Monday, April 16, 2012

Kenny Community School, Minneapolis MN

This morning Nancy and I drove to Kenny Community School in the southern part of Minneapolis to do three Farm Heritage shows for students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. We wanted to arrive at about 7:15 AM, and we were a bit worried about running into heavy traffic. We decided to leave by 6:15 AM.

Well, traffic turned out to be a non-issue as we crossed the river and turned at Lyndale Avenue without even one slowdown. As we unloaded, very light snow/rain fell, forcing us to cover our equipment as we took it into the school, but the weather, like the traffic, was not as we had feared.

We were greeted with a smile by a lady at the office, who contacted Charles, a custodian who showed us where to set up and carried in some chairs for the teachers. Library Media Specialist, Dianne Kersteter, who arranged our visit to the school, stopped by to chat and thank us for coming. After we set up, I talked with David Horne, who was substituting for the physical education teacher, and he told me some stories about his farm connection. His grandfather, Hans Horne, was the Chippewa County Agent in Wisconsin during the 1930s, a difficult time for farmers and a time that yielded many fascinating stories.
At 8:15 AM, kindergartners assembled, and I started my Farm Heritage Program, 
which included my story, If I Were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure.
Kindergartners hold up two fingers as I demonstrate how to teach a newborn calf 
how to drink out of a pail (above), and (below) they wave to Nancy as she takes their picture.

First grade assembled at 8:45 AM as I begin the program (above), 
and (below) they hold up two fingers as I show them how to teach a calf to drink from a pail.

Second grade students assembled for the program at about 9:20 AM (above),
and (below) they wave and say "Hi" to Nancy as she snaps their picture.

All the students were great audience members, and I was especially pleased with the questions. Many students told stories about their link to the farm. I always encourage them to ask their parents and grandparents to tell their stories of farm life.
Questions by second graders followed by my shortened answers are shown below:
Q. Did you like growing up on the farm?
A. Yes, but there was always work to be done. We took no vacations. In my books I try to show the work and the fun for kids on a farm.
Q. How many pockets in the overall you have on?
A.  Two top snap pockets, a watch pocket, a pencil pocket, a two-in-one tool pocket (I showed him the pliers I carry), deep side and back pockets, a hammer holder.
Question from a first grade girl:
Q. Why do you do this?
A. I want to preserve farm heritage by telling fun stories so readers can see what it was like for kids on a farm in 1950. 
Then I encouraged her to ask her parents and grandparents to tell their stories.
Q. Do you still farm?
A. No I don't and haven't for 12 years. I'm too busy doing this.

Nancy and I wish to thank Mrs. Kersteter for inviting us to visit Kenny Community School, and we'd like to thank the entire staff for making us feel welcome. We had fun and I hope the students did too.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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