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September 28, 2015

Announcements and Deadlines

Effective immediately all official WSU email communication must be sent to students’ WSU email address.


Awards and Achievements

Craig Morris presented an invited talk “From Farm to Fork: Redesigning Durum Wheat” at the 12th International Gluten Biotechnology Workshop in Perth, Australia on September 14.



Soil Science Seminars
Johnson Hall 204, 1:10 p.m.

September 28 – Annie Pollard
“Harnessing the Beneficial Attributes of Soil Microbes for Improved Crop Performance”

October 12 – Nate Stacey
“Compost Use on Golf Course Fairways”


Crop Science Seminars
Johnson Hall 204, 2:30 p.m.

Fall 2015 Student Choice Seminar
September 28 – Jeremy Bunch, Shepherd’s Grain
“Through New Eyes: Shepherd’s Grain and a Fresh Look at Ag Economics and Sustainable Agriculture”

October 5 – Ragupati Nagarajan
“Rubisco Activase: A Potential Target for Crop Improvement”

October 12 – Kanwardeep Singh
“Understanding Mechanism and Evolution of Chromosome Pairing Control in Wheat”


Fall 2015 Tidal Leadership Symposium
Lessons from the Wild Side: Learning to Lead from the Center
October 2, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Ensminger Pavilion


Graduate Grant Writing Workshop
October 3, 9:00-5:00


CAHNRS Career & Internship Networking Night
October 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Ensminger Pavilion
CAHNRS Networking


2015 Campbell Lecture
October 6 –
Dr. Zed Rengel, Winthrop Professor, University of Western Australia
“Exploring the World of Roots”
Johnson Hall Annex C107, 4:10-5:00 p.m.


Agriculture, Food and Society Discussions
“After Hours”
Cafe Moro, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
October 8 – How do we feed all these people?


Plant Growth Facility Grand Opening
October 17, 10:00 a.m.


Transitioning Cereal Systems to Adept to Climate Change
November 13-14
Minneapolis, MN


For more events, please see the Wheat and Small Grains website calendar.



Teaching Tips from Candis Carraway

Determine Lesson Objectives

Lesson planning seems to be a task that involves a lot of stress and anxiety for new teaching faculty. The first element in lesson planning is to determine the objectives of a lesson. Planning a lesson without setting objectives could be compared to building a house without deciding on a set of blueprints. You could get the house built, but it would probably not be as efficient as if you actually used a set of blueprints. Determining lesson objectives gives you focus for the lesson and a way to evaluate student learning. Objectives should be stated in one sentence or statement. Many teachers like to begin the objective with, “After this lesson, the student will be able to:” Using this statement can be useful for beginning teachers but is not absolutely necessary to use when stating/showing your objectives to the class. The next step is to decide on an action verb that will identify how the students will be assessed. Bloom’s Taxonomy Chart provides a list of learning related verbs divided into six levels of thinking. Following the verb you will identify the content that will be taught. For example:
At the completion of this lesson, the student will be able to:
• Identify the parts of a flower
• Describe the steps of photosynthesis
• Construct a model of a soil profile
There is not a magic number of objectives you should have, it depends on your topic and what your student outcomes are. Typically, the more basic skills (first two categories on Bloom’s Taxonomy chart) will not take as much time to teach as objectives that involve higher-order thinking skills (last four categories on Bloom’s Taxonomy chart.) By determining your objectives at the beginning of the lesson planning process you are giving yourself a blueprint for your lesson which will hopefully help you save time and teach more effectively. You should also refer back to these objectives when you are making your tests or other means of summative assessments. If your objective was to have students identify parts of flower that is what they should do for their test, not draw and label the parts of a flower. Label and identify are essentially the same thing but drawing would involve an additional objective. If you want them to draw the plant you should add another objective (example: create a drawing of a plant that shows all the plant parts.)

Rubrics are Your Friends

Rubrics are your friends for two reasons:

  1. Providing the students with a rubric provides them with your expectations which usually leads to them asking less questions about the assignment.
  2. It gives you (or your TA) a guideline for grading subjective assignments. This helps you be more consistent in your grading and provides you with something to refer to when a student questions your grading.

There are a lot of resources on the internet related to rubrics. Blackboard also has tools for creating rubrics and a tutorial. Just go to the Blackboard Help and search for rubrics.

Here are a few suggestions that I have.

  1. Rubrics should be as detailed as possible. This will take you more time to develop but will save you time when grading. For example let’s say that you have assigned the students to write a report and you want to add grammar and spelling as a part of the grade. Instead of just saying grammar and spelling is worth 4 points, provide a description of what earns 4 points, 3 points, etc… (See the rubrics below)
  2. Include a section for each element of the assignment that you expect from the students. Point values should be placed on each section based on its importance to you. If you believe that the “Product Development Requirements” section is more important than “Grammar and Spelling” then award more points to that section.
  3. Leave room on your rubric to make notes as you are grading. This will assist you in assigning a point value and give the students some feedback.

To see rubric examples, click here.

Engaging Students Through “Think, Pair Share”

Engaging students in the classroom is essential in the learning process. The next several “Teaching Tips” I will share strategies for engaging students. These tactics will vary from “high tech.” to “no tech.” We will start with an approach that requires no technology and works in classes of all sizes. It is called “Think, Pair, Share.” If you have a hard time getting students to participate in class discussions try this strategy. Pose the question or topic that you want to discuss and have the students first “think” about it. You may even ask them to write down some notes about the topic or question. Next, have them “pair” up with a neighbor. If they are sitting at tables you may have the whole table “pair” into one group. In their pairs they should discuss what they thought about. Give them time to share and discuss differences. During this time you should walk around and monitor the groups. This allows you to redirect groups that are off task and to identify groups that you would like to share with the entire class. Finally, have them “share” with the class. In a large class you may only have a few groups share but in a smaller class you may ask every group to share. This strategy gives everyone a chance to engage in the topic. During the first two stages you should give students time limits and keep them informed of how much time they have remaining. The time will depend on the topic you are discussing.


If you have an item you would like in the CSS News, please email Samantha Crow or Tami Nordquist.