Saturday, November 6, 2010

"COWS!" . . . My Adventures with Small Children

During my teaching career, I spent my time in high schools and junior highs. There was only one single day that I worked as an elementary teacher while subbing, and that was enough to convince me that my teaching certification needed to be for the upper grades! Thus it was with some tredepidation that I agreed to speak at Darbydale Elementary School last week. Luckily, my good friend the Hay Farmer agreed to join me, so I knew it would be an adventure!

Darbydale Elementary spent several days involved in activities around a theme of the "county fair". To end the week, the classes engaged in learning experiences that were also fun: in gym class they had a "tractor pull" activity, someone from ODNR brought wild animals for the students to see, a farmer drove a combine & tractor for the kids to climb on, there were goats & horses & rabbits to represent livestock, and an author brought his book about a chicken to read to the classes. In addition, the Hay Farmer & I were on "exhibit" as real, live farmers! We had a fantastic time! The classes ranged in age from 1st through 4th grade, and we spent fifteen minutes with each class.

The Hay Farmer & I both wondered what we would talk about for fifteen whole minutes, but the time flew by rapidly! We opened by spending a few minutes describing our individual farms to each class, then we took questions from the students. The older kids, of course, asked more in-depth questions. The younger students tended to raise their hand and then tell a story. The Hay Farmer claimed the kids were trying to win my favor since many offered statements such as "I like goats!" and "My uncle has a goat!" My favorite young man, however, was the one who raised his hand, and with a serious face proclaimed, "COWS!" That was it . . . just the one word!

So it turns out that I do quite enjoy elementary students when I get to tell them about my favorite thing: farming! I have to applaud the school administration for initiating these activities to educate the students through unique experiences and I was very impressed with the manner in which the teachers managed their individual classrooms. We left each student with a sticker that read, "I Met a Farmer Today!", and I hope we also left them with a better understanding of farming. And a love of goats!

Photo Caption: Amaretto the Goat hopes that the school children remember the Goatherd and support farms!

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