From a university professor singing to the music of Will Smith about food-born illnesses to presentations on NASAs involvement with agriculture, the Ag in the Classroom conference held Oct. 21-23 provided elementary and junior high school teachers with enough resources to teach a semesters worth of lessons.

The AITC conference goal is to provide educators with agricultural resources and know-how for easily incorporating agricultural examples into everyday classroom teaching.

Strathmore teacher David Johnson who helped Strathmore Elementary School receive a $500 garden grant from the Tulare County Farm Bureau and Dana Shuman a teacher at Lincoln Elementary which is currently renovating its school garden, attended the three-day conference. They learned how to create purposeful connections between agriculture and all subject areas through a variety of workshops. This included an exploration of free lesson plans that teach the story of food issues, hunger and malnutrition in America and around the world; Space Ag in the Classroom, which provided national science standards and web resources that integrate space and agriculture into curriculum; the three sisters garden, a presentation on the three sisters -- squash, beans and corn -- which are grouped because of their complementing nature when interplanted; and School Energy Efficiency programs among others.

The make-n-take sessions provided teachers with actual lessons that produced an end product for students to take home. Teachers crowded into tables where floral arrangements, beeswax candles, and water-cycles-in-a-jar were being made. Teachers could also sit at tables that provided information on grant writing for school gardens and learn about the major pollutants affecting air quality. Participants also learned about agriculture and its importance in the classroom from guest speakers like A.G. Kawamura, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary, and Gavin Payne the Chief Deputy Superintendent for the California Department of Education.

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