, fill it out and then turn it back in.
STEP 3: Teacher Meetings
In my opinion, the traditional SAE visits don’t work in my classroom with my demographic (except for a few students who ride horses competitively). We DON’T have a show team or ANY students who live on farms. Many of our students live in neighborhoods that forbid even backyard chickens. So, a home visit is a little out of the question. But, does that mean I shouldn’t meet with all my kids? NOPE, not even a little bit. So, I created THIS TEACHER MEETING sheet. My students MUST meet with me a MINIMUM of 3 times a semester to chat about their SAE progress. This is like three-fold 1) A chance to actually have a valid SAE visit with my kiddos 2) Have a written record of my conversations with my student on the biggest chunk of their grade 3) Rapport, rapport, rapport. It has been great! Yes, that is about 300 SAE visits a semester. But, I make it work in any little fraction of time I have in class, during our “home room”, before school, after school etc.
Step 4: SCREENCAST AET Help
Y’all I AM A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE AET! I use it EVERYDAY in my class. Seriously, the first thing my student’s do in class before I even speak is open the AET, and they log their START UP answer in class time, and then log any SAE hours, FFA activities, or others before we even start class. With all this being said, the AET is HARD for the kids to wrap their brain around. So, I make screen cast videos of ALL the things I require them to do. The first thing we do is set up the profile, I make a screencast. The second thing we do is add our class, I make a screen cast. The kids need a SAE PLAN, I make a screencast. You get the picture. I LOVE Screencast-o-matic. It is FREE up to 15 minutes, but no kid is going to listen to that long of a video, so I usually make them 5 minutes or so.
Step 5: Allow student to have SAEs at school
No, I’m not talking about livestock projects. Some of you already do that. Make a list of things that you wish you had time to do, or a list of things that get left on the back burner that really need more attention. Then, have kids apply for those positions. Some that we did this year were a FODDER grower (to feed to our small mammals and chickens), a GREENHOUSE builder (we don’t have one up, but a small one in a box that just hasn’t been built yet), A LAUNDRY SPECIALIST (running a doggy daycare we go through A LOT of laundry, and the washing machine is ACROSS the entire school parking lot in the main building). I used this SIMPLE job application and MOST of my jobs were filled!
That’s all I have for now! Hopefully, this will help you all get started down a path of LEAST resistance when you are implementing SAEs in your classroom!