20 ways to take the convention and expo back home

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Imagine it is Monday morning after the National FFA Convention & Expo. You’ve got a stack of papers to grade, bags of goodies from the expo, and a principal who is asking you how you plan to integrate the previous week’s experiences into your instruction so that all students benefit from your time there. After all, you claimed it was about students experiencing premier leadership, personal growth, and career success and those students you didn’t take are worthy of that as well.

So, now is the time to plan. It is time to tactically map out how to make the National FFA Convention & Expo a meaningful and educational experience for all students. Christine White, the director of the education division at the National FFA Organization shared that, “Too many times, we take our students to conventions and conferences and just assume that they are walking away with the skills being taught. However, we should view this as an opportunity for us to make sure we are purposefully and strategically helping students realize the skills they have developed and continue to reinforce the learning long after the end of the event.”

Here are 20 great ways to intentionally plan the integration of teaching and learning from the convention and expo into your classroom when you return home:

  1. Bring the convention and expo sessions into the classroom. www.iHigh.com/ffa will live stream all the sessions so your substitute can let the students at home watch. The sessions will also be archived to use upon your return.
  2. Catch the rebroadcasts on RFD-TV if live streaming doesn’t work at your school. Check the RFD-TV website for air times.
  3. Take a stack of the National FFA Convention Exhibit and Expo Guide home as a great resource for identifying and exploring ag careers. The guide is also online at FFA Nation.
  4. Charge attending members with securing leadership workshop presenters’ outlines so they can recreate the workshop for chapter members who didn’t get to come.
  5. The convention and expo guidebook has writing prompts for all the convention and expo sessions. Use them for reflection and writing practice after they watch a session on iHigh.
  6. Video your career success tours to play in class for all students (be sure to get permission from your tour leader).
  7. Use the finals hall archived video, found on www.iHigh.com/ffa, for class demonstrations.
  8. Collect business cards from expo vendors, have students classify the companies by the 8 career pathways then look up the companies on line to get their job recruitment materials.
  9. Create a leadership reflection journal for all students to record thoughts and insights as they view the convention and expo session speakers while there and back at school.
  10. Take pictures of agriscience fair projects to use as examples to spur ideas at home.
  11. Create math problems that require students to figure out:
    1. Volunteer to participant ratios for various CDE events.
    2. Space required to conduct a leadership event with sitting room for spectators.
    3. The amount of money that is generated by convention and expo participants while in attendance.
    4. The cost of conducting a favorite CDE based on a bill of materials required from the event handbook.
    5. The amount of time it takes their chapter representatives to reach Indy at a set rate of speed. Don’t forget to figure in bathroom and eating breaks, sightseeing adventures or ag tours that may be possible along the way.
    6. The total cost of all the souvenirs their chapter representatives purchased on the trip.
    7. Create a budget for a week at convention and expo based on the amount they would have received from their parent/chapter to attend the convention and expo.
  12. Appoint attendees with creating a chapter convention and expo highlights video to showcase learning opportunities to share with all students, parents, administrators, etc.
  13. Assign attendees with creating a blog of the group’s activities for the week.
  14. Collect “Somos FFA, We Are FFA” celebration materials to create a celebration at the local level.
  15. Video interview CDE participants, proficiency finalists, American FFA degree recipients, VIP recipients, etc. Ask them to explain what participation has meant for them, steps they took to get to the national event, how participation has influenced their career choice. (Of course, you’ll need to get permission from the participant’s teacher or parent when videoing minors.)
  16. Have students create a National FFA Center video so students at home can experience the traditions and see the exhibits.
  17. Volunteer at the FFA Rally to Fight Hunger, secure contact information for Kids Against Hunger, and organize a meal packaging event at home.
  18. Have your students keep an index card in their FFA jacket. During each session, have them capture one or two leadership ideas, interesting points or facts. During your evening meeting or check-in time, have students share the items they captured during that day. Have them prepare an index card each day, collect them, and use them to create materials upon returning home for sharing the trip with students, administrators, alumni and community supporters.
  19. Prior to leaving for the convention and expo, teach all students dining etiquette. Work with the FCS program to conduct a dining experience where all students get to practice and then schedule a meal at an appropriate restaurant in Indianapolis.
  20. Develop a scavenger hunt for the expo. Have students speak to a certain number of vendors to obtain information about their companies. Upon returning, have them share what they learned with their ag classmates.