Nebraska Teachers Focus on Agriculture at National Conference
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation hosted two Nebraska elementary teachers at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, June 19-21 in Little Rock, Ark.
More than 400 educators from around the country came together to learn how to use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and more. The teachers participated in workshops and tours of agricultural operations that highlighted how agriculture can be used effectively in formal classroom instruction.
Carolyn Dolezal, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Lincoln, and Abbey Spaulding, a second-grade teacher at Fredstrom Elementary School in Lincoln, were awarded the all-expense paid trip to the conference by winning the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s 2019 Teachers of the Year designation for incorporating agriculture into their classrooms through innovative ideas and lessons.
“I was so impressed and inspired by talking to educators from all over the U.S. who integrate agriculture into their daily schedules and curriculum! In this day and age, with all the assessments and testing we do with our students, it is still important to integrate agriculture into what students are learning,” said Spaulding. “Agriculture can be taught in math, science, social studies, and many other areas of the curriculum! Agriculture is what Nebraska is built upon, and we need to continue educating our students to pass on that legacy.”
During the tours of nearby agribusinesses and research facilities, the teachers learned about beef, poultry, and rice production; worldwide hunger, and other agricultural issues. A keynote address by Temple Grandin, renowned animal behaviorist and autism spokesperson, was a conference highlight.
“Temple Grandin brought a unique perspective sharing the value of practical experience in the classroom,” said Courtney Schaardt, director of outreach education. “She received a huge round of applause when she shared the importance of introducing students to agriculture at an early age so they can find it as an opportunity in life.”
The conference also provided the teachers with ideas and resources on how to use agriculture to teach core subjects in their classrooms.
Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, says supporting teachers is a smart investment. “We are thrilled to partner with teachers who recognize the benefits of incorporating agriculture into their classrooms. The impact of attending this conference will multiply as they share the knowledge and resources gained with their students and fellow teachers,” she said.