It has been a little while since I’ve had a guest post in the series of people telling about how cotton is the fabric of their lives. This one has been in the works for a little while though and it is worth the wait. It’s from California elementary school teacher Sarah who blogs at The House That Ag Built. She has both Twitter (@houseagbuilt) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/houseagbuilt) accounts as well. Thanks Sarah for sharing your story & the story of your students!
Why I Love Cotton in the Classroom
Guest post by Sarah from The House That Ag Built for Janice the great J
As an elementary school teacher, I know the importance of teaching agriculture. Society is so far removed from agriculture that many kids and adults alike think that food is made in the store and not grown in the field. That is sad. This past school year, I made the decision to step up my agriculture education a notch (or two) and boy am I happy with the results! There are now 24 kids in my area that know more about agriculture than their parents and most adults in our area.
My first graders did a four-week agriculture unit and our focus was cotton. We learned the structure of a cotton plant, what a cotton plant needs to grow, where cotton grows in the US, what we use cotton for, and we even got to see cotton that was straight from a farmer’s field! Cotton is the perfect commodity to teach – even to such young learners! Cotton is everywhere, it literally surrounds us in the form of clothing, we use it every day in the form of money, and it is found all around our homes in the form of towels, and sheets.
It is easy for kids to make a connection with something that is all around them, both at home and at school. I LOVE cotton in the classroom! Having my students come up to me as proud as can be declaring that they are wearing cotton was so much fun! It really brought agriculture to life for my kids.
I could go on and on about all my proud moments with cotton in my classroom, but I will let my students work show just how much they retained 7 months later. I told them to write why cotton is important and here is what they did:
“I love cotton because I have my best coat and it is made out of cotton. I almost wear it every day because it is my best shirt (coat) ever in my life and I have a lot of blankets at home and cotton is important too.”
“I like cotton because it makes pillows and I play pillow fight, and (cotton) gives me socks I love to wear. And one more thing they (cotton) make me my favorite shoes.” My 6-year-old student made the connection from cotton to pillows to having a pillow fight; cotton = fun! They are so adorable!
“I love cotton because the cows eat cotton seeds and then they give milk and the milk goes to the dairy and the dairy makes ice cream! I love cotton! And I love cotton because my favorite shirt is made of cotton; my shirt is warm too. I love cotton very very very much! Thank you!” My favorite connection! It is pretty cool that they can explain how cotton and ice cream relate!
“The important (thing about cotton) is that cotton gives us pillows and I love to sleep when I am so tired and cotton is so fuzzy and cotton makes money and I love to do a pillow fight and my blanket it is so fuzzy and it is blue and even plants of cotton. I love cotton. Cotton is so important for us. I love cotton so much if we didn’t have cotton we wouldn’t have clothes and pillow fights! I love cotton so so so much.” This writing is all over the place but when she was reading it to me after, she was so excited that she knew so much about cotton products! She even remembered that money is made out of cotton.
A few of the picture my students drew on the back of their papers:
Cotton makes dollars (aka money).
Cotton makes sheets and clothes.
They even remembered how to draw a cotton plant and the boll.
As you can see cotton is lots of fun to teach in an elementary classroom. My students and I love cotton in the classroom because it is easy to relate to and creates lasting agricultural literacy.
Thank you for having me Janice!
I love it! And think its awesome how much the kids remembered from one time of year to another!
Pamela Sweeten says
Thanks for reminding me why I do volunteer work at Farmyard Experience at the fair. If we touch one more adult or child perhaps that will change the way people think of how ag is in their lives.
1:28am good night!
Janice Person says
Sorry I didn’t have a chance to get to the CA State Fair while I was in town. I will make a state fair eventually!