Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Classroom Theme . . . Ag in the Classroom!

This will be my fourth year teaching and the past three years I have not done a theme.  For those of you not familiar, a theme is when a teacher decorates their classroom using mainly (or only) things that incorporate 1 thing.  For example, a frog theme could have frog dye cuts in different colors for the groups, frog borders, frog books, frog material for the curtains, cute froggy names like 'Hopping into Reading,' and that sort of thing.  Get it?  Great!

So, this year I want to do a theme.  But, I don't want to do a meaningless theme that is just something to look at.  I want to do a theme that my kids will actually learn something from.  I want to do a theme that I love and am passionate about.  I want my theme to be . . . agriculture! 

Great idea, right? 

It sounds MUCH easier that it is turning out to be.  I LOVE google - LOVE it!  It has never let me down but I cannot find very many ideas (by very many I mean I have found 1 or 2).  It is not google's fault - teachers just don't use an agriculture theme.  They use a farm theme or a barnyard theme or a western theme, but not an agriculture theme. 

Ideas I have for next year:
- I have a wall in the hall that I want to display the student's writing on - it will be called "Our Bumper Crop" and will have brown or green paper with a boarder I have not found yet.

This is what it will look like - a rough idea.
I don't like the brown alone or the green alone, so I thing I will do brown with green rows (like a row crop).
- I want to read the Flat Stanley books and use this idea to sent Stanley to different farmers across the state and country.  I think I want to focus on the state and we can use a map to pin point the farms Stanley has visited.  I just need to get some farmers to agree to do this for me! 
- I will also incorporate recycling near the end of the school year (probably around Earth Day).
- I am familar with Ag in the Classroom and will be using some of their lessons as a starting point.  (and I plan on going to their conference)

Here are my musts for the classroom next year.
- The theme must include the aspects of agriculture (food, farming, forestry, flowers, and fabric).
- I want to include a 'Math focus wall' - an area where I can put up words we are learning in Math.
- I need to have a focus wall for Language Arts.

Some important things to know:
- I teach first grade (6 years old).
- My classroom is tiny (I just moved to a bigger room but it is still tiny).
- Our school is almost all (99%) students who are learning English as their second language AND do not typically speak English at home.
- I have a complete Language Arts program (new this year) and Math program that I have to follow - which leaves me very little time to do anything extra.
- My Writing program allows me some flexibility - which means I will need to incorporate the concepts I want to cover mainly into Writing. 

Now, here is where you come in - PLEASE HELP!!!  I need ideas - anything and everything will help!!  AS you have read above I have a few ideas - but I would love to hear your ideas!! 



judi @ farmnwife said...

How bout doing something with the farmville game. Have the class or teams do something everyday to raise a crop. Then based on their decisions they improve or decrease their yields.

Learn About Ag said...

Great idea! We look forward to seeing you at conference!

SDFarmWife said...

First off, as a farm wife and a woman that holds a degree in Agricultural Education I really appreciate what you are doing! It is so great to see someone reaching kids at such a young age! I love the theme you are doing this year in the classroom and I think you can do so many great things with it!

I live in South Dakota, not your home state, but I will volunteer our farm to be a part of your Flat Stanley tour- if you want to send him out of state. We have a beef operation that I am sure he would love to visit.

Consider taking a tour on a local farm- if you can do those kinds of things in your school.

Talk about where food comes from and maybe how much you can buy of something at the grocery store. Ex- Pounds of tomatoes, 3 dozen ears of corn (Not sure how in depth things get in Math at 4th grade!

Best of luck! Sounds like a fun year!