First ever Craft Maple and Beer Festival satisfies Jefferson, Ohio’s sweet tooth

Honored to be a part of this inaugural festival held right here in Jefferson, Ohio. Very enjoyable!

Northeast Ohio craft brewery news

The inaugural celebration and competition drew craft breweries from across the country, along with maple producers offering a range of innovative maple products. 

 

JEFFERSON, Ohio  Craft maple beer and bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup—what could be sweeter? The inaugural Craft Maple Festival, Oct. 20 to 21, brought together the craft maple community for a celebration and competition. Customers ate up specialty maple products that use maple syrup as a base, some aged in bourbon or whiskey barrels, others incorporating spices and other fresh ingredients. 

Not to mention, guests got to sample a full menu of maple craft beers, getting 16 tickets for 3-ounce pours. Beer-drinkers rallied for their favorites, and breweries from around the country were represented. “We had a lot of great beer at the Craft Maple and Beer festival,” said Rob Titt

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Big Changes Coming to Mustard Seed Training!

tl;dr:

Hello, loyal friends! It’s been 10 years since I started Farrell Ink! Wow!

In the past decade, I have encountered thousands of adult education students and teachers working hard to advance their career and educational goals. I saw administrators, teachers, and students become advocates for themselves to improve HSE exams, career prep curricula, and adult education programs.

Reading Out Loud

As a teacher myself, I enjoyed researching solutions to some of our stickiest educational issues, and sharing them on this blog! This website has been the core of my digital presence for the past decade, so I plan to leave my existing posts as a reference for adult learners and educators.

However, my new business, Mustard Seed Training, is going in a different direction and I need to switch web platforms to accommodate.

All posts will stay up, but by next year, this site will revert to a basic, free WordPress blog.

In addition to my career in adult literacy, for the past 10 years I have also been volunteering as a catechist, i.e. teaching religious education. It started with formation in a Montessori-based method called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). This method teaches adults how listen to God with children.

So… what is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS)?

Catechesis = Latin for “the process of forming disciples of Christ”

CGS was developed in Italy by Sofia Cavaletti and Gianna Gobbi over many years of teaching and observing children. It is based on the Montessori method with a multi-level classroom environment called the “Atrium.” Cavaletti and Gobbi identified key scripture verses, prayers, and elements of worship that connect with children’s spirituality at various developmental stages, and then created hands-on materials that allow children to “work” at their own pace.

Though it all started in an Italian, Roman Catholic setting 50 years ago, the method has been translated to languages and cultures around the world. It has also been adapted to various Christian denominations, as it highlights the key elements of faith that we share even though some of our practices are different.

My favorite part is the way the Montessori method in general emphasizes empathy and social-emotional learning, which builds a strong moral foundation for life.

I hope you see why I love it so much!

Mustard Seed Training formed two years ago to serve fellow CGS catechists and turn a ministry into a career. However, it has taken me this long to figure out: What does that look like, specifically?

At a formation this past summer, the National Association for CGS shared two big needs of fellow catechists: crafting custom wooden materials, and adult faith formation.

What are the materials needed for CGS?

Um, it varies… based on the catechist and location.

CGS is not like other curricula. It’s not a kit you can buy in a store or implement by reading a teacher’s guide.

It requires physical work and mental decisions on the part of the catechist about what objects are most essential and available in their context. It is intentionally this way, to force adults to develop themselves and their space in preparation for encountering the child.

The method is also extremely adaptable to various budget and size restrictions. You can put together a DIY program with found objects and donations, or you can buy individual sets for hundreds of dollars. Even with the cost of buying materials, over the long term this approach actually saves money over the annual textbook or app subscription costs.

Let’s take, for example, the Good Shepherd parable which young children find so attractive. Here is one version of the Good Shepherd materials:

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The children love when the shepherd finds the lost sheep and carries it home on his shoulders, rejoicing. Children will repeat this activity over and over again with great focus and joy. As they deepen their abstract thinking, they are able to enter in to some of the more challenging questions posed by the parable:

  • Who is the Good Shepherd?
  • Why did the sheep get lost?
  • Could this parable be talking about me?

The method involves dozens of such standardized activities for children ranging from 3-12 years old. Many catechists are continuing experimentation and observation with 0-3 year olds and 12-18 year olds. My long-term goal is to extend this into standardized materials for adults, particularly those new to a parish community (called RCIA or “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults”).

When I moved from Cleveland to Jefferson, Ohio, I helped my new parish get started with this method for 3-6 year olds. During the process, I got to use some of my woodworking skills (thank you, shop class!) to create materials we needed. Thinking I would save time, I also ordered some materials online, and experienced long wait lists from the few woodworkers who serve this growing national market.

Being in process of creating materials for my own local program, I realized that I am fortunate enough to already have the tools and skills to serve other catechists who need materials. So basically, I’m going to become a carpenter!

Where can you find me?

I’ll be building my new online blog/shop at MustSeed.org (currently redirects here)

Please join my “Catechists’ Corner” Facebook group or follow my Facebook page.

I’ll start off by recommending high quality materials that can be used for CGS and are readily available on Amazon. For example, you can find beeswax candles for a model altar, lovely writing paper for prayer cards, or a shepherd reacting to an angel by Fontanini.

In addition to recommending materials, I plan to make wooden sets as well. In the level 1 curriculum for 3-6 year olds, there are 24 standardized, unique-to-CGS wooden sets that you won’t find at WalMart or Amazon. The demand for CGS materials is only growing, and I am eager to pray over materials as I build them. It would be a blessing to turn my ministry into a career.

So what’s next?

Over the next few months, I plan to figure out sources for wood, create templates, develop a process for manufacturing and shipping, and build up some initial inventory. I’m also doing market research on which custom CGS materials are in highest demand. If you have an opinion on which materials YOU need, please let me know! I’m happy to take requests.

Thank you!! I greatly value your friendship, interest, and support for advancing adult education, and hope many of you will be interested in staying connected through this transition.

2018 100 Book Challenge Update

Where are you in your 2018 Book Challenge? Join me on GoodReads to track your progress.

To support Henderson Memorial Public Library, I signed up this year for the ICON 100 Book Challenge. Yikes! Posting reviews on YouTube Live kept getting shut down midstream, so GoodReads is the place to follow along.

While nearing the halfway mark, and want to highlight some of my favorites so far (in no particular order):

Thrawn & Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

If you’ve memorized the original Star Wars movie trilogy, Timothy Zahn’s work is extremely satisfying. He is adept at maintaining a wide range of delightful characters’ voices, while keeping a fast-paced plot moving and tightly focused. Just like with Darth Vader, Thrawn is written as the villain you love to hate: terrifyingly skilled, yet somehow still has a human (Chiss?) heart underneath it all, buried very deep. The juxtaposition of Thrawn with other beloved Star Wars characters such as Padme Amidala and Grand Moff Tarkin is brilliantly written.

I think in some ways, Thrawn is an autobiographical portrait of the author in terms of his ability to outthink everyone around them in ways that are awe-inspiring, instead of condescending. These newest additions to the bookshelves will have even more Star Wars geeks screaming to see Thrawn on the screen.

At one point, a stormtrooper reflects on Grand Admiral Thrawn’s leadership style: “If he lasted long enough, maybe those lessons would someday become the military standard. If that happened, he suspected, the Empire would stand forever.”

The Star Wars Empire, anyway.

Child in the Church, edited by E.M. Standing

This collection of essays documents the early experiments in applying Montessori’s educational methods to catechesis (religious education). The ideas are practical, refreshing, and inspiring. If you’ve participated in formation for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and want to go deeper, I highly recommend this book.

The Story of Job, retold by Regina Doman, illustrated by Ben Hatke

The best commentary on Job & the problem of evil I’ve ever encountered, in a format understandable even by elementary-age children. Read it.

Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Part storytelling, part sociological analysis, Malcolm Gladwell’s arguments are worth reading all the way to the end, even if you come to differing conclusions. If I were forced to recommend just one chapter, I would make “Seven Seconds in the Bronx” required reading. This is one of those books that might actually save lives.

Children Who Are Not Yet Peaceful by Donna Bryant Goertz

Montessori children come with the same personalities, challenges, delays, and absurdities as other humans. This book confirms it.

Whether you’re in a Montessori environment or not, this book contains a series of valuable vignettes about developing an inclusive community among children. I have to warn potential readers, though, that the book turns into an argument for Montessori method first and only. If you can tolerate the constant digs against non-Montessori educators, the beautiful descriptions and creative solutions are well worth the read.

Next Week in Cleveland: XPRIZE & CLE-BEE

Adult literacy providers and supporters in the Cleveland area have two exciting opportunities next week to network and learn:

$1 Million Adult Literacy XPRIZE Communities Competition Info Session

Want to revolutionze adult literacy by testing out the newest, research-based adult literacy mobile apps? Willing to compete for a chance at $1 million by motivating the most adult learners to utilize mobile learning? Register for free lunch and more information at 1pm on September 12th at Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch.

XPRIZE representative Haneen Khalef will also be hosting information sessions in Columbus on September 10th and in Akron on September 14th.

Not in Ohio? Find out more about the Communities Competition here.

One Night Only: 3rd Annual CLE-BEE

Many years ago, Christine Lee trained me as a volunteer adult literacy tutor, opening my eyes to the depth of the issue and inspiring my future career path.

More recently, Christine continues to inspire awareness and involvement with the crazy, fun idea to host a corporate spelling bee fundraiser to benefit adult literacy.

The whole team at The Literacy Cooperative of Greater Cleveland has worked to make this fun idea a reality. On September 13th, CLE-BEE will celebrate its 3rd year with high energy, local celebrities… and of course some good food and drink.

Individual tickets are $30.

Hope to see you there!

How I Celebrate St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick came to know God during his years as a shepherd on the Irish hills, later to return and forgive those who enslaved him. Patrick wrote many letters denouncing slavery, and promoting peace among warring clans.

Today, the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh is called the Primate of All Ireland (cool, no?). The cathedral in Armagh is built on the stones of a church laid in 445 by St Patrick himself. Rev Dr Robin Eames held the seat in St Patrick’s Cathedral

during The Troubles in the 80s & 90s when every priest on either side of the border and conflict was burying innocent people, along with some not-so-innocents.

One day, Eames encountered a house fire surrounded by an angry mob with a Roman Catholic girl trapped. Due to his position, he was able to carry her through the loyalist crowd to safety. Many years later, he was hospitalized. One of the nurses said, “Do you remember me? You saved my life. Thank you.” Due to her position, she was able to carry him back to health.

Eames’ tenure saw a great deal of controversy, but he was adamant about one thing: no victory flags.

Parades, protests, and rallies only sow further division. As recently as 2006, when 3 boys were burned in their beds, he responded: “In the name of God, please leave the hill at Drumcree. You’ve made your points.”

Studying that period, particularly areas where true social change was achieved in a period of unrest, I have taken this to heart:

the way to peacefully resolve conflict is through prayer, relationship, and diligent research. Heated dialogue, years of study, sure. But be aggressive about uncovering Truth, not defeating people.

This is how we pass along the torch of our noble Irish and Christian heritage: by celebrating those who uphold the dignity of the human person, and strive for integrity in the life of faith.

Teaching 3.0: Technology in the Adult Education Classroom

New tech tools are released every day to enhance education. What are some best practices and easiest-to-use applications?

Are you in the Greater Cleveland area? Bring Your Own Device to join me on Friday, February 16th for a FREE workshop hosted by The Literacy Cooperative. Register ASAP to attend (limit 30 participants). Bring your own device to this workshop and add some new solutions to your toolbelt.

Not in the Greater Cleveland area? Sign up for the online version of the workshop and follow along LIVE from home or work, anywhere with an internet connection.

Both in person and online, our focus will be on interactive technology: tools that can improve communication and build relationships. In particular, we will play with creating online courses, polls, short instructional videos, and live quizzes. Meanwhile, we will learn about transactional distance, formative assessment, zone of proximal development, and blended learning… in a fun environment of exploration.

Register for the pre-sale NOW for 50% off. This sale only lasts until the workshop starts at 9:00am EST on Friday, February 16th.

2018 Book Challenge #2: The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

New book review available! I’ve enjoyed KK.com for a while, and finally finished this longer work on the verbs that HUMANS will be doing in our new digital age. I’m having a little trouble with YouTube Live, so there’s a delay in posting, but I have a third book review video hopefully processing now on Little Book of Conflict Transformation by John Paul Lederach. I’m also in the process of reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, and Laudato Si by Pope Francis.

Please support this read-a-thon by subscribing to the YouTube playlist and sending a donation to Henderson Library Association, 54 E Jefferson St, Jefferson, OH 44047.

2018 100 Book Challenge: Video Reviews!

As you know, I love books, and I love serving my community, which leads to a natural love of my local public library. So this year, I’ll be joining Henderson Memorial Public Library’s 100 Book Challenge…with a twist.

I’m going to vlog my book reviews on YouTube live, at the pace of 2 books per week. This read-a-thon is also to raise funds for Henderson Memorial Public Library Association: a small town library with a big furnace problem.

Check out my first edition, and subscribe to see them all:

Let me know: What are your quick reading suggestions for 2018?

Cyber Monday Deal: 40% off Keys to the 3 HSE Tests

Are in Ohio or another state moving to three High School Equivalency tests? Get a jump on the new content with this exclusive one-day offer:

40% off the online course “3 Keys to the HSE Tests.”

Use the coupon code: CYBER.

Learn about key differences between the tests, consider how they will impact your adult education classroom, and ask your questions or comment to share with other online participants.

This training is also available as a facilitated webinar, but space is limited. Contact Meagen at 216.973.4977 or learn@mustseed.org to reserve your spot for 2018.

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