Supporting the Blue & Gold- State FFA Officer Visits

By Chrisinda Scheideler

The FFA organization has many members and strives to help them grow through many programs. These programs use funding that is brought in by many sponsors. Thanking these sponsors not just in a form of a note, but an actual meeting is what the State FFA Officers strive to do while in office. For them, it is a chance to thank them in person and get to see that sponsor’s personal and professional connection with FFA. For the sponsors, it helps put a face to what they are sponsoring and hear first-hand how their money is being used to benefit students, the communities these programs are in, and how it can benefit their business with their continued support. For me, it was fun listening to stories being told from both ends of the table. We only got to go to a few of the visits with the officers, but it was really cool to see the link between each company’s values and the FFA organization. I also enjoyed learning the process of how the officers prepare for these visits. I definitely want to take some of that back and incorporate it into my future classroom.


Summer Fun of SAE Visits and County Fair


By Chrisinda Scheideler


Throughout the summer I was able to ride with Mr. Scherer, my cooperating teacher, and visit a few student’s Supervised Agriculture Experiences (SAE). From cattle to a community garden, Gothenburg has a variety of projects to see. One of the students I got to visit had a mowing business. He mowed many lawns within the community. While we visited him, Mr. Scherer talked about Washington Leadership Conference, a conference the student was going to. He did that with the other students we visited as well. One student that raises goats actually gave us goat meat to try…. It actually was really good! It was really cool to drive around and hear Mr. Scherer remember all the families that live on the farms outside of town and he told me that he’s pretty much been to all at least once because of students. Because summer is so busy for students and teachers, it’s hard to set up visits with all of the students. But as a teacher, I can see the importance of making at least one visit, because the students see you are invested in their project just as much as they are. It was really cool was to see some of those animals that were SAE projects at the county fair. I was able to be a ring leader in the arena as well as an announcer for the Dawson County Fair. Even though this wasn’t my first rodeo with a county fair, it was really cool to see how different counties runs their fair. I also enjoyed seeing all of the kids with their projects and seeing them take ownership in what they were showing.

Learning the Inquiry Process

By Chrisinda Scheideler

Tri-State Inquiry Conference was held at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in Kansas on June 9-12. I and another pre-service teacher, Mattison Sullivan, was able to attend this conference with teachers from Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska. Inquiry is a way of teaching students by giving them the techniques to problem-solve and think critically on their own. Using an interactive notebook and act ivies, we were taught the inquiry method of teaching. We also were able to receive feedback on a lesson we teach on how to make it more inquiry for students. I also got to meet more teachers from Nebraska like Jonathan Anderson from Norfolk and teachers from Colorado and Kansas, being able to talk about their programs and how their state agriculture education works. This conference really gave me tools to use when I am teaching to help my students think critically and problem solve, things they will use throughout their life. I also loved the idea of the interactive notebook to keep everything organized and students can make it their own. I can’t wait to use what I learned within my student teaching this spring.

We’re So Excited We Wet Our Plants! – CASE Institute

A special thanks to those that made this institute possible and provided a holistic experience of exceptional learning and growth.

IMG_1229In the ever-changing industry of agriculture combined with the profession of teaching, it is important that continual learning and growth takes place. One way that 8 pre-service and 14 in-service teachers did this was by going through an eight day training in plant science curriculum lead by two ag teachers native to Iowa. CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Sciences Education) was an institute that provided rigorous and relevant training to aid in teaching and tying together inquiry based learning, core academic standards, and career opportunities to an agricultural course. This institute also encompasses opportunities to expand and apply concepts through SAE and FFA.


Throughout the course of those eight days, we took year-long coursework for high school students and went through it as though we were students to learn how to take plant science concepts and turn them into hands-on, creative-thinking learning opportunity. We learned different ways to modify and adapt labs, projects, and lessons to fit the learning needs of the diverse students. DSC_1457Not only did this curriculum training provide valuable resources, the collaboration that occurred between the diverse group of teachers that went through CASE alongside us added value and provided infinite potential for our future classrooms. We got our hands dirty, our wheels turning, and we got our learn on!


Meeting the “Family” – NCE Conference

By Sarah Wollenburg and Chrisinda Scheideler

IMG_0643Being a preservice teacher, you hear a lot about the “family”. With this being Chrisinda’s third NCE Conference and Sarah’s first, we definitely got that feeling of family in agriculture education. NCE is a conference where the majority of Nebraska’s agriculture educators go to receive professional development as well as attend business meetings to discuss updates and current happenings in Nebraska Agriculture Education. IMG_0642This is also a time to talk with teachers across Nebraska without students providing open dialogue pertaining to the realities of being an ag teacher: the great times, the hard times, and those invaluable pieces of advice. This conference was really exciting for us to meet both new and “seasoned” teachers. 

IMG_0650It was also fun to be with so many preservice teachers so we could discuss how we can apply what we are learning to student teaching and preparing an agricultural education program of our own in the near future. We also had the opportunity to learn about the many ways to become involved in agricultural education both locally and nationally. By going to this conference, it makes us excited to join this wonderful family!

Exploring Opportunities – Business & Industry Tours

We would like to extend a huge thank you to those who welcomed us into their businesses and took time to discuss the vast opportunities in the agricultural industry.

CVA – Duncan & Monroe • BigIron – St. Edward • Plains Equipment Group – Seward & Lincoln • Claas – Omaha • Green Plains Inc. – Omaha • Farm Credit Services of America – Omaha • Pillen Family Farms – Columbus

By Sarah Wollenburg and Chrisinda Scheideler

A high school educator once told me that many of the jobs that we would be pursuing throughout our professional career have not even been created yet. The agricultural industry is ever changing at a rapid pace, and in order for us to teach future generations we need to educate and immerse ourselves in all aspects of agriculture. After four days, our comprehension and understanding of the career opportunities presented to future agriculturalist was expanded greatly through business and industry tours. Even though we’ve been immersed in the agricultural industry our whole lives, these business and industry tours provided information about careers that we didn’t even know about. As reiterated by every business, providing awareness of the vast opportunities is crucial for the continued growth and expansion that the industry will face. Much like my high school educator told me, many students aren’t aware of the opportunities currently present nor what could be presented in the future. In addition, the interpersonal, relationship-building skills that are developed in an agricultural program are skills that are desired in all facets of ag related careers. However, the primary take-away from this experience was that these businesses want to work with ag teachers in any way possible from providing resources and materials, giving tours, and serving as guest speakers in the classroom to further promote career opportunity awareness. As future agricultural educators, we are excited to do our part to transfer these findings by incorporating career awareness and exploration into our respective program any chance that we can.

Soaring with your Superpower – COLT 2017

By Chrisinda Scheideler


On May 10-12, I had the opportunity to step into what State FFA Officer training looks like and get a sense of what planning for COLT all entails. State FFA Officers dug into communication skills, barriers, workshop training, and continued with COLT details. To me it was amazing how I get years of learning how to facilitate learning and these students that just graduated get one day to learn as much as they can about how to facilitate learning. They also discussed barriers which is a good thing to keep in mind always when teaching as everyone has biases and stereotypes and as the teacher, I need to recognize them so I can understand my students that I’m teaching. Knowing how to communicate to people is always important but how to ask questions that are meaningful​ and impacting is another challenge these officers trained how to do. The final day was spent finalizing plans for COLT by learning about how to use the new AET (an online record keeping tool) so they can help the chapters use it during COLT.

I then had the wonderful opportunity to spend COLT with my student teaching site, Gothenburg. I enjoyed getting to know my officer team outside a school setting because they will be my link between myself and the rest of the chapter. The officer team also got to meet me so that when I do come back in the spring, it will be less awkward. It was also nice to be able to see what the teacher does during COLT and get a chance to meet a few teachers I am going to be working with in the future. Overall this was a great experience to be able to do through this internship.


By Sarah Wollenburg

IMG_0534“Be a sponge!” Those few words emphasized by my cooperative teacher rang true as I got to soak up the experience of COLT Conference from a whole new perspective. On May 22 & 23, I attended not as a chapter officer, but rather a student teacher alongside my cooperative teacher and seven new FFA officers from Ashland-Greenwood. The bright, new leaders of these FFA Chapters from across the state had the opportunity to soak up ways to identify and utilize their superpowers in order to help their team and chapter soar. Through leadership development workshops, strengths finder, and program planning, students were able to collaboratively identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in preparation for the upcoming school year. One of the most revealing areas of growth that I had the opportunity to witness occurred when the students shared their top five strengths and analyzed how each of them worked together like puzzle pieces for the betterment of their respective chapter. The collaborative bonding that took place was a clear indicator that the students in attendance have a passion for agriculture instilled within them that will not only serve them well in the upcoming school year but beyond high school as well.

IMG_0554As a preservice teacher, it was an eye-opening experience to be able to be a sponge and soak up innovative ideas, relationship building, and personal development. COLT was an amazing opportunity for me to grow in my exposure to the [never ending] list of tasks that an ag teacher has, how to be strategic in planning, and how to manage the tasks. It never ceases to amaze me how open and willing other ag teachers are to helping one another in all aspects of their career. What a blessing it is to be a part of an industry and organization where the passion, drive, and determination has a strong presence among all of its leaders. Reflecting on this experience, I believe that both the students and myself acted as sponges and soaked up the knowledge and opportunity that will enable us to soar with our superpowers!

County Fairs Near and Far

From Kali:

Growing up involved in both 4-H and FFA, I have had my ‘fair’ share of memories at the Dodge County Fair.  This summer, I was able to see the likes of two completely different fairs, and see what agricultural educators do to help make those fairs successful.  In mid July I assisted at the Fremont 4-H Fair, which includes nine counties.  Essentially this is like a showcase before each county then has their own fair later in the summer.  I helped with the ATV riding contest, as well as the sheep show.  Having never seen an ATV riding contest before, it was a great opportunity to see what it all involves, and how parts could be included at a farm safety day in an agricultural education program.  I also helped Mr. Schroeder from West Point with the sheep show.  The West Point Chapter was in charge of the show, and students were helping in all aspects from running the entry gate to handing out awards and ribbons.  I also enjoyed watching Mr. Schroeder talk with his students as a class was being judged as he was using every teachable moment.

Last week, I moved to Crofton and then spent most of the week at the Knox County Fair in Bloomfield.  Here I had a completely different experience from what I am used to as the 4-H and FFA shows are separate.  Having never seen anything like that before, it was a great experience to work with all of the Knox County advisors and another student teacher from Knox County to see all that may be asked of an advisor if a county runs their shows in that way.  From creating separate programs and getting all of the awards ready, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.  I also was able to see and help set up their floriculture, horticulture, and ag mechanic entries.  I have always known that students could enter projects like that at the state fair, but have never seen it at the local level.  Over all, helping with the Knox County fair was a great experience.  Not only was I able to work with other advisors, but I was able to begin to better understand the communities where I will be this fall.  Now school has started, and I am ready for my semester in Crofton!

Fremont Fair

Mr. Schroeder talking through a class with a student who was helping run the show.

From Miranda:

For this internship we are supposed to go to two different county fairs and assist the FFA advisor/advisors at each of them. I was able to attend the Phelps County Fair in Holdrege and help my cooperating teacher, Mr. Moore, set up his FFA exhibits. I was also able to help with the Holdrege FFA watermelon feed the following evening. It was nice getting to work with some of the students that I will be teaching this fall as a student teacher. The other fair that I went to was the Eustis Fair and Corn Show in Eustis. I was able to see how Mr. Schimmels, Ms. Armstrong, and Ms. Mortensen help with the fair; it was exciting to work with some of the members that will be in my district as I begin teaching in Cambridge in January. I am very happy that I attended these fairs this summer because it exposed me to two environments that are different from the fair that I grew up with in Franklin County. This experience has helped to reinforce my knowledge of the fact that not all county fairs are the same and that it takes different strategies to work through each one efficiently. Attending these county fairs was kind of a “cherry on top” of my experiences with the Teach Ag Internship this summer. I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given to grow not only as a teacher but as a person and thanks to my time in those workshops, visits, conferences, and meetings I feel very prepared to take the next step as a student teacher this fall at Holdrege Public School.

NPower: Light Your Torch

July 19th-21st had us on familiar territory at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s East Campus.  During our time on campus we were assisting with NPower.  NPower is a conference that is open to 6th-12th grade students in all Career and Technical Organizations (CTSO).  These CTSOs include FCCLA, Educators Rising, FFA, FBLA, DECA, HOSA, and Skills USA.  NPower strivs to provide a leadership development opportunity for Nebraska’s youth leaders.  The State FFA Officers along with Nebraska Human Resources Institute (NHRI) facilitated all sessions with students separated by grade level.  Three State Officers for Educators Rising were also present and helping with conference activities.

From Kali:

After a multiple experiences as a conference participant this summer, seeing a conference from the other side as an organizer was a great experience.  On Tuesday we worked with the FFA interns preparing and gathering supplies.  Sorting t-shirts, assembling and sorting name tags and putting the finishing touches on set-up kept us busy throughout the day.  Wednesday kicked off the conference where we began our day at registration.  It was a good experience to understand all of the organization that is needed with medical release forms and other paperwork as organizers work to have a fun and safe conference.  All of these skills and tasks are things I could be asked to do when hosting a contest or event, or even just in the day to day tasks as an educator as one needs to be organized and well prepared.  Aside from gathering materials and preparation tasks, I also sat in on various sessions watching not only student interaction and activities, but evaluating facilitation from the officers.  This was a good experience just coming off of Delta as I was able to identify gems and opportunities and help myself to better understand what it takes to be an effective teacher and facilitator.

Having never attended NPower before, it was a great opportunity for me to see all that goes on throughout the two day conference.  With this deeper understanding, I know I can help encourage students to attend and prepare them to have a great conference experience and know what to expect.  As the summer is quickly coming to a close, I look forward to wrapping things up with more county fair experiences and getting in the classroom at the local level.

From Miranda:

I was very excited to see students “light their torch” at this year’s NPower Conference. When I was in high school, this conference did not exist and so I was looking forward to finding out what it had to offer. Students were able to bond with each other throughout each session by working together and learning about new ways to improve themselves as individual leaders. This conference put a focus on how the students could influence and impact others in a positive way. The students were able to discover new knowledge of leadership and teamwork by attending this conference and I am happy that I was able to play a role in getting different activities and facilities ready for them. By helping with this conference, I was able to see a portion of the work and planning that needs to be done in order to have any conference be successful. Going through this experience has made me more prepared for my student teaching experiences that will start in just a few weeks as well as my teaching career in January.

Tri-State Delta: The Power of Change

Support Positively. Crave Feedback. Risk Boldly.


2016 Tri-State Delta Participants, Mentor Team, and State Staff

July 12th – 16th we had the opportunity to be the first Pre-Service teachers to attend Tri-State Delta Conference in Curtis, Nebraska.  Agricultural educators from Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado gathered in Curtis at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture for five days of instruction under facilitator Mark Reardon.  Tri-State Delta focuses on increasing student engagement through lesson design and facilitation. Throughout our time in Curtis we covered teaching methodology and engagement, leadership and personal development, and how to build connections and influence our school, community, and state.

From Kali:

If I were asked to sum up last week’s experience in one word, my word would be propelling.  Last week propelled my teaching career, propelled my learning and teaching to a new level, and propelled my excitement for a career in education.  From identifying what matters to me, the 3 Rs from Andy Armbruster of Monsanto (Relevancy, Reputation, Resolution), neuroscience and education psychology, elevator speeches, E-Moments, direction delivery and facilitation the list could go on and on.  However, it is one thing to hear about all of this, but another to put it to use.  Throughout the course of the week we were in mentor teams and brought a lesson plan to work on and apply what we were learning.  On Friday we were able to stand and deliver parts of our lesson and receive feedback from our fellow teachers and the mentor team in small groups.  That afternoon six Deltans took their game to the next level with teaching in front of the group and received coaching from our facilitator.  With student teaching on the horizon and minimal teaching experience at this time, receiving feedback on what I was doing and picking up strategies from watching others and then with the learning opportunities presented throughout the lessons with live coaching it was a great learning experience.

My experience last week at Tri-State Delta is one that I will remember in the years to come.  The opportunity to learn about the art of teaching in the areas of lesson design and facilitation from Mark Reardon CEO of Centre Point Education, and then work to put those skills to use in front of my peers was a great learning experience going in to student teaching.  I am eager to begin my time in Crofton and put what I have learned thus far to use.  After all, KNOWLEDGE is USEless without ACTION!

Tri-State Delta is an experience that all educators need to experience.  Whether just beginning your career, or experienced  there is something for everyone.  So take a risk, what can the power of change do for you and your career?


From Miranda:

During our time in Curtis, we were able to become more familiar with the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) campus and the many programs that they have to offer.  It was very exciting to meet and learn with teachers from Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Florida, and California.

Throughout the conference we were able to learn different ways to encourage higher order thinking within our classrooms.  Each teacher challenged themselves to step out of their comfort zone and accept new ways of teaching.  It was very comforting to see just how much of a family agriculture teachers are and how well we all work together to help each other accomplish our goals.  This conference helps teachers shift their way of thinking to be more direct and focused on the students.  It also helps teachers to better themselves as individuals and break past their personal barriers.  For example, through attending Delta I have been able to become comfortable with other agriculture teachers as well as more confident in myself.

Tri-State Delta has encouraged me to risk boldly, crave feedback, and support positively; it has helped me learn how to work with others in a more effective way and I appreciate everything that I have learned from attending.  I am privileged to have met and collaborated with such amazing people and I cannot wait until I get to enter the classroom and utilize the practices that this conference has taught me.  Thinking back on all that I have learned from this internship thus far, I am excited to see what I will learn in the weeks to come as we are getting closer to the beginning of the school year in which we will begin our student teaching experiences and will be putting our newfound knowledge in to practice.