FACS With Academic Appeal

globe lamps 

With the busy Thanksgiving week looming ahead, I think I’ll wrap up this week’s #SaveFACS blog posts today.  I’m guessing that your schedule is as packed as mine is, so you probably don’t have a lot of time to read these posts right now anyway. 

If you haven’t taken a few minutes to check out the Classroom Keeping board on our Pinterest page, I suggest that you do that.  I think you’ll be inspired by the pins you’ll find there.  In my search for ideas for Classroom Keeping, I found the hanging lamps pictured above made from old classroom globes.  What a totally FACS-fashionable way to add a globe to your classroom, don’t you think?  Love it!!

Today’s #SaveFACS suggestion for adding FACS appeal to your classroom is to create a reading retreat in your classroom.  As more and more schools are mandating stronger common core connections from FACS, FACS literacy is one of the most obvious places to begin strengthening those connections.  You’ll find several older posts on this blog outlining how to make reading an integral part of your FACS program.

Bean bag chair

The Reader’s Retreat
Creating a Reading Nook with Student Appeal

As teachers, we know that reading is a very important part of learning!  However, with all of the entertainment alternatives available to kids, reading is often not their first choice for fun and relaxation.  In order to making time spent reading as appealing as possible, it’s important to provide an appealing setting for curling up with a good book.  Creating a reader’s retreat in an area of your classroom can help students to develop a positive attitude toward reading.  That positive attitude is very important as you introduce reading into your FACS curriculum.

Planning and designing your Reader’s Retreat can be a fun and educational activity for you and your students to do together. 

•    Students in an interior design course might design and construct a rack or shelves for organizing and displaying your classroom library.  They might also work in groups to design the entire reader’s retreat as an exercise in room layout and decoration.

•    Students in textiles and apparel classes might design and sew floor cushions, bean bag chairs, window treatments and other soft furnishings that will make the reader’s retreat comfortable and visually appealing.

•    The FACS department or FCCLA might sponsor a design contest to solicit students’ input for a theme for the room.  Brainstorm ideas for making the area visually appealing and inspirational.

•    Take a field trip to a resale shop to search out affordable pieces of furniture that can be repurposed to furnish the reader’s retreat.

•    Make a class project out of designing and creating original lamps for your reader’s retreat.  Creating a lamp from everyday objects is fun, easy, inexpensive and will prepare students to make their own simple home repairs.

The possibilities for creating a reader’s retreat that your student will find enticing are limited only to your imagination and creativity.  Have fun with it and encourage your students to have fun with it, too.  If students take ownership of the project, they are more likely to take advantage of the space and read, read, read!

Your Reader’s Retreat will need the following basic components:

•    A designated area set apart for the purpose of encouraging students to view reading as a pleasurable activity.

•    Furnishings that will allow you to display and organize books and other reading materials.

•    Comfortable and attractive seating that will invite students to settle in for and enjoyable reading session.  A comfy rug can also be used as seating in your Reader’s Retreat.

•    Adequate lighting that will make reading easy and pleasant.

•    Decorative accessories chosen to reflect student ownership of the Reader’s Retreat.

You’ll find lots of ideas for incorporating reading into your FACS curriculum in these two original Fresh FACS resources. 

cluster of fall leaves Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my passion for FACS with all of you!

FACS Appeal

I though I’d wrap up the week by sharing a few more thoughts on the impact an organized, attractive FACS classroom can have on the image of your FACS program.  I want to begin by assuring readers that I am not suggesting that your FACS classroom should be a sterile environment completely devoid of personality.  I absolutely believe that the FACS classroom should be a welcoming and inviting learning environment.  It is critical, however, that learning tools like the ones pictured above should be given as prominent a place in the classroom decor as craft projects and personal photos. 

Maybe it’s because I began my college career as a Social Studies and American History major, but I believe that every FACS classroom should have a globe displayed in a prominent location.  There’s no easier way to make a cross-curricular connection than by pointing out the location of a country on the globe that links to the topic of your FACS lesson.  When teaching culinary arts, point out the country of origin for ethnic foods.  Remind students of the location of Paris and other design capitals when discussing fashion design.  You’ll be surprised just how often the FACS curriculum lends itself to geographical references, once you begin to intentionally emphasize those connections.

Your classroom should also be equipped with measuring devices for use in recipe preparation, clothing construction, nutrition activities, interior design and all other areas of FACS.  One of the most common complaints that I here from teachers, employers and parents is that kids can’t measure accurately.  Teaching students to use basic measuring equipment and emphasizing accuracy can be one of the most important skills students take away from FACS.  For example, a sturdy plastic ruler was standard equipment in each foods lab units was standard equipment when I taught food preparation and culinary arts.  If the dough in a recipe was to be rolled out to a specific dimension or thickness, I expected students to use the ruler to determine when that measurement was reached.  No guesswork!

Creating and giving students access to a complete library of FACS reference materials is also very important.  Even though we all rely heavily on the Internet as a source of easy access to information, equipping the FACS classroom with reference books such as Webster’s New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts and Fashion 101 is important.  Access to reference materials gives students experience using reliable information sources while also demonstrating that your classroom is a place where learning is taken seriously.  I could write an entire post on the topic of the FACS classroom reference library and will if any of you are interested.

I’ve created a Pinterest board called Classroom Keeping where you’ll find some cool ideas for improving the organization, layout and decor of your FACS classroom.  I invite you to share your own clever ideas for the FACS classroom on the Classroom Keeping board.  Remember that your classroom is a very important part of the image of FACS that you project to your students, your administration and your community.  I encourage you to make a conscious effort to put your best FACS forward and create an attractive learning environment for you and your students.

Have a great weekend!

Breaking Good News!

We’ll get back to the topic of updating the FACS classroom tomorrow.  This news is too good to wait!  Read and share please!

National Survey Results Support “Bringing Back Home Ec”

Robinson Secondary School Students

(L to R): Eriq Ibar, Jesus Vializ, Jorge Fuentes, and Alan Duran,
family and consumer sciences students at Robinson Secondary School,
Fairfax, Va., prepare a Tuscan vegetable soup with kale.

Alexandria, Va – November 20, 2013 – Results of the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2014 survey lend more support to "bringing back home economics," a national discussion that was kicked off last month by a Good Morning America segment and articles in the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. Job Outlook 2014 shows that the skills taught in family and consumer sciences (home economics) secondary classes are among those most valued by employers.

According to the Job Outlook 2014 survey, participants rated "ability to work in a team structure," "ability to make decisions and solve problems," "ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work," and "ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization" as the most important candidate skills/qualities. These skills, highly valued by employers, are among the essential life and career skills taught in family and consumer sciences. More survey information is available at www.naceweb.org/s10022013/job-outlook-skills-quality.aspx.

Family and consumer sciences classes provide students the opportunity to explore and prepare for a variety of careers, including culinary, education, early childhood, fashion design and merchandising, tourism and hospitality, consumer studies, and many human services-related careers. Students learn a number of essential skills, such as promoting nutrition and wellness; becoming responsible citizens and leaders; managing resources and finances; balancing personal and work lives; and thinking critically and creatively to address problems. Read this fact sheet to learn more about family and consumer sciences classes.

Data from another national survey, which will soon be published in the Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, demonstrate the reach that family and consumer sciences classes have nationwide. Carol Werhan, PhD, family and consumer sciences associate professor at Pittsburg State University, Kansas, compiled data from 2010 through 2012. Dr. Werhan found that all states offer family and consumer sciences secondary (6th – 12th grade) courses and nearly one-fifth (more than 3 million) of all U.S. secondary students had taken a family and consumer sciences course.

The proportion of male to female students in middle schools was evenly divided by gender, and the ratio of male to female students at the high school level was 35% to 65%, respectively. With a high percentage of dual-career families, more adults living alone, and a significant rise in the number of single fathers, the findings on gender ratios in family and consumer sciences classes reflect the increased need for both males and females to learn essential life skills.

"Now that more people are aware of and experiencing health, personal finance, and employment challenges in this country, they are recognizing the positive impact that family and consumer sciences classes have had and could have on the next generation," said Carolyn W. Jackson, CFCS, AAFCS executive director. "It’s not too late to make it a priority to teach all of our students the essential skills they need to be successful in work and life."

About the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS)
Based in the Washington, D.C., area, AAFCS is the only association for family and consumer sciences students and professionals across multiple practice settings and content areas. For more than 100 years, AAFCS has focused its mission on providing leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families, and communities in making more informed decisions about their well-being, relationships, and resources to achieve optimal quality of life. AAFCS members provide research-based knowledge about the topics of everyday life to help create healthy and sustainable families. These topics include human development, personal and family finance, housing and interior design, food science, nutrition and wellness, textiles and apparel, and consumer issues. AAFCS members are located nationwide, and include educators, administrators and managers, human service and business professionals, researchers, community volunteers, and consultants who develop research-based information and deliver programs on essential skills to help individuals and families be better prepared to live, work, and succeed in today’s complex and diverse world.
About the Field of Family & Consumer Sciences
Family and consumer sciences draws from broad and diverse disciplines to develop and provide content and programs that help individuals become more effective critical thinkers and problem solvers.  Through discovery and delivery of research-based knowledge, family and consumer scientists help individuals and families develop essential skills to successfully live and work in a complex world. These professionals are uniquely qualified to address many critical issues affecting individuals and families, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, wisely managing personal and family finances, and creating supportive relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers.  They are located nationwide in a variety of practice settings, including secondary schools, universities, government agencies, and businesses.
For more information, please contact:
Gwynn Mason
AAFCS Director of Communications
gmason@aafcs.org
703-706-4613
Source: The Center for Education Reform. (2010). K-12 Facts. Retrieved from http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/