Monday, March 19, 2012

10 Ideas for Ag Day

I know ag day has come and gone.  I had every intention to post this before the big day, but as you can see that didn't happen.  There are many country ag days here in sunny rainy California so I thought I would share it anyway.  Plus, any day can be ag day! Or you could use some of these idea to wrap up an ag unit. 
1. Ag Bingo
 I made blank BINGO cards and let my students fill them out with the words from our alphabet chart (below).  I called the words and put them up on the board.  This is a simple game that students really enjoy playing.  To make it more of a challenge you could give clues to the word but not actually say it (like saying "steak comes from this animal" instead of saying "beef cattle").

2. Concentration
 Pick some important agriculture words and play concentration with them.  My kids love to play concentration and do it every week with the sight words. 

If you have older kids you could have them match the word the description. 

3.  Read Ag Books
 Pretty self explanatory, there are plenty of books about agriculture.  I wrote about a few good ag books here.  I just got this book and the sequel and they are my new favorite books.  I told my students that they should expect for me to read them 10 times a day and they better not get tired of them!  I am really picky about books and I am in love with the Every Cowgirl Needs set! 

4.  Write a letter to a farmer
 We did this in groups since my kids are still learning how to write letters on their own.  I had them write to beef rancher instead of a name so I could send them to any beef rancher I could find (my sister was the lucky beef rancher).

5.  Write an acrostic poem
Acrostic poems are fun, we wrote them in a small group and this was my favorite:

 M is for money.  I asked him what he meant by money and he told me that the farmer sells their rice and gets money.

 Here is a close-up of the farmer (in the hat) selling his rice (the yellow blob) for money.  

6. Write about agriculture
 Have them write what they know about agriculture.  This would be a great assessment to see what you need to teach (I need to teach my kids that beef rancher don't have roast chicken to give to them)You could start with a sentence starter like 'Agriculture is important because ______.'

7. Ask a farmer (or other ag professional) to visit
Find a local farmer and ask him or her to come to your class.  My kids are still talking about the rice farmers who visited, the forestry educator who came, and the turkeys that they got to see.   those are lasting connection that they will hold on to.  Call you local Farm Bureau or try Local Harvest

8. Agriculture Alphabet

 We started with a blank chart at the beginning of the day.  We wrote 5 words at a time in between doing other lessons and activities.  We did not do the letters in order - I just asked them to give me a really awesome ag word and tell me where it went.

   This is what we had at the end of the day.  Pretty impressive for first graders!  They came up with almost all of them by themselves.  I had to help with U, Q, and X.  We cheated a little with x but since x doesn't make the same sound when it is at the front of the word then I think it works!
I made them explain how each word was related to agriculture which was pretty impressive. 
You can also make this into a book for your classroom library.  That is my next step.  

A little hilarious side note here - my kids told me that I have udders.  
Yes, that is right they compared me once again to a cow. 

9. Draw the seasons on a farm
 Individually or as a class poster.
10. Make a list of unexpected Ag products
 There are many products that are agriculture by products or products that are not automatically considered as ag products (I would argue that almost everything can be traced back to ag). 
The list can focus on one product (wool or soybeans for example) or be a random list.  This would best be done at the end of a larger ag unit since it requires background knowledge that many students don't have.  Or it could be an ongoing list that you add to when the class discovers an unexpected product.   

What would you add to this list?

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