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Monthly news & updates
March 2021 | Issue #114
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From Fleece to Felted Footwear
Academic focus began with being able to distinguish between shoes made from non-renewable resources and those made from renewable resources, in this case wool. Students made observations and measurements to find a method to wash wool effectively. Students wrote opinion pieces to make claims why one method was more effective than another. They compared and contrasted traditional and complex tools and equipment. There were engineering components where students used graph paper, cardboard, bubble wrap, old socks, and lots of duct tape to create molds. 
MAITC 2020 Teacher of the Year, Ted Bridge-Koenigsberg, from Sebago Elementary School has been working on a project called "From Fleece to Felted Footwear." Their school has made great progress in increasing students' awareness of where their food comes from and now wanted to extend this understanding into the realm of fiber. 
This project combined first-hand experience with academics and resulted in students making their own shoes. Students watched lambs shorn by a professional shearer, got close to the animals, and could ask the shearer questions.They all experienced raw wool, skirted out the dirty sections, and weighed the fleece. Students also began exploring the history of the woolen and shoe manufacturing industries here in ME.
Pairs of students researched and produced informational slideshows, wrote persuasive pieces giving reasons and evidence, and throughout the project they learned where the shoes they created were made, what went into making them, and who made them, which is a different example of agricultural literacy. They will also have warm feet and the chance to create something very special.
FoodCorps Service Member Applications are Open
FoodCorps service members spend a year teaching kids about healthy food. Whether you teach virtually or in person, you’ll earn a stipend, a year’s worth of trainings and professional development resources, and a network of passionate food educators. FoodCorps is especially looking for service members who are committed to equity, inspired by strong local communities, and creative in the face of a challenge—like serving during a pandemic. Learn more and apply here.
March 8th is International Women's Day!
In many areas of the world, women farmers are positively influencing their communities. Learn more about the role of women in agriculture with this lesson for the classroom.
Grades 9-12. Students will investigate the number of women farmers globally and identify these farmers’ impacts on contemporary agriculture.
Maine Nutrition Council Virtual Conference
The Maine Nutrition Council is having a virtual conference this year
Nutrition During the Pandemic: Trends and Triumphs.
The conference will take place over two days, April 6th and 7th, 2021 from 1pm-4:30pm.
This virtual conference will have a reduced fee of $55 for general participants and $25 for students/retired, and includes 6 professional development contact hours. Please contact Emily if you have any questions.
Maine School Garden Network Opportunities!
"Jumpstart Your School Garden"
When: April 9, 2021
Time: 3-4:30pm
Learn with colleagues about ways to jumpstart your school gardens with an exciting slate of presenters. Featuring seed saving, pollinator gardening, minimal summer maintenance techniques, orchard planning and engaging conversations that will lead to thriving school gardens. Register HERE.
MSGN is Hiring!
This is a part time contract position to support and coordinate the work of the Maine
School Garden Network. The Network’s mission is “to promote and support educational
gardens for youth, and to encourage school programs which teach healthy eating and
environmental stewardship.”
Interested parties should submit resume, detailed cover letter, list of references, and
writing sample to by April 15th. More info here.
Harvest of the Month - March is Maine Protein!
Check out the great HOM materials:

Check out our Proteins Resources Page
for lessons, activities, books, and more!

Search the Ag Literacy Curriculum Matrix for even MORE protein resources!
Grant Opportunity
Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant
Kids who grow veggies, eat veggies, so school gardens can make a big difference. Through the Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant program, schools and non-profit organizations turn outdoor spaces into powerful hands-on learning gardens that connect kids with food, spark their curiosity and support classroom curriculum. Learn more and apply here. Applications Due: March 31, 2021
Teacher Resources Section
From Sap to Syrup. Grades K-2. Students will recognize how geography and climate allow for the growth of maple trees and the process of making syrup. They will identify the characteristics of maple trees that produce the best sap for making maple syrup and name the steps in the process of creating syrup from sap.

Pancakes. Grades K-2. Grades 3-5. Students will describe the physical properties of materials and observe physical and chemical changes as they learn about the ingredients in pancakes and how maple syrup is harvested from trees.

Tapping into Maple Tradition. Lessons for Grades K-12. Tapping into Maple Tradition digs deeper into maple sugar production to uncover a wide variety of core academic concepts. Botany, chemistry, history, economics, math, nutrition, language arts and engineering are all key components. "Tapping Into Maple Tradition" enhances these educational areas with hands-on, STEM focused activities reinforcing the learning process.

Growing Aspirations - Sweet! Grades 9-12. This lesson’s focus is on large concepts such as Habits of Minds, Food Systems of Maine, and Agribusiness. The unit may include lessons on other aspects of the standard such as positive self- concept, and the personal interests and skills lessons.

Looking for more? Explore the Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix HERE

Check out some of these great books about Maple!

Don't forget that all SIX of our Agriculture for ME books are available to read online!
University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator Kathy Hopkins discusses the best time of year to tap maple trees in Maine.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator Kathy Hopkins discusses the best method to safely tap a maple tree.
Demonstration on how to test when sap becomes maple syrup. Different tools will be discussed.
Hear from the Jillsons in Sabbatus about Maine Maple Sunday of 2015. It was barely above zero as crowds waited for the annual Sunday breakfast. Pat and Ed talk about the farm, their kids, and the hard work it takes to succeed.
Activities & Resources
Maple Syrup Ag Mag. From New Hampshire Ag in the Classroom. Check out this online reader with a bunch of great info on Maple Syrup!

Maine Maple Producers Association. Check out their website for a map of sugarhouses, events, recipes, and other maple info!

Southern Maine Maple Sugarmakers Association. Find a sugarhouse near you, learn some great Maple 101 facts.
Maple Curriculum Support: Tapping into Maple Tradition - Lessons for K-12 Classrooms.

Looking for field trips? Check out Get Real Get Maine's Food, Farms, and Forest Search

ReTreeUS plants orchards in schools and provides educational programs that empower people to be healthy environmental stewards.

See the Maine Farm to School Census here. Are you participating?

Maine School Garden Network provides resources and technical assistance for all school gardens across Maine!

Search the National Ag in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix for resources

Fuel Up to Play 60 offers educators a wide array of resources they can use to help students make sustainable changes in their school environment.

Agroworld is an agricultural science e-zine developed for the secondary educator.

KidsGardening has ideas about plants and gardens, teacher resources, and grant opportunities.

The Chop Chop magazine and website has easy and healthy recipes.

American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has curriculum, games, and resources available for educators and students.
Funding from this plate has impacted up to 200,000 students annually with lessons, materials, volunteers and teacher training. Annually up to $60K is distributed in grants to schools, FFA, 4-H and other Non-profit programs for Ag education initiatives by the Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Council.
Donate today to The Maine Agriculture in the Classroom Association
The Non-profit, completely volunteer, portion of MAITC. These funds are used directly to support teacher scholarships and recognition, and support volunteer participation for Ag education programs. Your donation is completely tax deductible and you can make a one-time donation or a recurring monthly donation which will support the mission, "to promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public." If you have any other questions or would like to join this group please contact the chairman, Maryjane StaffordDonate Here.
Our Mission Statement
"To promote the understanding of agriculture and natural resources among students, educators, and the general public"  
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