Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive April 2017 Show 1715 Debra Deskin - Ag Connection

Debra Deskin - Ag Connection

Debra Deskin uses hands-on activities to teach her students about the role agriculture plays in their lives.
Debra Deskin - Ag Connection

Debra Deskin - Ag Connection

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Orvis Risner Elementary

Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom

Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

Show Details

Show 1715: Debra Deskin - Ag Connection
Air Date: April 9, 2017



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. Well, since 1950, the number of people employed in agriculture has plummeted in industrial nations around the world. But the declining number of farmers does not imply a decline in the importance of the farming sector. The world, well, it still has to eat. So smaller number of farmers means larger farms and a turn towards mechanization and the inevitable disconnect between those who grow our food and the rest of us that eat it. That is why Oklahoma has been in the forefront of developing Ag In The Classroom curriculum, an effort to teach our youngest generation the role agriculture plays in our lives. The lessons, they are varied and very hands-on. And each year, both students and teachers are honored for their work during Ag Day at the State Capitol, and we were there to recognize this year’s Ag In The Classroom Teacher of the Year, Debra Deskin.

[Teacher NATS: No bees, no honey].

[Student NATS: No work, no money, I know].

Audrey Harmon: Ag In The Classroom is a way of helping students understand where their food, their clothes and their shelter come from. So it’s teaching agricultural literacy. And it’s connecting it with the standards that teachers are already teaching in their classroom so they can make connections to their math, their science, their social studies, language arts. They could tie it into physical education or art education.

Debra Deskin: Raise your hand. How could cherries be brought some place by birds? How could they all of a sudden, start growing somewhere and birds be related to it? Ag In The Classroom has made it so much fun. It’s one of those things I enjoy coming into class knowing I’m going to get to do some activities with that. If I could tie ag into every lesson I do, then I’m going to be happy with it.

Students: We only have two mouths and one ear. Mark Twain.

Deskin: We talked about the history, how the cherry got here. We talked about, OK, how it really got here, by birds, you throw your science in that as well. We did graphing for our math. Second grade -- that is one of our standards with graphing, so they did a bar graph with it. It’s talking about George Washington, tying that in to Presidents Day, the old story about cutting down the cherry tree, when they talked about, OK, that really didn’t happen, it was just to encourage being honest, and you can actually have some character education with it as well.

Students: Never, never give up. Winston Churchill.

Harmon: She needs to make sure her students here in Edmond understand about agriculture even though they are not living on the farm.

Students: Jelly, jelly, jelly, jelly, jelly.

Deskin: It’s kind of a sad thing that they don’t understand maybe where, you know, milk or even just the ice cream comes from. You say, OK, where would you get ice cream from, they’re going to say the store or Braum’s, especially for here in Oklahoma. But before that where does it come from?

Student: Mmm, good.

Harmon: So this is the winning coloring sheet that’s going to be turned into a bookmark, and it’s colored by a student right here at Orvis Risner Elementary. Jayda Hutchinson, come on down.


We don’t just have a student winner, we have a teacher winner. That’s right, Ms. Deskin is the State Ag In The Classroom Teacher of the Year.


What makes Ms. Deskin so successful is her excitement and her enthusiasm. It’s contagious. She is genuinely excited to teach the students. She can tell her class loves her. She takes that enthusiasm into the classroom. She expands on their regular learning experiences so that they love coming to school, they love learning. And then she takes that enthusiasm to other teachers, so when she presents at our state Ag In The Classroom conferences, her excitement and enthusiasm is broadcast into everyone that comes in contact with her.

Students: No work, no money. I know.

Harmon: And then the message of agriculture, it spreads throughout the state. So we’re so excited that she is going to be representing us for the next year as our State Ag In The Classroom Teacher of the Year. And we’re excited that she’ll be joining us this summer on our road trips and being able to share more knowledge with more teachers.

Deskin: Don’t be part of the problem.

Students: Be part of the solution. Unknown.