October: Teacher Spotlight

Habersham County 

Rachel Reed is a special education teacher at
Level Grove Elementary, and she has been an integral part of bringing Farm to School to her school. During the 2014-2015 school year, she built and installed three raised beds at the school, to allow her students the opportunity for experiential learning in the garden.  Over the summer she became a part of the Level Grove team that applied for Northeast Georgia Farm to School’s school garden mini-grant. With a newly built school garden funded by that grant, Ms. Reed is excited to have even more garden beds to teacher her students in. She is eager and motivated to bring garden learning not only to her own students but to the entire student body of Level Grove Elementary, and is generous with both her time and energy. Her most recent Farm to School lesson was taught to her 5th grade math students. They used their word problem and multiplication skills to calculate how much soil was needed to fill Level Grove’s garden beds and the total cost of the soil.
Rabun County 

Jennifer Darnell is a seventh grade language arts teacher at Rabun County Middle School who is a member of the NEGA Farm to School mini-grant team. This month she collaborated with Megan Connolly to teach a lesson on the history and culture of food in the Southern Appalachians. Her class is reading the novelThe Schwa Was Here, by Neal Shusterman about an Italian family who experiences several family dramas which revolve around food. Ms. Darnell took this opportunity to use scenes from the book to define “culture” and relate that to food culture in our area. She cooked soup beans (pintos) and two other Rabun County locals, Ms. Darnell’s mother and fellow teacher, Ms. Wykle, prepared cornbread. Students were led by Ms. Darnell and Ms. Connolly in preparing cole slaw. At the end of class, students were able to enjoy a traditional Appalachian meal together, and shared three facts they learned and one food they would try again. Here are some of the comments student’s made after the lesson:

“I learned about the 3 Sisters planting method, how to peel carrots and how to make coleslaw.”

“One food I would try again is coleslaw because the creamy texture was pleasant, and when you bit into an apple, you got a delectable burst of sweetness.”  

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