Between the Rows

Take it from a Teacher – Abbey Spaulding

How and when did you first learn about the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom Program (AITC)?  I learned about Ag in the Classroom approximately 15 years ago through the Ag Pen Pal Program.
What is your favorite Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program/resource/event and why?   Every year I have participated in the Ag Pen Pal Program which has been such a great experience for my students and myself. Each year we write to a farmer or rancher and it’s always such an enriching experience to learn more about rural life on the farm or ranch! 
Another memorable experience was attending the National Agriculture in the Classroom (NAITC) conference in Little Rock, AK because I was able to attend several classes that were useful in teaching about agriculture and inspiring as well as going on tours of a community garden/hen house and visiting a bee and tree farm tour where I learned so many new things!  
Describe an agriculture-based project you have led in your classroom. After seeing a Hydroponic tower displayed at the NAITC conference a few years ago, I wrote a grant through Lincoln Public Schools Foundation and received the Kirby Science Enhancement Fund to purchase a tower for Fredstrom Elementary School! I have this in my class to teach students sustainability and growing our own food, and I also shared this tower with our science specialist so that she can teach lessons to all students K-5 at Fredstrom. We are planning for an Agriculture Club as soon as we can hold after-school clubs again!  
What advice would you give other teachers to use agriculture in their classroom?   I would highly recommend participating in the Ag Pen Pal Program so that you can give your students a first-hand experience through letters, pictures, and emails with a Nebraska farmer or rancher who loves to share about rural life and what they do.

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