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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom


Featured Teacher - December

Shannon Brackeen, Broadmoore Elementary in Moore

How did you first learn about the Ag in the Classroom Program?
Shannon: Before Cheri Long became a state coordinator for AITC, she taught at Broadmoore and introduced our staff to Ag in the Classroom. I have incorporated the AITC lessons into my curriculum for more than 10 years now.
What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
Photo Shannon: The last five years, I have had the opportunity to attend OEIP (Oklahoma Educators and Industry Partnership program) in the summer, and I've chosen to attend AITC sessions there. This year, I am a recipient of the Oklahoma Pork Council Grant, so I am super excited to have funds for my students to explore many of the AITC lessons that involve cooking. Due to the grant funds, we will have a learning unit about "The Foods We Eat." Students will research and learn about food they already eat, try some new foods, and learn how to prepare foods using basic kitchen skills. My school has an Edible Learning Lab (Indoor Garden), where students grow and learn about plants and the food we eat and the lab is open to all teachers and students in the district for use. This year, I am using Ag in the Classroom lesson plans for a unit of learning focused on cooking and kitchen skills.
What advice do you have for other teachers on implementing AITC lessons?
Shannon: If you are new to Ag in the Classroom, the website might seem overwhelming because there is so much great information on the site. Pick one thing you are interested in teaching and use AITC resources to teach it. Then expand from there. Don't feel like you have to do everything! Just pick one thing and start!
What impact has AITC had on your classroom?
Shannon: Ag in the Classroom has totally changed what I do with students. The entire curriculum for my third and fourth grade SEARCH (gifted and talented) students is based on the AITC lessons. The lessons are hands on, experiential learning. I am teaching my students where their food comes from. Most of them do not have these experiences at home.
How do your students respond to the AITC lessons?
Shannon: My students are excited to move around, get their hands dirty, and participate in real-world learning. Students are amazed they can plant something and really eat it. This year we will have a salad party with the different vegetables the students have been growing.