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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Starting a Flat Aggie Program

I have been working with a group of teachers to bring how food is raised into their classrooms through what I call the Flat Aggie Project.  Below is a part of the how we do the project.  Be sure to click on the Flat Aggie Page to see all the details.

Here is a little about how I do my program.

Starting a Flat Aggie Program

Introducing the Flat Aggie Concept

Start by letting the teacher know that you are going to do most of the work.  Let them know that it will teach them:
         Geography, Envelope addressing, Many many standards are touched upon

Find out how often they would like to get a report from a farmer.
·         I have done once a week for the last 7 weeks of school.
·         I am trying once a month for the entire school year.

I like for the class to color their own Flat Aggie.  More on that in the teacher section.

Finding Farmer Hosts for Flat Aggie

I asked my friends to help out with the reports.  I have friends all over the US from school and with being involved with the American Soybean Association.  Here is where I would start to ask for help:

  • Commonground
  • American AgriWomen
  • AgChat Foundation
  • Farm Bureau
I worked to get a wide range of farmers.
·         Cattle
·         Swine
·         Poultry
·         Corn/Soybeans
·         Technology Applications
·         Fruits and Vegetables
·         Dairy
I really hope to get some southern farmers involved to include cotton or rice.  It would also be neat if I could get a Kansas wheat farmer in the fall when they are planting and then have a quick report as school is getting out and the wheat is getting closer to harvest.

Finishing the Reports

The first year the teacher wanted the reports on Friday. 
·         I set up the schedule for the entire time period, so the farmers could think about and prepare for FA.  I think I would do this again where corn farmers could have harvest pictures if they are going to report in the spring.
·         I remind the farmers the month before their post is due as well as the week before.  We all get busy with farmer and a quick email reminded them that a classroom of kids was eagerly expecting a report.
·         I told the farmers I needed their reports on Tuesday.  This gave me time to edit and get the pictures inserted in the correct places.  A couple of reports I had to wait on until Thursday night.
·         Most of them were really good about being on time or before the deadline, but others had issues on their farm that took time they weren’t expecting.  (We all know how that is.)

The Teachers receiving of the report and presentation

The public school that I worked with has all blogs blocked on the school server. 
1.       I posted the farmer reports on my blog. 
2.       I then copied the entire report including pictures and pasted it into an email.  I used a Word document once, but we had Apple to PC issues.  It seemed to work best to put the report in the body of the email.
3.       The teacher printed the report.
4.       Placed it into an envelope and addressed it to the class from Flat Aggie.
If the school doesn’t have blogs blocked, it would be easier to not have to email the post. 
If your farmer’s or you want to send a snack to school for the kids to enjoy on the day of the report, be careful about the school food policies.  Some don’t allow peanuts in the building and other don’t allow homemade food.  Just a little FYI.

-A Kansas Farm Mom