Little city students find a friend in agriculture
March 21, 2011
About ten years ago ‘Grandma Gibbons’ began writing letters to a classroom of first, second and third graders taught by Jenny Sexton in Omaha, Neb. The requirement specified by ‘Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom’ was a commitment to exchange at least three letters a year. The little students delight in getting their letters which I, ‘Grandma,’ send each month whenever possible.
I write and tell the students what is happening in the country – wheat planting, cattle out to pasture or taken home again, branding time, harvest, putting up hay, wild animals, weather conditions and honey production which produced quite a reaction. Some were upset at the thought of honey bees and others were afraid of them. When the students received a gift of honey sticks they all wrote such nice thank you notes. They wrote that they are glad to learn that I am a teacher and live on a farm.
Students write the sweetest letters and pictures they have drawn. It is a spirit lifter for me to hear from these little ones. They ask many questions and share information about themselves and their families, pets and fun activities at school. Many times they draw pictures that say “you and me.” This year their teacher has written several times on the internet and recently sent a picture of them. What a thrill to see them in a picture.
Sometimes I write individual letters to answer questions. Then they write and ask for a special individual letter again. I made homemade valentines like we made with wallpaper and cut out pictures years ago. Valentines Day is a good time to start separate letters for it is quite an undertaking to write each student. I remember a little guy several years ago who wrote, “Hi, I’m ____, remember me from last year?” I have sent them wheat harvested on this place, grass hay, a cattle cube, and other symbols of agriculture. I send pictures to show or demonstrate the activities on the ranch or farm.
This week I’m sending them a sample of dry beans that my granddaughter helped her great uncle combine. I introduced the rural students where she attends as a first grader to these little ones. They will like to know about the connection. The schools have exchanged a letter or two thus far. Other rural students have sent letters to city students explaining their life.
City students are a delight for this grandma and they seem to thrill to get a letter from here too. One little guy said he had been to Fort Robinson which is near here. Most have no comprehension of the distance between Omaha and the panhandle of Nebraska and the difference in the way we live. They tell when their birthdays are and what their pet’s names are. I will enclose more pictures in a booklet telling what each is happening or how it relates to what my parents, my siblings and I did as a youngsters growing up in the country. Agriculture is Nebraska’s #1 industry which everyone needs to be made aware of in the city and the country. These little students appreciate learning about living in the country.