Monday, July 30, 2012

Updating FACS Curriculum in Boulder Valley School District

Updating FACS Curriculum in Boulder Valley School District- Julie Olsen

A couple years ago when Colorado FACS was rewriting their course standards, I was excited that the classes that I taught would soon be updated and made more relevant. Little did I know at the time that those new state standards would not just trickle down to my district. We (elected FACS teachers) would have to integrate and rewrite the previous BVSD curriculum and fit in the state standards into the new district format known as Curriculum Essential Documents. While not always an exciting task, writing new curriculum for courses taught can offer value and insightful learning experiences for the teacher. First, we developed a new course overview for every class taught that everyone including parents could understand. Second, we developed new specific vocabulary and topics to be covered in addition to state standards and outcomes. Last, curriculum maps were added in each document to bridge gaps of how each course connects with reading, writing, and math skills. Overall, writing CED's have been a valuable experience as a educator and for providing better curriculum to

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2011 National Leadership Conference

The 2011 National FCCLA Leadership Conference was held in Anaheim, California July 8 - 14. This was my second national conference as either a student or adviser. Malissa Sloan and I took 12 students to the conference and had a magical time! We arrived two days before the opening session to experience the magic of Disneyland and California Adventure. Our plane landed at 10:30 am, we got to the hotel by 11 am and was at Disneyland by noon. Just forewarning, if you go to Disney with Malissa be prepared to walk and see more of the park then you ever thought possible. We stayed at Disney until close on Friday and Saturday and had a great time.

This year I served as the event lead for the Culinary Arts STAR Event. Typically this event is held in a commercial kitchen, but we had to do the event in a hotel ball room without running water or proper refrigeration. Challenging was the theme of the event. The students and judges were a little shaken by this change in situation but managed to complete the event nicely. The only issue that we had were the tasting judges grading extremely tough and teams had to be given extra points to make a different medal ranking that all bronze. I learned that Colorado Food Event is leaps and bounds more organized then the national level.

At the opening and closing sessions, the national officer team built a skit around Saturday Night Live Skit format. The skits were cute and clever in the way it showed how FCCLA has evolved as an organization to meet the needs of the times without losing its focus on the family. The session was a little long for my liking but I enjoyed that SLHS was honored at the Runner Up chapter in the Career Connection National Program.

I attended Track 1 of the Adviser Academy Program, sponsored by the National Consultant Team. I felt that this track was the exact same type of training that the new adviser program was last year because it did the exact same activities and focused on teaching about FCCLA. I have to complete all five tracks to graduate from this program and am optimistic about learning more about being an effective adviser from the other tracks.  I would recommend this academy for new advisers that are looking to expand their adviser skills and knowledge of FCCLA.

Overall, we had a great time at the National Leadership Conference. Please watch this video to see the amazing time we had I learned a lot about being and adviser and came home with many teaching resources. This conference is a great way to strengthen your skills as an adviser and a great way for students to develop as leaders. I hope to go again next year!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

State Conference 2012

This spring I had a wonderful time taking two junior girls to state conference. They were very enthusiastic and excited for their STAR Event Competition in Life Event Planning. I was nervous for them because they were adamant on planning a wedding for their event, but they ended up doing very well. They were called back for run-offs. I am proud of the work they did.
Again, I volunteered to be the Advocacy Event Chair. This is always a very educational experience and helps advisors to learn the ins and outs of different events. I think I am ready to Chair a different event next year. I enjoy chatting with students from all over the state as they come and go through the hallway. I always learn a lot from them.

Once we returned back to school, it is motivating for other students to see finished projects with awards and certificates. It is a good thing when juniors, sophomores, and freshmen attend because then they are really pumped up for the following year. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. State conference is always impressive for students and for me as an advisor.

National FCCLA 2011

I attended the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, CA from July 9-14, 2011 with one of my students and one of our state officers.  I was so pleased that I had two students who qualified for Nationals, and that one of them followed through and attended the conference.  I was honored to chaperone one of our state officers since her chapter and advisor were unable to travel to Nationals this year.  It was such a whirl-wind gathering the paper work and money to be able to go, but now that I have done it once, hopefully future travel with be a bit easier.  I did have one student who was going to attend the conference, and then a week before we were leaving, she backed down.  I was thoroughly disappointed, and never did get her to pay back the difference that she still owed.  The learning here for me was no matter what the circumstance, students must pay a non-refundable deposit in addition to fundraising.  This was my first time attending a National FCCLA conference and it was eye-opening, motivating, and exciting to be a part of it.

The opening general session was professional yet engaging.  I was so impressed with the work that the National Officer Team put in to making this a true “show.”  Everything ran smoothly.  The keynote speaker, Chef Jeff, was extremely motivating.  His stories were about perseverance and reaching your full potential.  I also attended workshops such as: Leadership Bootcamp, Integrating the Planning Process in the Classroom, and the Advisors Recognition Session.  I received some good ideas to take back and use in the classroom.  It was neat to hear Michael Benjamin address the advisors.  He talked said that FACS teachers do not teach basic skills, we teach essential skills, and that the essence of FACS education in to create healthy and sustainable families.  The keynote during the Advisors Recognition session was Cheryl Cran.  Closing Session was a little long for my liking, but I did get some good ideas to share with my chapter.           

I was a room consultant for the Illustrated Talk event and was impressed with most of the projects.  There were a couple that were a little bit shocking that they made it to Nationals.  I enjoyed sitting in the actual room with the judges because then I was able to hear the presentations not just see the portfolios.  In the future I will definitely volunteer to be a room consultant again.  

The students and advisors I was able to connect with over the week was definitely an opportunity for growth and learning.  This conference was worthwhile, and I was so happy to be able to share in this experience with the two students I brought.  I learned a lot about being an advisor and traveling out of state with teenagers.  I was impressed with the professionalism and caliber of the students who attend this conference.  This was a great way to strengthen my skills as a teacher and advisor and a great way for students to develop as leaders. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What I learner as a Mentor

 Last August I was contacted by the Boulder Valley teacher induction program coordinator. He asked me if I was interested in mentoring not one but two new BVSD Family and Consumer Science teachers. My first thought was a if I would have time to give so many hours while being 3 months away from having my first child. After some discussion on the terms and flexibly of working with these new FACS teachers, I realized I wanted to help. I also wanted to help the "future" of BVSD FACS programs. The time management component would work itself out. After all, us FACS teachers know all about muti-tasking!

Shortly after taking my new roll as a mentor, I thought about my intention (besides the required components). I knew that after teaching for 6 years myself, being a new FACS and new to a district can
be a lot to wrap your head around. I really wanted to help educate, inform, and excite these new teachers about CTE, FACS, and BVSD. There were many sessions where I met with the two ladies from other BVSD High Schools to go over everything from district policy, CTE State accountability, and best classroom practices. Before, during, and after my maternity leave I worked to hopefully make the new teacher's first year a bit smoother.

It wasn't until near the end of of my mentor experience that I realized that I got more that I could have imagined from the program. I believe it's easy to get into a routine over the years with our teaching patterns. Once we develop our lesson plans, it's east to use them over and over again. Through working with these new teachers, I found a new spark for trying newer lessons, looking at teaching in different styles, and basically thinking outside of the box. I now believe that while I taught a thing or two to my mentors, perhaps I was the one who really learned a lot!

I urge your to always have a motivator to keep you fresh and hungry as a teacher. Sometimes it takes an unexpected experience but, through making an intention in the beginning of the school year, we are most likely to receive something by the end of the school year!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interior Design 101 Workshop

Here are some great resources that teachers learned about during the Interior Design workshop.  Do you have other?  Write a comment below to add to our list!