Loma Teacher Wins Colorado Agriculture in the Classroom® Award
Westminster, Colo. – As an educator in a rural, agricultural community, one might think there is not a tremendous need for agricultural literacy education or that the impact on the students and community would be less than in an urban or suburban community. That scenario couldn’t be further from the truth for Cindy Staheli Pearson of Loma, Colorado.
Mrs. Pearson has been a third grade teacher at Loma Elementary for 12 years and finds creative ways to tie agriculture into everything she teaches. Loma Elementary is part of Mesa County Valley School District 51.
Pearson is the winner of the 2020 Outstanding Agriculture in the Classroom® Teacher award. The award is sponsored by the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture and the Colorado Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. The purpose of this award is to recognize Colorado teachers, from preschool through 12th grade, for their creative efforts to integrate agriculture topics into the classroom to increase agricultural literacy.
Integrating agriculture into classroom learning is important to Cindy because she believes that as a society we are losing touch with where our food and fiber comes from. “I feel it is important for students to understand that without farmers they will not have food or clothing. My students are from a rural area, many are already involved in agriculture, but many still do not understand where their food comes from,” says Pearson. “I try to give them a glimpse into food production and the rich history of agriculture in our community and our state.”
Pearson adds agriculture concepts into units for reading, writing, science, social studies, math, and even art. One of the students’ favorite activities is a writing project called “Flat Aggies.” Students are paired up with farmers, ranchers, and agriculture-related businesses all over the United States and Canada. The students make a paper doll character of themselves and write letters asking questions about their counterparts’ agriculture business. Their counterpart replies back, answering the questions, and including photos of their “Flat Aggie” on various adventures.
The “Flat Aggies” project meets a state content standard for informational writing, a skill that is fast-declining in today’s mobile device driven society. Students learn about agriculture products produced across North America and how those products are grown and marketed. They also learn about the wide variety of careers in agriculture.
Mrs. Pearson takes all of the third graders at Loma Elementary on a field trip to her family’s cow-calf ranch and small feedlot. They also make a visit to the local sale barn. Mrs. Pearson uses the scales at the farm and the sale barn to teach math concepts. The students even try their hand at being an auctioneer.
Other classroom activities include the annual incubation, hatching, and care of chickens as part of the students’ lesson on life cycles. For the school art show, Mrs. Pearson’s students created a mural they called Agriculture – A Science and an Art. Last year, the students even wrote and published a book titled The Important Book of Agriculture.
“Cindy is a great advocate for the Agriculture in the Classroom program,” said Jennifer Scharpe, executive director for the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture. “She is a graduate of our Summer AgriCULTURE Institute, a week-long professional development course for teachers. She regularly utilizes the resources and programs of the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization. Most importantly, she shares these resources with her fellow teachers.”
For winning the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture Outstanding Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher award, Pearson receives a $500 monetary gift. She also earns a trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, which will be held June 22-26, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“The third grade students at Loma Elementary greatly benefit from having Mrs. Pearson as their teacher. Through her creativity and passion for agriculture, she is able to make learning fun for her students,” Scharpe added.
For more information about this award or the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture, visit www.GrowingYourFuture.com or contact Jennifer Scharpe, Colorado Foundation for Agriculture executive director at Info@GrowingYourFuture.com or 970-818-3308.
The Colorado Foundation for Agriculture is a 501(c)3 non-profit education corporation. The vision is to advance agricultural literacy in the next generation of consumers, citizens, and professionals. The mission is connecting Colorado educators and students to their food, fiber, fuel, and natural resources. During the 2018-2019 school year, the Colorado Foundation for Agriculture was able to reach more than 317,500 students and educators through Colorado’s various Agriculture in the Classroom® programs and resources. To learn more or to make a tax deductible gift, visit GrowingYourFuture.com.
Written and submitted to The BARN by:
Colorado Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director
Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.