Georgia Farm Bureau presented Carroll County elementary teacher Jennifer Carroll its 2018 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award during the organization’s 81st annual convention Dec. 2 on Jekyll Island.
Carroll, who is the Roopville Elementary School (RES) science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coordinator and gifted teacher, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her classes to educate her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives while meeting curriculum requirements.
As the award winner, Carroll received a $500 cash prize and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June 2019. She will also be invited to present a workshop on her teaching methods at the Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference next spring.
“Agricultural literacy does not just mean teaching about farming; it is helping others understand the history and background of agriculture in our region and incorporating how agriculture fits into our daily life whether it be food, clothing or shelter. It is appreciating the value of every product,” Carroll said.
Examples of how Carroll has taught her students about agriculture include studying the life cycle of chickens with second-grade students. Carroll secured a grant for a chicken coop so that students can work with live chickens and collect eggs after the chickens lay them. Once enough eggs are collected, the students made omelets and had a taste test!
Carroll’s fifth-grade students planted seeds to grow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and peppers. They raised the plants to sell to the community as a fundraiser for future greenhouse projects. The hands-on activity helped students appreciate the hard work farmers perform each day to feed consumers.
Students in each grade at RES plant, tend and harvest fruits, vegetables or herbs in raised beds. Students are taught to sow seeds and recognize nutrient deficiencies or pest management strategies for harvesting a healthy garden.
Other examples of how Carroll integrates agriculture into her curriculum include having high school FFA students visit her classes, holding STEM themed Agriculture Days, soil testing the school gardens and having Master Gardeners visit her classes.