2008 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Wendy Weiner, Wisconsin
Wendy Weiner integrates projects with the entire curriculum and all subjects, especially making models. The first model students make is a sunflower as they study bees and honey, learning how sunflowers grow, what they need to live, what they are used for, and what products they are made into. In growing a sunflower garden, the class plants, counts seeds in math, and tastes seeds and different foods made with sunflowers. This curriculum plan is repeated several times a year, using Blooms higher level thinking strategies and Marzano Vocabulary. Students live in the 100 Acre Woods all year long, as their seasonal tree and plant projects are incorporated into a wall size mural with life size tree and ever changing Winne the Pooh characters. The next units focus on the apple, corn and pumpkin industries, growing a fall garden, and taking a trip to a farm and apple orchard. Students study pine trees, coniferous and deciduous trees, winter gardens, George Washington Carver, and the peanut industry. The second graders are the school's recycling team. They learn the benefits of conservation, the importance of not developing this country's farm land, and conserving resources. They develop higher level thinking skills and knowledge in how to research where the food and resources they use come from.
Wendy teaches second grade and has 21 years teaching experience. She has presented "How to Use Models in the Classroom" at various teacher conventions and is a contributing author to the Scholastic Instructor Magazine.