Wednesday, September 18, 2013

End of Workshop #1!

Today was our last day of the Dairy Goat Workshop! 

The class began with a review in the types of goats, as well as a discussion specifically on dairy.  The kids talked about different dairy foods, and we even talked about dairy allergies and intolerance.  After coloring a sheet that helped us remember the term "kid" for a baby goat, the class learned how butter is made.

We had discussed last week how cream floats to the top of cow milk, but is more difficult to separate with goat milk.  Today, we used heavy cream to make butter.  Because it takes so long to shake the containers, I decided to kick it up a notch... with a dance party.  Once we added some loud music to the room, it wasn't hard AT ALL to shake it!  We shook them high... We shook them low... We shook them until we all had BUTTER!  The kids each added their own salt and took their butter home to share with their families.

Once we were good and exhausted, the class had a snack and listened to me read the book, Beatrice's Goat.  This is a true story of a family in Uganda whose lives improved after receiving the gift of a goat.  Last year, our program collected money to send farm animals to a needy family in Africa.  I explained the charity to the class, and then shared with them the story of Beatrice.  We have students in class who have brothers and sisters who were adopted from African countries, as well as students who come from Africa, themselves.  I loved hearing the stories of these adoptions!  The class has such an amazing understanding of the needs of others around the world!

After a quick romp in the yard, the class then made (and ate) frozen yogurt!  There are so many yummy ways to end a lesson on dairy!

The class did a wonderful job with this week's writing assignment.  They each wrote about times that they have been, or someone they know has been, grumpy.  There were great resolutions to the stories, and excellent tips and tricks for us to discuss.  I explained that our attitude is OUR choice.  Sometimes, bad or frustrating things happen to us.  Although we cannot control these things, we CAN control our attitude and behavior.  Actually, it's imperative for our social and emotional well-being that we do so!  Thank you, "Grumpy Goat", for giving us such a great lesson this week!

Finally, the class ended with the completion of the kids' crazy collage project.  This was supposed to be completely unstructured and free-form.  With so much structure in their days, and in our lessons, I wanted to give them an opportunity to create a goat picture that was completely their own!  We used sequins, glitter, yarn, colored paper, and many other materials to create the masterpieces!

I cannot say enough about how wonderful these groups of students have been!  I cannot wait to meet again for our next workshop:  Turkeys and Guineas!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Milking Day!

Today was the much anticipated Goat Milking Day!  Before we headed over to see the animals, I took the time to explain about germs.  The class was surprised to learn that even goats, chickens, and turkeys can get sick!  We talked about how germs spread, and what we do to prevent illnesses in our daily lives.  Then, I explained that germs can travel from one farm to another, as well.  Even if someone does not live on a farm, their shoes may have walked through a feed store, or somewhere else where other animal-owners walk.  When you farm, you learn some hard lessons.  Being cautious and utilizing biosecurity measures is something that we definitely learned!  The students either sprayed their shoes with a sanizing spray or borrowed a pair of our boots, and off we went!

Last week, we practiced milking techniques on a glove.  Today, after a demonstration and explanation of the actual process, the kids took turns milking either Greta or June.  They learned that the goats actually LOVE to jump up on the milking stand!  This is the time that each doe is able to pig out on grain, so they fight over the opportunity to be first one up!

After our adventure, the class washed their hands, grabbed a snack, and settled in for a story.  I read "Grumpy Goat" by Brett Helquist.  We discussed times when we have been grumpy, how it affects others, and what we can do to snap out of it!  We also talked about forgiveness, which the farm animals demonstrated toward the Grumpy Goat.  This will be our topic for next week's writing assignment!

Each child came up and shared their previous writing assignments with the class.  Each one is making great progress!  Some of the students wrote about last week's story, while some wrote their own story, narrated by a dairy goat.  Through our stories and writings, the class has learned about characters, the importance of conflicts in writing, the role of a narrator, and more.  Next week, we will finish up our goat workshop with the story, "Beatrice's Goat".

The class finished up their goat sewing project today!  They worked very hard on this, and by the end of the school year, they will be experts!  We will be working on other stuffed animals throughout the year, which correlate with each workshop.  Because the kids spent so long focusing on a structured craft, I wanted to let them create freely and without restraints.  So, they began a collage project!  Each one started out with a sketch or outline of a goat scene.  Then, they were given items such as string, beads, pom-poms, scraps of paper, and anything else I could find!  I wanted to give them an opportunity to have free-form artistic PLAY!  They will finish up these fun projects next week, as we complete our first workshop of the year!