Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When I think of "Agriculture"...

Today, my AP Human Geography began our unit on Agriculture and Rural Use of Land.  To help "inspire" them to begin thinking about that which is connected to agriculture, I showed a couple of music videos from the employees of Peterson Farm and Livestock in Assaria, Kansas.  These videos parody songs from pop culture and yet give a very pro-agriculture message.

"I'm Farming and I Grow It" (parody of "I'm Sexy and I Know It")

"Farming Style" (parody of "Gangnam Style")

We followed this up with each student responding, via polleverywhere.com, to the prompt "When I think of "agriculture", I think of ...".  Students were asked to respond with a minimum number of terms or phrases.  Here is a word cloud (generated at wordle.net) of their responses.
I know that most of my students' responses link to stereotypes based on where they live (country and region in country).  As we study this unit, a remote road for most of my suburban kids, I hope that they are able to understand how agriculture encompasses so much more than the farms of "middle America".  This could be fun!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Pho - nomenal" on my blog Explorer? YES! Glutton? NO!

I've started another blog focused on food and cultural based culinary arts.  Here's a recent entry:

"Pho - nomenal" on my blog Explorer? YES! Glutton? NO!: A cultural delight has developed in the heart of one of Oklahoma City's historic neighborhoods.  Beginning in the 1970s and continuing int...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Indonesia Continues ...

In 2009, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Seoul, South Korea for a symposium between American and Korean teachers.  I've stayed in touch with many of the American teachers I met and about a year ago I encouraged each of them to apply for the 2012-2013 cylce of Teacher for Global Classrooms.  Two of them were accepted!! And of those, one has been assigned to go to Indonesia.

What has made this extra special for me is that Julie (my Seoul Sista' heading to Indonesia) invited me to participate within a Facebook group specifically designed for her TGC cohort.  The other members know that I'm not going with them, but have been very eager to ask questions ... some that I can answer and others that I just don't know, LOL.

I feel so honored to be "going through this process again" but from a different perspective.  So, while doing something familiar (prepping for an adventure to Indonesia) I'm also roaming another remote road (prepping to help OTHERS enjoy the Indonesia adventure rather than myself).  I'm just as excited about following their travel blogs as I was for the other country cohorts within my own larger team.

TGC Indonesia 2012-2013 ... I'm with you all in heart and spirit! (and if you want to smuggle me in a suitcase, I'm game for that too, HAHA).

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year: Resolutions or Mission Statements?

A few nights ago I was at a dinner party (for my 36 birthday) when a discussion of New Year's Resolutions came up.  Our hostess commented that she had her husband had opted to create a New Year's Mission Statement rather than resolutions.

I am highly intrigued by this idea!  A mission statement is a statement of purpose, an over arching goal, and/or a guide for decision making.  Rather than making a few trite "pledges" what about giving our lives an over arching mission or purpose and then making conscious choices of behavior to fulfill that mission.

This sort of reminds me of the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement in the 1990s which was, interestingly, based on a book (In His Steps) written @100 years before.  I think much of the 1990s movement ended up being more about people wanting to look cool by wearing a little WWJD bracelet rather than legitimately seeking to create and live by an actual mission statement.

The school were I teach also has a mission statement:

Southmoore High School, in partnership with parents and community, is dedicated to developing a tradition of excellence by providing support, time, and resources necessary to grow an exception academic and extracurricular curricular program that empowers all students to realize their unique potential and emerge as lifelong learners who are responsible members of society.
While I think this is a great statement of purpose, I wonder if it's length makes it too unrealistic for every staff member in our building to consciously think of this "mission" when making decisions pertaining to lesson plans, discipline policies, reading lists, technology usage, athletic team lineups, community outreach programs, etc., etc., etc.  Since the opening of our school in 2008 and the creation of this mission statement have developed a motto which seems to provide an easier to remember overarching purpose: "CATS: Creating Avenues to Success".

Prior to the party, I had not yet developed a "resolution" and now I find myself desiring a "mission statement" for the year.  I'm just not sure what it should be.  Should it be something broad enough to try and encompass all aspects of my life or should I have one more smaller scale that focuses on social relationships or professional/career activities?  Do you have any suggestions?  What would be your mission statement for 2013 if you were to create one?

I'll try to settle on a mission statement within a few days and then I'll return to post it.  No matter which direction my mission goes, no matter how broad or how specific, I'm sure it will continue to enable to me explore the unknown and/or unfamiliar as I further endeavor to roam the roads of lands remote.