To date, 223 Teach Ky Ag resource kits have been distributed to teachers and farm educators across the commonwealth, and at least 30 more teaching kits have been reserved. The goal of this program is to allow local businesses, organizations and individuals to support agricultural literacy in their communities by providing standards-aligned resources with a connection to food and fiber production.
"While I was hopeful this would be successful program, I never expected to have distributed this many kits over the two years we have been offering the resources," remarked Jennifer Elwell, executive director of the Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom (TeachKyAg). "As word has spread, our farm community has seen the value in providing real-world lessons and resources teachers can use in their classrooms."
"We realize that teachers often use their personal funds to buy materials for the lessons they teach. TeachKyAg develops lessons around subjects that are already being taught, pairs it with engaging, critical-thinking activities with real-world applications, and packages it so they are ready to use by the teacher," Elwell said.
The majority of the sponsors that supply the kits to classrooms are tied to Kentucky's agriculture industry, but Elwell said that a growing number of education boards are purchasing the kits as well.
"Once we meet with school district administration, they are thrilled to get the resources into the hands of their teachers."
So what do the teachers who use the kits think? TeachKyAg asked 155 teachers and educators of all grade levels to evaluate the program resources, and 23 teachers responded, providing a 15% response rate. Here are a few highlights of the results:
- 65% of the respondents have been using the resources more than a year.
- More than 95% of the respondents use the seed germination lesson, informational posters and the book resources.
- More than 90% of the respondents use the Kentucky Farms Feed Me Virtual Field Trips and Lessons, with 55% using the resource several times within the school year.
- 84% of the respondents use the The Farm and An Ecosystem lessons
- 80% of the respondents use the My Kentucky Home geography/economics lesson and resources.
- 50% or more of the respondents use the remaining lessons and activities.
- At least 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that all lessons align to current academic standards and learning goals.
- 78% of respondents use the lessons to enhance what they are already teaching, with 10 percent using the lessons in place of a lesson they used previously.
- 86% say they agree or strongly agree the lessons are easy to follow and implement.
- 95% say they agree or strongly agree students have a positive response to lessons.
- 65% believe the resources help their students score higher on standardized tests.
- 82% say they are very likely to continue using the resources they received.
View full results and teacher comments,
To learn more about this program and the resources it includes, visit www.teachkyag.org/sponsor-a-classroom.html.