In all the years that I have been visiting schools this was a first – Drive Your Tractor to School Day that I have experienced. In central Ohio one doesn’t have to drive very far away from Columbus to end up in farmland and Teays Valley High in Ashville Ohio – (20 minutes south of Columbus) certainly qualifies as a Farmville. The real deal that is – not that annoying Facebook game.
So how does Future Farmers of America and creative writing mix? Surprisingly well. Of course the whole student body didn’t show up to school in coveralls knit caps and work boots on Friday via the cabin of a giant enclosed combine-like farm implement. The place had a healthy mix of your alternative kids, athletes and scholars along with some pretty dedicated teachers. (What doesn’t show dedication more than staying after school for a professional development session?)
Thanks to school librarian Lisa Campbell I was invited down for two days – heck I was so excited to work with these guys I came down a day early much to my and Lisa’s surprise. That was another first in my school visit career – I had never mixed up dates and shown up day early before – luckily I had the time to spare and cooled my heels catching up on correspondence and other work back at my hotel.
When I came back on my scheduled days the kids and I worked on memoir, vocabulary, figurative language, and public speaking skills. This visit type was one of my favorites where we did different stuff with almost each session. I like this type of day. It gives the teachers a variety of ideas and it keeps me on my toes switching gears. Kinda like those tractors I saw leaving the parking lot after school on Friday – puffs of black diesel popping from their smokestacks as their drivers headed home for the weekend.
Thanks to all who helped make my visit possible and to the students who worked so hard.