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News & Events

School Academic Calendar 2016-17

 

America and Me Essay Contest


Olivia Merkle, an eighth grade student, won 8th place in the state for the America and Me essay contest hosted by the Farm Bureau Insurance Co. More than 400 schools competed in the contest where students wrote about their personal Michigan hero. The essay was a touching story about her "Michigan Hero", her father, Brian Merkle. The award winning essay earned Olivia a trip to the state capital to meet with important government officials where she will receive her award and her $1000 prize money. She will then attend a Lansing Lugnuts baseball game where she and the other 9 winners will be introduced for their abilities in writing. Finally, she will finish her day on a riverboat cruise. Olivia will be accompanied by her parents, Tammy and Brian Merkle, and Mrs. Adams, her English Teacher. Congratulations, Olivia!

Mr. Boldt named Teacher of the Year for Monroe County 

Boldt named Teacher of Year by farm bureau

Mr. Boldt was selected in conjunction with National Agriculture Week that was observed last month. He was nominated for the state award by Richard and Mary Janssens, co-chairmen of the bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee, but did not win, said Anna Sahloff, administrative manager for the bureau.

By Dean Cousino 
Monroe News staff reporter 

John Boldt, a fourth grade instructor at Trinity Lutheran School in Monroe, was named K-12 Educator of the Year by the Monroe County Farm Bureau.

Mr. Boldt was selected in conjunction with National Agriculture Week that was observed last month. He was nominated for the state award by Richard and Mary Janssens, co-chairmen of the bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee, but did not win, said Anna Sahloff, administrative manager for the bureau.

The couple said they nominated him for his excellence in the classroom in integrating agriculture and farming concepts into the curriculum.

“Mr. Boldt is passionate about teaching and his love for students and farming is obvious,” Mrs. Janssens wrote in his nomination. “From his heritage of living and working on his parents’ farm in Shakopee, Minn., in his youth and teenage years, Mr. Boldt has a good understanding of agriculture.”

For each of the past 20 years, fourth graders have completed a farm project assignment with a goal of making the students learn more about farming.

“Children growing up in town have no real idea of what is involved in farming,” Mrs. Janssens said. “He uses this project as an extension of Social Studies’ lessons that revolve around the Midwest region of our country.”

An instructor for 38 years, Mr. Boldt gives students an opportunity to explore challenges, decision making and other avenues of farming through a special project activity.

“The farm models that students prepare are displayed throughout his classroom and hallway so that other classes, parents and visitors may observe, become aware and discuss the aspects of farming,” Mrs. Janssens said.

The Janssens also joined the class on a field trip to Calder Dairy in Carleton, where students were able to bottle feed calves, milk cows, feed goats and enjoy a hayride.

“The students will forever have fond memories of this field trip,” Mrs. Janssens said. “The farm model project and trip are just two examples of Mr. Boldt’s dedication to bringing agriculture and farming into the classroom. His dedication to bringing awareness of agriculture to his students and his love of teaching is apparent in these activities.”

Students work in groups of 3-4 to plan their farm projects. The project is two fold:

To build a three-dimensional farm complete with farm buildings, crops and animals.

To divide their 200-acre farm into various fields. Students decide how many acres will be planted in corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and hay. Land is also designated for pasture, woods or yard. Later in the process, students roll dice to determine how many bushels per acre and dollars per bushel will be earned for each farm and crop.

One of Mr. Boldt’s favorite objectives is to encourage students to work together and learn how to plan and cooperate with one another.

“This activity is loaded with problem solving,” Mrs. Janssens noted. “The students agree on a farm name, acreage for the crop and how they will construct the farm.”

Most groups arrange to meet several times at the home of one of the team members. Buildings and fields need to be planned and then attached to a base. In addition to a house, various sheds and fields, some groups also build ponds, woods, windmills, irrigation systems and furnished buildings.

“He gives them a lot of freedom as to what materials to use and what to include,” she said. “The sky’s the limit as to what they create and include in their farm project.”

When the projects are finished, he interviews each farm “family” and allows them to explain the steps they took, the decisions they made and how the group was able to collaborate. After four weeks, the classroom is filled with miniature farms and third graders visit to see the displays. Fourth graders explain their farms and answer questions from visitors.

“Besides being a valuable lesson for students, this sharing time also gets the third graders excited for next year when they will build a farm,” Mrs. Janssens said.

Farming is a big part of history and a major industry in the Midwest, Mr. Janssens said.

“In science, they talk about water, disease, pollution and weather,” he said. “Each of these items has close connections to farming. Mr. Boldt rolls the dice and makes comments as to why they had a good or bad crop. Those things include rainfall, storms, erosion, weeds and pests. Students come to understand that many aspects of farming are outside of the farmer’s control. Math skills are incorporated when the students divide up the 200 acres and when they tabulate gross income for each crop.”

Designing and building 3-dimensional farms uses many different skills in arts and crafts, too, he said.

 

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