2008 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Jane Henmann, Illinois
Jane Hemann teaches a ten-week Inquiry Based Learning Unit that she wrote to teach her first grade students where their food comes from entitled How Does Your Farm Crow? Based on research of farm family responsibilities and various farm animals in nonfiction books and the Internet, students make a model of a farm and purchase land, animals, buildings, and fencing. An intensive study of food production then begins in which students learn about and make bread, ice cream, butter, applesauce, pizza, and other products. Students visit a cattle ranch, horse farm, corn and soybean fields, and a bakery. Fruits, trees, seafood, and more are studied to enhance the students' understanding of agriculture. Students finish the unit by writing reports on the responsibilities of farm family members, the importance and uses of each farm animal, and the uses of a variety of crops. A parent night is held in which students share their knowledge of agri¬culture. Students make masks and are videotaped telling about their contribution. This video is shared with other classes in the school and is available to other schools. Copies have even been sent to a classroom in Samoa.
Jane Hemann has taught at Mt. Olive since 1977 and taught all grades. Currently she teaches first grade. She is the recipient of a 2007 White-Reinhardt Teacher Scholarship, and attained an Academic Foundation Grant for covering the cost of her assembly.