Friday, April 7, 2017

Ag Literacy - Grapes!

Last week was Ag Literacy Week in New York State.  GardenShare staff and volunteers partnered with Cornell Cooperative Extension to get into elementary school classrooms to read and do activities with the students.

This year's activities were sponsored by Welch's and focused on grapes.  Welch's produces grape juice in western New York and donated copies of the book, "The Grapes Grow Sweet" to every school.

In Canton, I helped in a fourth grade classroom, where thanks to one of our great volunteers, we had a whole lesson plan around grapes including interesting facts and even vocabulary words.  Did you know that New York is the third largest producer of grapes in the US?  California is first and Washington second.

We had the students sample three kinds of grapes - purple, red, and green and then vote for their favorite.  In this classroom it was a tie between red and green.  They also got to try raisins and frozen grapes.

I found these fourth-graders attentive and engaged and was impressed with their geography knowledge as we discussed where grapes are grown.

Americorps volunteer Brianna Blackburn and student intern Jamie Oriol went to Clfiton Fine schools into Jessica Schreppel's first grade classroom of 8 enthusiastic students and Tammy Perault's second grade class of 13 students.

"The students of both Mrs. Perault's and Schreppel's classes loved the story of Julian and his first grape harvest," Brianna reported.  "The highlight of my experience were the students reaction to how many billions of pounds of grapes our country consumes, and of course, the grape juice tasting and the students trying to creatively describe the difference between juices. The Concord grape juice was by far the favorite of the two!"