Learning Things The Hard Way

Our due date for the BIG Idea is coming up!  Your projects are due to be submitted on or before October 13, 2016.  I know the website says otherwise, but, I know how you love to wait until the last minute.  For that reason and the fact that we’ll just be getting home from National Convention about the time the actual due date occurs, I’ve made our due date a bit earlier.  One of the critiques that students gave me for this class last year was to spread out the due dates for things…….so, there you go!

When I log into the BIG Idea site I can see that several of you have created one or more student accounts.  When I access the projects tab I can see that three projects have been started.  You have Seven more Blue days, counting today and the 13th, to get your work for the BIG Idea perfected and submitted.


Later this week we’ll be logging into AET and getting some work done on records, SAE Grants, proficiency apps, etc.  Feel free to get a head start on those things.

Leadership CDES – HELP!  It’s time to really get going here.  I’m starting to lose sleep over our lack of productivity in this area.  The registration date for Jackrabbit Invite is October 12th!  We are required to submit any written material with our registration.  This means our Ag Issues Portfolio, Ag Comm Media Plan, Market Plan, and Job Interview have to be ready enough to go with our registration.  WOW – have we got some work to do!  If you aren’t sure what to do – please ask!  Several of us have A LOT OF WRITING to do!

14089301_1434530096563168_8923983294686139696_nWhat life lessons did you have to learn first hand before your fully understood them?  I remember as a teenager and young adult, I wasn’t always quick to take my parents’ word for things.  Many times, I thought I knew better.  I found out, on many occasions, that I didn’t!  What things have you had to learn “the hard way”?  Tell me all about it.

Your post is due Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Leadership CDE Info

The Job Interview descriptions have been released.  Find them here.

Ag Sales info: Ag Sales Product Info

Ag Comm Scenario: 2016-agricultural-communications-scenario

Rules for all CDEs can be found here.

Expectations with regard to Leadership CDEs can be found in this post.

Everyone should have things to work on!  Pick something and do it!

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Disappointed Parents


Tell me about a time when your parents were very disappointed in you.  What happened?  What did you do?  How did your parents learn of what you had done? How did you respond?  What did you learn from this experience?  Do you think your parents overreacted?  Why or why not?  How did you feel about the situation?  Did you feel bad about what you had done or because you had gotten caught?  Tell me all about it!

Your post is due Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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What if…….

Keep working on things in the expectations list for the semester – your BIG Idea, SAE records, Leadership CDEs etc.

Thanks for all your work and help with the Brat Feed!  I’m pleased with how things went and eager for it to become an annual event.  I think it will only grow with more time to advertise, plan, and promote!


I watched something on the History Channel a few weeks ago.  The premise of the show was predicting and discussions the implications of the next major eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano.

View this video:

What does the video tell us about when and what may happen?

For more info, read this article.

Why would North America and the rest of the world find itself in a severe food crisis?  What things scared or surprised you?  Is this something you’ve thought about previously?  What could we do to prepare for or prevent this disaster?  What other hazards or dangers could we find ourselves faced with?  What is the likelihood that South Dakota would be covered with lava?

Your blog post is due Friday, September 16, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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It Can Wait

The WCFFA Brat Feed will be Monday, September 12, 2016.  We will be serving from 5:00 to 6:30 in the high school commons.

Each member needs to bring 1-2 dozen wrapped bars or a variety package of single serving chips.  Bring Chips any time, bars on Monday!

We have several parents who are helping to organize the logistics of this event.  We will also need members who can help grill, serve, make change and take money, clean up tables, gather garbage etc.

We have flyers that need to be hung around town in Hartford and Humboldt.

Members will also be soliciting donations from local businesses to help with the cost of running this event.

Please – let me know what you can help with!  Sign up on this Google Doc.

On to our work for today:

I saw this on Facebook last week shortly after seeing a message on Twitter from one of our students who was riding with a student who was making some unsafe choices.  It scared the stuffing out of me!

Watch this video:

On your blog react to what you saw and heard in the video.  What are your thoughts?  Are you guilty of any of the actions expressed in the video? Have you been in a vehicle with people who made some unsafe choices?  How did that make you feel?  What can you do to ensure the safety of yourself and your friends?  Check out this awesome infographic.  What statistics displayed surprised you – in what way?  Scared you? Came as no surprise?  Many cities and/or states either have laws or are debating legislation that prohibits texting while driving.  How do you feel about this?  Would such a law change your behavior or that of your friends?  Do you feel that talking on the phone is as dangerous as texting while driving – why or why not?

Your post is due Monday, September 12, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Your Turn!


I’d like to hear from you today!  What are your expectations for this class?  What three or four goals do you have for yourself in this class?  What is it you want to get out of our time together? What suggestions can you offer to make this class better/more meaningful?  How can I challenge you further or push you harder in class and in your FFA career?  What can I (Mrs. Petersen) do to help you reach those goals?  What do you need to do to achieve these goals?

Keep working on your records, Leadership CDEs, log in to the BIG Idea and get started.  You all have LOTS to do!

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

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2016-17 Expectations i.e.: stuff you have to do!

exceed expectation

1st Semester

Maintain your blog and respond to prompts as assigned and by the due date.

SAE records up to date using AET.  We’ll be working together to get our records punched in and up to date. Your Records will be a portion of your quarter grade.  Please work along with the rest of the class instead of waiting until the end of the quarter/semester!  We’ll get started as a class soon, but, you can get logged back in and get your summer recorded anytime you have your data together.  Don’t forget – if you are a “green industry” person – get your photos NOW and upload them.

Proficiency Applications:  We”ll be working through the application together, a little at a time.  Proficiency awards come with CASH prizes for first through third placings on the state level.  Our members could be very competitive in Proficiency awards, last year we brought home a couple thousand dollars thanks to proficiency awards.  This is one of the Officer Team’s goals for the year.  Proficiency apps will be completed online within AET.  The more thorough you are in recording things for your SAE, the easier the process will be.

Seniors (with three years or more of membership – counting this year) will  complete the State FFA Degree Application – due January 13, 2017.  Some of you should consider completing the Star battery for either star in placement, agribusiness, agriscience or farmer.  The star battery requires quite a bit of writing and 6 photos  and captions (very similar questions to the proficiency apps), start early!  Our work on records in AET will help to streamline this process as the information will simply “fly” into the application which we will be completing online.

Complete the BIG Idea.  Your entry is due October 13, 2016

We’ll be working on an Agricultural Advocacy initiative throughout the year.  Our efforts will be to educate ourselves and others and dispel some of the common agricultural myths floating around out there. **The Soybean Video Contest may or may not be happening this year.  The last I heard they had not decided yet.  If they do host the contest, it will fit well into our Ag Advocacy Initiative.

Prepare for Leadership CDEs – whether competing or not, everyone will complete at least the following prior to November 1, 2016:  We will discuss how these items will be handed in.

Choose two or more from this list: **If you are preparing to compete at nationals – i.e.  Job Interview or Horse team – you must complete ONE or more items from this list.  I’d like you to invest your time in preparing to do your best in Indianapolis in October!

Rules for all Leadership CDEs are posted here.  Check the rules for the CDE you are working on.

Ag Sales Products, pricing and discounts info as-2016-ag-sales-product-information

Job Interview job descriptions job-interview-descriptions-2016

Ag Communications Media Plan Scenario 2016-agricultural-communications-scenario

  • Complete the letter of application and resume for the Job Interview CDE.
  • Prepare for the Ag Broadcasting CDE.  Have three 30 second commercials for fictitious agricultural products written and memorized.  Develop an outline for a 4 minute broadcast complete with times for each section (markets, weather, news etc).
  • Using the 2015 National Extemp Speaking Topic list, available HERE, collect and compile reference materials for each topic in preparation for the Extemp Speaking CDE.  (Print articles on the various topics and compile in a folder or notebook.)
  • Prepare a written manuscript for the prepared public speaking CDE – 6-8  minutes in length on an agricultural topic.  In your own words with a works cited/bibliography page.  No plagiarism!  Check the rules for proper formatting (MLA vs APA)
  • Form a team and complete all necessary product and presentation for the:
  • Ag Communications CDE (team of 4) Prompt for this year’s Media Plan will be linked above when available.
  • Prepare for the Ag Sales CDE – research the specified products, develop a portfolio of product information for your category.  Develop sales pitches for each of the  products in your category.  Search for and study Written tests
  • Market Plan CDE (team of 3)
  • Ag Issues (team of 7)

There are a lot of samples available on the national ffa website at ffa.org.  You’ll need to log in (I can help you with that) and surf to Participate>CDEs> on the right hand sidebar there is a link to “Free CDE Q & A 2008-2015”  From there you can select any year in that range and it opens up materials for all 24 CDEs!  If you’re thinking about Market Plan, Ag Issues, Job Interview, Prepared Speaking etc – go read the samples – which happen to be the top four in the country.

Our District includes 9 chapters.  To advance to the State Leadership CDEs you must place in the top three individuals or top two teams. District Leadership CDEs will be held either Monday, November 14th after school here at West Central.  Each Chapter may enter two individuals and one team in each CDE at the District Level.  We will attend preliminary CDEs at the Jackrabbit Invite November 1st.  We may also compete at the Harrisburg Leadership CDEs on November 7th – we also have Parent Teacher Conferences that night so, I’ve got some things to figure out there before we commit to attending.

These requirements and expectations are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor!

Finally – for today:


What did you want to be when you grew up?  Remember when you were very little – what is it you dreamed of becoming?  A fireman, a doctor, a teacher, a nurse, a vet?  How has that dream changed over time?  What precipitated that change? What have you learned in your life that has lead you to a different dream? What was it about that childhood dream that spoke to you – why did you want to be that thing when you were little?  Are you still trying to decide what your future career path will look like?  Don’t feel bad if you are – I think that’s very normal!  What kinds of things can you do to help you to make a sound decision about your future career and educational plans?

Your post is due Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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Sharing “The Why”


God-Made-a-Farmer-1We’re going to get started right away this year with the discussion of ag advocacy and your role in speaking in a positive manner for our industry.  We’ll be taking a look at how advocacy can occur across different platforms and media.  Today, specifically, we’ll be taking a closer look at John Deere.

View this video:

For All Generations – John Deere

Download and fill in this worksheet while you watch the video – It’s a pdf form with fillable blanks.

john deere info worksheet

Read this article

When you have completed your John Deere worksheet, save it as your name and upload it to your blog along with answering the following.

What is advocacy?  Why is it critical for the agriculture industry that we advocate for ourselves?  Give a couple of examples of places or topics in agriculture that you feel need extra positive PR (public Relations) work currently.  How can you be a positive voice for the agriculture industry in our area?  What is necessary for you to do so?  Is ag advocacy only something that farmers need to be concerned about?  What do you believe are some of the most prominent myths associated with American Agriculture that should be dispelled?  How have you personally been an ag advocate in the past?  If you don’t believe you have been yet, how do you think you should start?  What’s your first step toward advocating for agriculture?

Your post is due Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 8:15 a.m.

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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 this:myblog.wordpress.com

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 http://wordpress.com

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: myblog.wordpress.com  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: myblog.wordpress.com/wp-login.php

Write down your user name and password!

When you need help, please ask.

Send me an email with a link to your blog (myblog.wordpress.com)

Happy Blogging!

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