Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

Featured Teachers Q&A

August, 2018

Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom (OAITC) has many outstanding teachers using OAITC lessons in their classrooms. We are pleased and proud to spotlight some of them monthly.

Michelle Spurgin and Sharon Banks, Duncan

Q&A With Michelle Spurgin, 1st Grade Teacher

Q1- How did you first learn about the Ag in the Classroom Program?

Michelle- Five years ago, I received an email about a summer road trip in the Poteau area. It sounded interesting, and it was FREE, so I signed up!

Q2- How long have you been using the AITC lessons in your classroom?

Michelle- After visiting a cattle ranch and picking blueberries on the trip, I was hooked! I have been using the lessons ever since.

Q3- What is your favorite AITC event and why?

Michelle- The summer conferences are the best! You can attend sessions taught by veteran AITC teachers. Plus, there are agricultural related vendors that you can meet. I have gained so much knowledge about lessons and activities that I never knew existed. Many resources are shared by other teachers and if I didn't attend the conference, I might not know about them.

Q4- What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing AITC lessons?

Michelle- I started out slowly by focusing on farm animals. Look at garage sales and thrift stores to pick up agriculture related items to build your lessons. Also, don't forget to search the internet for free resources as well. There are a lot of lessons and information to teach, so start slowly.

Q5- What impact has AITC had on your classroom?

Michelle- Ag in the Classroom has provided me with many hands-on, project based learning opportunities and materials for my students. I have found so many resources that I never knew about, before the summer trip.

Q6- How do your students respond to the AITC lessons?

Michelle- The lessons are good conversation starters for them, both at school and home. My students are able to go home and talk to their parents about what they have learned. They love the hands on activities and are often shocked to learn where their food and clothing come from.

 

 

 

Q&A With Sharon Banks, 3rd Grade Teacher

Q1- How did you first learn about the Ag in the Classroom Program?

Sharon- I learned about AITC about 5 years ago from an email that my colleague, Michelle Spurgin, received about a summer bus tour through eastern Oklahoma. We decided to go together. I really enjoyed learning about the agriculture in Oklahoma. I didn't know we grew blueberries here, but I got to pick my own during that trip! We toured an alpaca farm, too, which was another first for me. That bus tour began my interest in Oklahoma agriculture.

Q2- How long have you been using the AITC lessons in your classroom?

Sharon- I have been using the AITC lessons since that bus tour, 5 years ago. So many of the lessons fit into my curriculum with ease, since I teach OK History. The tour allowed me to learn more about the geography and history of Oklahoma which has been very beneficial since I am a third grade teacher who teaches Oklahoma history, but I am not a native Oklahoman.

Q3- What is your favorite AITC event and why?

Sharon- I think my favorite event is the one day summer conference. In one day, all for FREE, you get to socialize with other teachers, get training and resources, AND get fed a great meal!! I learn so much from the conferences and I can take it back to my classroom and start using it immediately.

Q4- What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing AITC lessons?

Sharon- Look for where the Ag in the Classroom lessons already fit into your curriculum and let them enhance it with the engaging activities. The AITC staff will help you find what you need and will point you in the right direction, to get you started.

Q5- What impact has AITC had on your teaching?

Sharon- AITC has given me added resources that supplement my curriculum. I have been able to learn so much more about Oklahoma history, as well as its agriculture, through AITC lessons, conferences, and trips. Using the resources, helps me have lessons that are interactive, hands-on and interesting to my students.

Q6- How do your students repond to the AITC lessons?

Sharon- My students really enjoy the hands-on learning that is involved in the AITC lessons. They like to be able to "do" things, instead of just read about them. The activities give the students a view of how Oklahoma farmers impact their lives every day. That is very impactful for students!

   

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Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom is a program of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.