Califonia Bountiful

Cindy Moreno

2nd grade teacher, Collegeville School, Escalon Unified School District, San Joaquin County

This interview was originally published in the April 2010 issue of CFAITC's e-newsletter, "Cream of the Crop."

How long have you been teaching or working with students?
20 years.

Why did you choose to become an educator?
I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. Education really is the key to a promising future.

How do you integrate agriculture into the curriculum or activities you teach?
Agriculture is integrated through other subjects such as science, social studies, nutrition, and literature. We also take ag-based field trips to dairies, cheese factories and pumpkin patches. In addition, I am constantly bringing in leaves, fruits, nuts, grains, etc. from local farms and orchards (and my own garden) for lessons. I plan to restart our school garden program this spring.

I recently used a class set of Venus flytraps that were given to me at the 2009 California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, for one of my best plant lessons. My students were so excited about receiving their own plant. They treated them as pets—even naming them. Needless to say, they were eager to learn about these unique plants and how to take care of them. During an observation they were rattling off facts and vocabulary like little experts and couldn't stop talking about them.

Tell us about one person who has most influenced your own education and educational career.
Growing up as a student in the Escalon Unified School District, I had excellent teachers that influenced my education in many ways, but the person who influenced me most was my 5th grade teacher, Lucy Anderson. She taught me the importance of self-discipline and set high standards for every student, something which I continue to do for my students.

What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
This fall was my first experience attending the California Agriculture in the Classroom Conference. (Funding was provided by the San Joaquin Chapter of California Women for Agriculture—thank you so much!) I was impressed with the organization, amount of resources I was given and the good food that I was treated to. I especially enjoyed visiting farms and leaning about crops from the farmers themselves. They too were very generous with their time and products.

Why is it important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today’s society?
Environmental and economic issues are always important, but for my students, many of their parents work on dairies, in the field, or are farmers. Learning about agriculture helps them understand the importance of their parents' work in California and gives them a sense of pride.

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