Ag. Literacy Newsletter
In This Issue
167 Books Donated for National Ag Week!!
The Sangamon-Menard Agriculture Education Partnership was awarded a $500 White-Reinhardt Grant from the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. We used this grant to donate books to every public library, school library, and select individual teacher libraries for National Ag Week 2013, which was March 17-24, 2013. In total, 167 books were placed in these locations throughout Sangamon and Menard Counties.
The book, Who Grew My Soup? by Tom Darbyshire, describes how a picky eater goes on an adventure to find out where his soup came from and who grew the ingredients. Along with the book, the teachers and librarians received activity plan booklets to use in their classrooms to aid in teaching lessons about agriculture.
Deliveries of the books, to the 72 separate locations, were made possible by the generous help of the Menard County Farm Bureau Manager, Renee Deuth; Sangamon County Assistant Farm Bureau Manager, Ashley Etherton-Beutke; Sangamon County Secretary, Arika Mason; and the Sangamon County Women's Committee Members - Toni Krone, Julie Morrison, Christina Lauwerens, and Gretchen Cromwell
January - March Programs & Books
The most interesting thing that I think kids learned about pigs, as I started off programs this year (talking about one of my favorite animals), is that they cannot sweat. Thus forcing them to cool themselves in mud if not kept inside a building where the temperature can be regulated. I read the students the book, Pigs by Gail Gibbons, which is full of great facts and written in such a way that keeps kids interested in pigs, the most misunderstood of farm animals. After our lesson we also made paper plate pigs as our craft activity, which the students earned by correctly answering questions taken from the reading.
I have been using the book, Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert, for several years to show the steps it takes to care for a sheep throughout a year and how to transform their wool into something usable. It is a short and sweet book that really gets to the main points of wool removal and processing. After our lesson the students received real samples of wool to try to make into yarn and then to finally make into their own "sheep".
In March, I moved on to the "spring" lessons and turned to wheat as my topic. Students received stalks of wheat to dissect, learning the parts of the plant as they went, as well as having a wonderful time trying to find as many seeds as they could. We ground those wheat seeds into flour and then talked about all the foods we eat that are made from wheat. The book, Bread Comes to Life by George Levenson, does a really nice job tying all of those ideas together, showing the process (on a small scale) of planting, harvesting, threshing, grinding, and then baking.
April - School Programs on Soybeans all month
April 22 - Earth Day
May- School Programs on Beef Cattle all month
May 6-10 - Sangamon County Farm Bureau Agventure Barn Tour
May 14-16 - Menard County 4th Grade Fun with Agriculture Programs
May 21 - Statewide Ag in the Classroom Meeting, Bloomington, IL
June 6,7,10,& 11 - Mason, Menard, Logan, and Sangamon Summer Ag Institute
June 19-23 - Sangamon County Fair
June 25-29 - National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, Minneapolis, MN
July 18-19 - Mason, Menard, Logan, and Sangamon Summer Ag Institute 2
74 Classes Hatch Chicks!!!
The cooperative effort between the Sangamon-Menard Ag Ed Partnership and the University of Illinois Extension was successful in getting incubators out to 74 classes in Sangamon and Menard Counties this spring. The first hatch was a huge success and the second hatch starts the second week in April. Kids learn a huge amount of information about the hatching process throughout the 21 days that the eggs are incubating and then have fun seeing the results of their efforts the week they get to spend with their hatched chicks.
Well like usual Spring is here and I have no idea where the first three months of the year have gone!!! I guess time flies when you are having fun. The start of the year has been a busy and exciting one. Busy seeing students and doing programing and exciting because Kyle and I found out that we are expecting a second child, due in September 2013. I can't say I did as good a job of planning #2's arrival as I did with Lydia because a September baby is going to be crazy during harvest. But with the look of the wet spring this year, maybe it will all work out!!!
These last couple of months I have also been busy exploring grants that could change the structure of SMAEP and help add more "man power" to the program, help in the form of part-time employees to aid in classroom program delivery!!! Something that would be a big help with the backlog of 35 teachers who tried to get programming this year and were unable to fit into my clogged schedule. Hopefully by next newsletter I will have further updates for you on that prospective change and some introductions of new part-time ag literacy teachers!!
My thanks for all of your continued dedication to our program and your generous support!!!