- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Fun Monday -- Time Travel to the Kentucky State Fair '05
The Fun Monday assignment for August 23rd is a piece of cake--or more aptly in this instance a pork chop sandwich. Mariposa , our host for August, asks us to describe where we were on August 23, 2005. I didn't really even need to check my old calendar because if it's mid-August I would have been manning a children's exhibit in the education wing of the Kentucky State Fair. That's 11 long days of fair goers--the good, bad, and ugly.
In 2005 I was working for Kentucky Farm Bureau, one of the largest agricultural organizations in the state. Part of my job responsibilities was agricultural education for students and teachers. Put simply, we tried to help children make the connection between the foods they ate and the farmers who grew the food. So every year at the state fair we designed activities that would help children understand that the food they bought in the grocery store was grown on a farm and then processed into popular foods like pizza, french fries, or cereal.
If you've been to a state fair you understand that it's a madhouse of people out for a day of looking at the farm animals on show, going through exhibits picking up all kinds of junk that never makes it out of the fair tote bag. There's the midway games, the amusement rides, concerts and food that you wouldn't eat any other time of the year like this year's donut cheeseburger with two Krispy Creme glazed donuts as the bun (I can hardly type this it's so wrong. . .).
My smart young sidekick Susie and I tried to design an exhibit booth where kids could slow down for a few minutes, play a game and learn about agriculture. We also gave them really cool junk like tattoos and comic books. Teachers got lesson plans. Each year it was a challenge to come up with fun activities. The smiling little guy in this photo has successfully matched food models with the correct farm product. Example: milk and cheese with the dairy cow, drumstick and scrambled eggs with the chicken. One year we played Assembly Line Antics to help kids understand how food is processed and marketed. Each kid got to go through several stations with pans of trail mix goodies like gold fish crackers, raisins, pretzels, and M & Ms. They scooped up their personal favorites in a baggie and then at the end of the line used crayons and colored markers to design a label for their own bag of trail mix, giving it an original name like "Kelly's Moonrocks and Asteroids". It was nice to see them scamper off with their original bag of trail mix. They were so proud, even the little ones.
The year of the giant pizza puzzle was a favorite exhibit. We had a huge 42 in. wooden pizza cut with a jigsaw, painted and then cut again in pieces the size of a sheet of paper. We used metal pizza pans to mount photos of different pizza ingredients like peppers, tomatoes, cheese, pepperoni on the wall exhibits.
Kids were drawn to the size of this puzzle and enjoyed spending a few minutes working the puzzle. Sometimes whole families would work on the puzzle together, giving us a chance to teach them a bit about agriculture.
The fair is in full swing right now. I won't be going though. After all these years of working at the fair I'm glad to stay home. But in 2005 it was not a bad work assignment to be around kids for a week or so helping them have fun and learn something new.