Free Time

Refer to this post if you need a refresher course on how to create and publish a post.

Before we dig right in, let’s take a look at what I’m expecting you to be completing when it comes to blog posts.


Let’s compare three blog posts from the same prompt:

This was the prompt: What’s one opportunity you have now that you have not taken?  Is it the ability to try something new, take an online or college class, go out for a team/club/activity?  Or is it something less concrete? Tell me all about it.  What’s been holding you back from stepping through the door that opportunity is presenting you?

First post

“i wish i had gone out for foot ball”

Second post

“one oppertunity i had that i didn’t take was National Honors Society.  i shoulda done it my junior year, this year it woulda been pointless tho cuz i wouldn’t have been able to use it on any scholarships.  last year I was 2 lazy to fill out the paperwork is why I din’t do it.  at least I didn’t have to be in the NHS SRB though.”

Third post

“I am incredibly fortunate to have really supportive parents. They have let me do anything and everything that I have wanted to try (with the exception of Girl Scouts) in my entire life. From ballet and gymnastics to FFA and soccer they have always been on the sidelines cheering as loud as they could. The fact that they are always there is amazing considering the fact that they both wish that my main focus would involve the 4 legged creature living in the barn. The opportunities that I have to excel in rodeo and 4-H are endless. My parents would be 100% willing to pay hundreds of dollars for clinics and new equipment. However, I haven’t really taken advantage of the opportunity. I absolutely love riding, and competing but I have always known that I wouldn’t compete in college or anything like that. If there was an way that I could spend as much time with my horse as I do for soccer I would love it, but it’s simply not possible. Nevertheless I hope to be involved in the equine world forever, I couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

In comparing these posts you’ll notice one is too short and didn’t really answer most of the questions. The second is also very brief and has several spelling or grammatical errors.  The other is a bit more thoughtful and explains what the writer is talking about in greater detail.  The second writer also makes fewer grammatical, spelling, or punctuation errors.

Let this serve as a reminder that I’m not asking you to do brain surgery here, but I am expecting you to put forth some effort!  I realize that on some posts you simply won’t have as much to say as on others.  That’s OK.


What do you spend the majority of your free time doing?  We’ve just started back from having the summer off.  I’m guessing you, like I, have more free time during the summer than you do during the school year.  Does the way your spend your free time change during the school year in comparison to the summer?  How do you prioritize the things you do during your free time?  Are there things or activities that you just don’t have time for during the school year?  In looking back at how you spent your free time over the summer; did you waste some of your time? If so, what did you do to waste it?  If you could have that time back again, what would you spend it doing?

Your post is due Monday, August 29, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Blogging 101

Here are a few rules that we’ll need to follow:

1.  For student blogs we will be using WordPress. WordPress is very user friendly and as you get more comfortable you can change and edit things so the design and style fits your preferences.

WordPress has a great, easy to follow tutorial for setting up your blog.

Styling your blog in WordPress becomes a game of learning to read code; some themes are more user friendly than others!  I recommend starting with the default theme Twenty Ten.  You will be able to add your own graphics and changes colors. Also, you can change the theme as you become more comfortable with it

2.  Your blog may not contain your entire first and last name.  Only first names or an appropriate nickname.  Your blog url and title will be something like

3.  All graphics must be school and FFA appropriate.  No scantilly clad young men or women.  If in doubt, ask!

4.  Any music associated with your blog must also be school and FFA appropriate.

5.  When posting to your blog, keep in mind that your blog is a reflection of you, your family, your school, our FFA Chapter and your FFA Advisor.  Once it’s out on the web, it’s really hard to take it back!  Keep all language appropriate, use spell and grammar check! If you are talking about a specific person (or classmate), don’t use that person’s real name.

Let’s begin by going to

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.57.14 AM

2.  Your blog may not contain your entire first and last name.  Only first names or an appropriate nickname.  Many students in the past have used their school email login, for example – lp3456.Your blog url and title will be something like this:  If you enter a name or slug that is already in use you will get a screen something like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.01.08 AM

When you find a combination that works – WooHoo, you’ll get a screen like this:

Choose a username and password and enter them in the appropriate blanks.  The default username will be the slug you came up with .  You can change your user name later if you need or want to.

Enter your school e mail address:
Be sure to select English in the pull down menu and click “Create Blog” Choose the Free option!
An e mail will be sent to the e mail address you entered.

Click on the link within the e mail you received.

We’ll get back to blog set up in a minute.  Be sure to book mark the dashboard page!  You will be using it again!

Before I totally turn you loose.  Make note of these things:

Your blog url and the login url, something like this:

Write down your user name and password!

When you need help, please ask.

Send me an email with a link to your blog (

Happy Blogging!

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Paper Work

I know many of you have tests to study for, papers to finish, books to read, etc.  So we’ll make today as painless as possible!

Please – log into AET

Go to Profile>Manage/Edit personal profile and password.

Scroll down, on the right hand side, under Contact Information, click edit. Make sure you have entered a non K12 email address for yourself and your cell phone number.  Click Save

Make sure your records are all up to date through May of 2016.  Any hours worked – paid or unpaid, community service, FFA and school activities/awards/honors.  Any products produced or sold or used at home.  If you need  help – please ask.

Finally – click on Reports, Click on Complete Record Book Report, leave the ending date blank and click generate pdf.  Send me the pdf via email.

Ellie – we  need to finish up your proficiency app today and Friday!

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If This Happened to You?

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly sorry for myself for one weird reason or another, I wonder how much more I can really take.  Then, I hear a story about someone like Austin Hatch, and decide that I need to pull up my bootstraps and get through whatever obstacles I’m dealing with at the time.

This video courtesy of ESPN

Who is the video about?  Why is his life remarkable?  The Michigan head basketball coach mentions that Austin told him he’d only had two bad days in his life – what were they?  Did Austin wait to accept his scholarship to play basketball at Michigan?  How serious were Austin’s injuries from the second crash?  What was his prognosis for recovery (what did they predict about his recovery)?  What was Austin’s dad’s goal for his son?  Why did Austin move to live with his uncle?  What benefit did the move provide for Austin?

In what ways was Austin lucky?

How would you handle losing a parent and all of your siblings?

What factors helped Austin to move on and realize his father’s goal for him?

Your post is due Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.  If you are a senior – your post is due before I can sign your check out sheet.

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Antibiotics – should we use them or not?

We take antibiotics when we get sick.  We often use them on our livestock for the same purpose.

Watch this video for a brief introduction to the use of antibiotics in livestock production.

Now it’s time for a bit of research:

Why do we use antibiotics in livestock production?  What type of infections are antibiotics an effective treatment?  In what levels and for what purposes do we use them?  What arguments are there against the use of antibiotics in livestock production?  Are there regulations about the use of antibiotics in livestock production?  If so – who mandates them, what or how do they regulate use. Are there organizations who argue that antibiotics are not necessary in livestock production?  Who are they and what is their primary message.  Finally – what is YOUR opinion?  Do you think antibiotics are safe to use in livestock production; why or why not?

If you are a Senior:  If you want to maintain your FFA membership next year to remain eligible for scholarships, proficiency awards, American Degree and various FFA travel and programs, please – log into AET, go to Profile> Manage, Edit your personal profile and password.  On the left side, scroll down and edit your email address – make sure it is not a K12 email address.  I will contact you via email regarding FFA opportunities that apply to you including notification of dues that will need to be paid.

Your post is due Monday, May 16, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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We all make mistakes!  Some are larger and wider reaching than others.  What is the biggest mistake you’ve made?  What have you done to make up for that error?  Have you recovered your reputation or the hurt you caused?  On a larger level, what do you believe is the biggest mistake made throughout human history?  Why do you think that this is so?  What damage, if any, did the mistake you are stating cause?  Do some research and give me some facts!  Do you believe that this mistake could have been prevented?  If so, how?

***Also – update AET – some of you have new offices and/or awards that need to be entered.  Have you worked any hours – paid or unpaid?  Did you buy any livestock, supplies, etc?  Have you entered any paychecks? Have you started a new job, taken any photos that apply to your SAE that need to be uploaded?  ETC!!!!!

Your post is due Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Things That Annoy You


What annoys you the most about your job or school?  Are there things that annoy you about dealing with people?  Do different generations in your life cause you different annoyances?  For example – are the things your teachers, parents, friends do that annoy you different?

Your post is due Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

Joe and Jordan – Please – work on your proficiency app!

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Taking things for granted


What things do you take for granted?  Do you just assume people will be there for you when you have not been there for them?  What “things” from “yesterday” do you wish you had back?  Have you had a falling out with a friend and things just aren’t the same anymore?  Are the things that are important to you today different from those that were priorities for you 12 months ago? What things about school will you miss this summer, or next year when you are graduated and off on your own in school or work? Do your parents provide you with things that you frequently forget to thank them for?  Have you worked in a group situation where your other group members allowed you to do more than you share of the work?  Did they appreciate what you did to help them achieve a good grade?  Conversely, have you been one of the bystanders that simply let someone else do the work and then step up to reap the reward?  Do you treat people the way you want to be treated?

Lots to think about and react to today.  Your post is due Friday, May 6, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Going in Circles


Have you had experiences in your life where the same old issue keeps coming up again and again?  Sometimes I feel like I’m going in circles; dealing with an issue, then dealing with the very same issue about 2 months later.  Some of the most complicated relationships and issues we’ll ever deal with involve family and friends.  What issues do you deal with in your life that just when you think you’ve got it handled and can put it on the back shelf, it rears its ugly head again?  some of you are just beginning to get into this kind of “fun”.  You’ll head off to college and share a very small space with another human being who may not share your love of late night homework or pizza binging.  There will be conflict!  How will you deal with that conflict in the future. Is there one thing that your parents just keep bringing up, over and over again?  Tell me all about it!

Your post is due Monday, May 2, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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In 5 Years…..


What goals do you have for your future? How will you work to achieve them? Where will you be in 5 years, what will you be doing?  What do you think will be different in our world from today?

Your post is due Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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