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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom


Featured Teachers - August

Sharon Banks, 3rd Grade Teacher

Michelle Spurgin
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.
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.
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.
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.
What impact has AITC had on your classroom?
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.
How do your students respond 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!