Nancy Smith, this month’s KFAC featured teacher, has always been dedicated to education. She knew since she was young that she wanted to be a teacher. Smith is a first-grade teacher at Bentwood Elementary in Olathe. She has been teaching for 14 years, and although she doesn’t have that much background in agriculture, she has found that learning about agriculture helps her students develop a greater sense of the world around them.
Smith’s classroom is active, engaged, and hands-on, where she exposes her students to science and agriculture through activities, such as implementing monthly themes, such as crops, equipment, technology, ag careers, and many more! A few ways that she integrates agriculture into her class includes the following: the class hatched baby chicks, built a chicken ‘playground’, and learned about business principles by taking out a ‘loan’ and ‘selling’ the equipment. Smith also will have her students take a virtual field trip to a farm, where the students can see agriculture in action, and then take an actual field trip to the Agricultural Hall of fame to learn more about crops and livestock.
Smith firmly believes that it is crucial for students to learn about agriculture at a young age because agriculture is all around them, and the more you know, the better you can make decisions. She has found that her students have enjoyed learning more about the different aspects of agriculture that she has brought into her classroom, like planting corn, hatching chicks, and taking virtual field trips. One thing she always reminds her students is this: what they now do as a hobby could eventually end up as their career.
One piece of advice that Smith would like to pass along is to get involved with your community and learn about all the resources available. She says, “Don’t be afraid to get messy and make noise. The best learning is when you love learning!”
KFAC is excited to feature Nancy Smith for the May 2018 Teacher Feature! Congratulations!