Cream of the Crop

April 2008

Imagine this... Stories Inspired by Agriculture
The book with the winning stories from the 2007 Imagine this... story writing contest launched on March 25. The day included participating in Capitol Ag Day, where the six student authors visited booths on the west steps of the state capitol, were available for interviews with the media at CFAITC's own booth, presented their book to Governor Schwarzenegger, met Food Network's celebrity chef Guy Fieri and were invited onto the assembly floor where they were acknowledged for their achievement by representative Doug LaMalfa. Back at the California Farm Bureau building, the author's families and friends gathered with the high school student illustrators for an awards ceremony. Books were autographed during the cake reception.
View photos from the event, read the stories, or order your own copy of the book ($10).
The deadline for the next contest is November 1--encourage creative young minds to enter!

Cream of the Crop
This issue of Cream of the Crop (Vol. 21, no. 2) has a great new look for spring, and all of your favorite features are still inside. Watch your mailbox to get the scoop on Conference, Imagine this... winners, and our Outstanding Teacher of the Year. It also includes a lesson plan idea and is chock-full of resource recommendations.
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2008 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference
June 25-28, 2008, Costa Mesa, CA
Early bird deadline: May 1, 2008
The deadline for full registration at the $380 rate is approaching! After May 1, full registration is $450 and pre- and post-conference tours increase by $10 each. Join us as California hosts the national conference for the first time in 16 years. Educators and ag in the classroom representatives from 50 states will be inspired by workshops, tours, make 'n' take sessions and guest speakers, and to experience the wonders of the Most Bountiful Place on Earth. Watch your e-mail for more conference details. Register today (field trips are filling up fast!).
Register Online
Scholarship Application (Deadline: May 1)

2008 Teacher Resource Guide
The books are in the mail! If you pre-ordered your copy of the 2008 Teacher Resource Guide look for it to arrive soon. New orders can be placed through the Web site. Request multiple copies for an upcoming event (or to get one for each school in your district) by using the comment field in the online form. CD versions of the guide will be available in June.
Two sections of the CFAITC Web site have been updated with content from the guide. Use the bookshelf to search for fiction and non-fiction that will enhance your lessons. Use Ag Weblinks to sort for sites worth exploring in more than 60 categories.

Cotton's Journey Lesson Plan Contest
Deadline: June 10, 2008
Do you use cotton in any of your lessons? Have you designed and used an original lesson plan involving cotton? If so, your efforts may pay off! Original lesson plans, geared towards grades 1-8 and meeting national standards, are eligible for this competition. Three awards, $100, $75, and $50, will be given. Winning curricula will be posted at the 2008 National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference.
For more information, and entry form, visit

Resources for National Garden Month

Watch for the May/June issue of California Country Magazine for more information about gardens.

2008 Monterey Bay Science Conference
Apr. 19, 2008 9:00am-3:30pm, Monterey
Parties interested in improving science and math education for grades K-8 are invited to attend the 11th annual Monterey Bay Science Project regional conference. This year's theme, "Science Matters!," will focus on how scientific concepts and the laws of the natural world give students real reasons to master words, grammar, and syntax. The cost is $50.
For more information, and to register, visit

When You Garden You GROW
Deadline: Apr. 30, 2008
April is National Garden Month and to help celebrate, the National Gardening Association will present gardeners with goods to help them GROW! Prizes are awarded in three categories (school, community, and home gardeners); one entrant in each category will win a selection of tools and products from Ames True Temper and Scotts Miracle-Gro and a gift certificate to the NGA Garden Shop (total value of package: $1,000).
For more information, visit

Music in the Classroom
Find the beat when you bring these ideas into your lesson.

Plant Parts Rap Video Contest
Deadline: May 15, 2008
The Junior Master Gardener Program announces its first video contest! Submit a CD with a video performance of JMG's "Plant Parts Rap." Three winners will receive curriculum; first place will receive a spy-cam birdhouse from NGA.
California Fruit Raps by Karen Adler
After singing along, students will be motivated to make some healthy choices by visiting the produce section at the market. This interactive CD and song book motivates students to eat California fruits.
Food Safety Music
These music videos about food toxicology, including "Veggie Believer" and "We are the Microbes," will teach children and adults alike about food safety. Get your chance to boogie with Dr. Carl Winter in Costa Mesa at conference!
Banana Slug String Band
The Banana Slug String Band brings science and songs together in a way that gets everyone on their feet. Whether it's on CD or live at your school, this group will help create a fun-filled learning experience.

Check out the Teacher Resource Guide for more ideas!

The Great Sunflower Project
Help the bees, add beauty to your garden, and learn about agriculture--all at the same time (even if you don't have a lot of time)! This project, started by Gretchen LeBuhn at San Francisco State University, looks to learn more about the challenges facing bees by collecting data from citizen scientists across the U.S. Here's how it works: sign up on their Web site to request your free seeds, plant your sunflower, observe the plants for 30 minutes twice each month and submit your report online. At the end of the study a coast-to-coast pollination map will show where bees are (and aren't) and will provide valuable information to researchers on how to help pollinators. Also includes recommendations for school gardens.
For more information, and to sign up, visit