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CTE IN THE NEWS: Cooks and Camo in Bartlett, Illinois

Students enrolled in upper-level culinary classes at Bartlett High School participated in Cooks and Camo, a competition-style event sponsored by the Illinois Army National Guard. Competitors were challenged to create an entree and dessert items inspired by military field rations, known as meals ready to eat (MRE).

“The students did a great job turning MREs in to unique (and tastier) meal creations,” said Kari Laga, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Bartlett High School, in Bartlett, Illinois.

Do you have news?

CTE IN THE NEWS is a new regular column on PAGES, a Techniques blog. Here is where we highlight the buzz about career and technical education. If you have something (program news, event news, award news or a note of appreciation) to share, we want to hear about it. Fill out the form and you might be featured next.

Teaching Strategies: Certification Test Prep

For career and technical education (CTE) teachers, spring brings with it a focus on certification test preparation. This can be a daunting task. Consider how a teacher might approach supporting student review sessions. You might hear a teacher announce, “You have 45 minutes to study today. Use this time now to review your notes quietly.”

Is it effective? On the surface, it seems to be a good use of time. Students need to perform well. Time is needed for review. However… Students’ attention spans begin to slip around the 15 minute mark (Medina, 2014). Rather than becoming frustrated when students struggle with quiet review, get creative.

Here is an approach you can take: Structure meaningful test prep lessons in which students talk through questions and concepts and, as a result, engage in deeper thinking. Use the following strategies together to help students identify their knowledge gaps.

Socratic Circle

In a traditional Socratic circle, students are seated in a circle without the teacher. They are challenged with open-ended questions or hypothetical scenarios, and instructed to discuss. This exercise helps students to talk through scenarios and situations — to explore possibilities and think deeply — without constant acknowledgement from a teacher.

Early childhood education students were given the following instructions, “We have studied eight leading theorists this year. Discuss each person’s contribution to understanding and rank them by importance to preschool development.”

Students then learn to collaborate and struggle through awkward moments. According to Tony Wagner (2015), agility and adaptability are as important as collaboration and critical thinking for success in 21st century workplace. Engaging in conversation that is challenging, open for exploration but also outcome-based, will push students to construct deeper meaning for themselves.

Forced Agreement

When you want students to arrive at one correct answer, use the forced agreement strategy alongside your Socratic circle. Design this session to follow a think-pair-share lesson. Students are accountable to think on their own, and then they must “pair” together, with forced agreement, to “share” a single correct answer. With the full class group, expand on and discuss those areas where students disagreed.

Because our session was deliberately designed as test prep, students were given three difficult questions to answer. Students were instructed to answer individually and then deliberate together. When the table agreed to one response, and had a strong defense for that response, they signaled the instructor with a thumb in the air.

While each table of students collaborated, the instructor facilitated. More importantly, the instructor listened and checked for understanding, identifying which students grappled with difficult concepts.

The Strategy in Action

How long will it take?

20–30 minutes, depending on the number of students present

What’s the gist?

When your goal is to prime students for deeper retention of key concepts and theories, arrange students in a circle. Students engage in discussion about the question or scenario given. Students use constructive criticism to make judgments and come to sensible conclusions together. The teacher serves as only a facilitator. The goal is for the teacher to never intervene in the dialogue.

Add the forced agreement piece when you are moving toward a specific desired answer. This is a great tool to engage students in modeling and reflection.

Structuring Success for Your Students

Educators must be cognizant of how many students struggle with study and test prep skills. Given that certification testing covers a vast array of standards, terms, concepts and processes, structuring powerful study sessions is crucial.

By doing so, teachers avoid the habituation of routine studying and help students deepen their own understanding by engaging in continual productive talk themselves. Further, by focusing on strategies that are metacognitive in nature, students can identify the areas in which they are still weak.

Sandra Adams is a teacher and instructional coach with the Career Academy, Fort Wayne Community Schools. She co-wrote the ACTE-supported book But I’m NOT a Reading Teacher!: Literacy Strategies for Career and Technical Educators with Gwendolyn Leininger. Contact her to learn how you can implement theses certification test prep and other innovative teaching strategies in your CTE classroom.

REFERENCES
Medina, J. (2014). Brain rules: 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school (2nd ed.). Seattle, WA: Pear Press
Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap: Why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need — and what we can do about it. New York, NY: Basic Books.

CTE IN THE NEWS: Kokomo Area Career Center & Bona Vista Host Sock Hop & Roll

Attendees danced and had fun at the Sock Hop and Roll.On Dec. 14, 2018, Bona Vista and Kokomo Area Career Center, in Kokomo, Indiana, hosted the Sock Hop & Roll. The event was designed by Keegan Paul, a career center student and Bona Vista intern, to offer “adults with disabilities a fun night of dancing, snacking and socializing.” The event was a success! Success that is due, at least in part, to collaboration among career and technical educators — and with business and community partners.

Shelley Rust gets a big hug.“My Kokomo Area Career Center students learn to work together with people from all walks of life. These experiences will serve our culinary arts students well in any situation,” said Shelley Rust, culinary arts instructor and past president of Indiana ACTE. “Watching my students interact with the Bona Vista students fills my heart with joy.”

Culinary arts students prepare food for the event.The event offered a unique opportunity for career and technical education students to gain real-world experience and have some fun, too. Culinary arts students developed recipes and conducted tastings with Bona Vista Bistro clients to create the menu. Students in the Kokomo Area Career Center’s cosmetology program styled hair and makeup for the guests, while media marketing students played paparazzi. Those enrolled in the certified nursing assistant program volunteered to provide aid to attendees as needed.

For Keegan Paul, the Sock Hop & Roll was especially memorable. He told the Kokomo Perspective what it meant to him: “He said he’s never forgotten how much fun he had at [a sock hop], and by planning one, he hoped to create lasting memories for others.”

This story originally appeared in the Kokomo Perspective in December 2018.

Do you have news?

CTE IN THE NEWS is a new regular column on PAGES, a Techniques blog. Here is where we highlight the buzz about career and technical education. If you have something exceptional (or exceptionally cool) to share about your program, school, school district or organization, send it to techniques@acteonline.org. You might be featured next!

CTSOs Engage Students: FCCLA, Featuring Stephanie Zhang

Stephanie Zhang found an outlet for her drive and creativity with FCCLA. She joined a welcoming community and learned to focus her passion for design and leadership skills to pursue a future in fashion arts. As an officer she guided her peers to help them find their own passion for success. Through family and consumer sciences, and FCCLA, Zhang gained real-world skills and experience while still in high school.

Recently, Zhang earned an exclusive internship through Fashion Institute of Technology with the Swedish Fashion Council, including two Swedish fashion brands and a fashion technology company, Neue Technology. Her goal was to research and construct prototypes, to investigate the practicality of wearable tech for everyday use. READ MORE

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

FCCLA, Featuring Stephanie Zhang. Read Techniques February 2019 issue, page 32, to learn more.

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today.

CTSOs Engage Students: Educators Rising to the Challenge

The issue of teacher shortage and retention is an urgent concern today. Research shows that high classroom turnover has a negative impact on student achievement. Educators Rising works to address this problem by offering resources that integrate with CTE at the high school level.

Washington High School, in Phoenix, Arizona, is seeing sustained success through Educators Rising. Daniel Darrow, the teacher leading the program, says his students have blossomed. They graduate as “well-spoken young adults prepared to face the challenges of the teaching profession.” WHS has offered the WHS Education Professionals for 16 years with support from Educators Rising, formerly Future Educators of America, over the past eight. Workshops, competitions and other professional development events provide real-world experience for students exploring careers in education. READ MORE

Educators Rising

Educators Rising to the Challenge: Read Techniques February 2019 issue, page 30, to learn more.

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today.

CTSOs Engage Students: DECA Brings the Classroom to Life

DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges.

The DECA chapter at Irondale Senior High School earned international champion honors at the 2018 International Career Development Conference. Their project, Knight Grounds: Coffee for Success, launched a coffee shop at the school’s newly redesigned media center. The coffee shop enhanced students’ experience in the media center. It also gave DECA members
hands-on experience managing and marketing a real entrepreneurial enterprise.READ MORE

DECA

DECA Brings the Classroom to Life. Read Techniques February 2019 issue, page 29, to learn more.

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today. And be sure to come back to PAGES each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through February, when we’ll feature a new CTSO.

CTSOs Engage Students: FBLA-PBL Students Compete Among the Best

Every summer the best and brightest FBLA-PBL members convene at the National Leadership Conference to compete in business-related competitions and chart their future career paths.

In June 2017, Kearah Kraus, Alyssa Kreg and Christina Masnyy, a team of FBLA students representing Fife High School in Tacoma, Washington, took first place in the Introduction to Business Presentation competition. This competitive event recognizes members that demonstrate the ability to deliver an effective business presentation with the aid of technology. READ MORE

Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today. And be sure to come back to PAGES each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through February, when we’ll feature a new CTSO.

CTSOs Engage Students: SkillsUSA Students Practice Personal, Workplace and Technical Skills

Career-ready starts here.

SkillsUSA’s bold mission is to empower its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens, while improving the quality of our nation’s workforce. Members put the mission into action as they carry out chapter activities and practice personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics.

SkillsUSA’s Chapter Excellence Program fosters the development of these skills by benchmarking chapter programming and providing recognition. This year’s top three winners came from Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona. READ MORE

SkillsUSA

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today. And be sure to come back to PAGES each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through February, when we’ll feature a new CTSO.

CTSOs Engage Students: Business Professionals of America, Servant Leadership, Service Learning & Inspiring Agents of Change

Leadership is about service.

Robert Greenleaf taught us that good leaders must first become good servants. We are given opportunities every day to extend our hand. With more than 45,000 members across the country, Business Professionals of America (BPA) is committed to developing and empowering rising student leaders to discover their passion and change the world.

Many people know BPA as a CTSO focused on business, marketing, finance and IT. There is also a strong leadership development component that puts an emphasis on service to others. READ MORE

Business Professionals of America

To learn more about how CTSOs engage students in CTE, ACTE members can read the February 2019 issue of Techniques online today. And be sure to come back to PAGES each Monday, Wednesday and Friday through February, when we’ll feature a new CTSO.

Teaching Strategy: The Carousel

“I wish all students would participate in the discussion.”

If that sounds familiar, you might want to try this strategy.

The ability to engage students with hands-on learning activities has long been a strong advantage for career and technical educators. However, the excitement that students experience in the lab often does not follow into classroom learning. When an instructor announces, “Let’s head back to the classroom.,” the response is an audible groan from students. Their bodies slump. The students find lab activities more engaging than classroom instruction.

To fix this problem, leverage lab attributes that create engagement to design classroom lesson plans. Consider how:

  • Labs allow every student to be actively engaged (equity)
  • Labs allow for students to openly discuss ideas as needed
  • Labs allow for freedom of movement
  • The teacher serves the role of facilitator
  • There is a de-emphasis on grades (learning for the sake of learning)

Equity, Engagement and Productive Talk

Emphasize the power of speaking and listening between students — what is known as productive talk. Productive talk is speaking that leads to learning. It happens during conversations in which students do most of the talking, while teachers guide them to listen to each other, explain their thinking, question and challenge each other’s ideas, and revise their own opinions based on input from others.

Productive Talk Improves Literacy

When people participate actively in conversation, their brains sync, mirroring and anticipating the neural activity of the others in the conversation (Stephens, Silbert and Hasson, 2010). Engaging in conversation as we learn, rather than simply listening to new information, helps make this neural activity more likely. As we learn, our brains forge and strengthen new pathways through which information can travel.

The Strategy in Action

How long will it take?

20-30 minutes, depending upon how long you want to debrief students.

When should I use the Carousel teaching strategy?

As a pre-assessment or a review game of a broad, multifaceted topic. When you need to get everyone involved, instead of hearing from the same few students each time.

What’s the gist?

An extended, active version of Think-Pair-Share, the Carousel gets everyone moving around the room to write and discuss various topics.

How It Works

  1. Post 4–5 large sheets of paper around the room, with plenty of space between them. On each paper, write a different question or statement that can elicit a broad range of responses.
  2. Divide your students into 4–5 teams, and give each team a different colored marker. Each group begins at one of the posted questions.
  3. Set a timer for two minutes (or another amount of time). Instruct students as follows: “When I say go, you will have two minutes as a group to write as many intelligent points as you can on your board. When I call time, every group will take their marker and rotate to the left, just like a carousel.”
  4. When groups rotate, instruct students to read through what the other group(s) wrote. If a student or group disagrees with something written previously, they are encouraged to draw a line through the statement and respond. After that, students begin to post their own additional thoughts.
  5. Continue rotating until all groups have responded to every question. Then facilitate a class discussion. All it takes to get great conversation going is a couple of lines drawn through comments of another color.

Students encouraged to respond and defend their own words are more invested than if they were just listening to the arguments of others. By responding first in a group with short, written statements, students feel safe to critique and defend their own ideas and are more likely to discuss their ideas aloud afterward.

Example Prompts from an Automotive Classroom

  1. List everything you can think of that relates to Geometry (This is to connect to prior knowledge and emphasize the role of geometry involved with upcoming content on suspension and brake systems.)
  2. List everything you can connect to the concept: alignment.
  3. List every detail you know about wheel bearings. (This serves as an excellent pre-assessment tool, to gauge student knowledge on this topic.)
  4. How many ways can we connect tires to brakes? (This serves to launch the new learning and gives the instructor time to use what students already have told him to lead the discussion.)

Final Thoughts

Productive talk will flourish when your classroom culture promotes learning for its own sake. Decades of research, from 1933 onward, have made it clear that grades are often problematic (Kohn, 2011). Reliance on grades reduces students’ interest in the material, the quality of their thinking, and their intrinsic drive to take intellectual risks (Kohn, 2011). Risk-averse learners “downshift” their brains into a kind of survival mode, looking for the right answer instead of seeking understanding.

People do better creative work and engage more readily in learning when they know that what they’re doing is relevant beyond a quantitative assessment. When we use external rewards to motivate others, we may unintentionally undermine their intrinsic motivation (Pink, 2011) and risk extinguishing their love of learning. Especially in career pathways work, it is important for students to internalize and embrace the intrinsic value of the learning that could become their lives’ work. A class discussion will be more dynamic and productive when students, freed from a preoccupation with their own achievement, can take interest in the topic itself.

Sandra Adams is a teacher and instructional coach with the Career Academy, Fort Wayne Community Schools. She co-wrote the ACTE-supported book But I’m NOT a Reading Teacher!: Literacy Strategies for Career and Technical Educators with Gwendolyn Leininger. Contact her to learn how you can implement the Carousel and other innovative teaching strategies in your CTE classroom.

For more from Adams, find her at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION next week where she will be on site to sign her book, But I’m NOT a Reading Teacher! Adams will also deliver two educational program sessions: “The Technology Integrated CTE Classroom: Embedding 7 Future Survival Skills” on Friday, Nov. 30 and “Creating Equitable Access to IT Courses” on Saturday, Dec. 1 during the STEM is CTE Symposium.

REFERENCES
Kohn, A. (2011). The case against grades. Retrieved from http://alfiekohn.org/article/case-grades/.
Pink, D.H. (2011). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
Stephens, G.J., Silber, L.J. & Hasson, U. (2010). Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pcm/articles/PMC2922522/.