Kansas Foundation for Ag in the Classroom – Kim Curran

(Jena) How does a woman working as a Federal Meat Grader end up teaching elementary school kids? Well, Kim Curran did just that, has been teaching for 18 years now. A farming, ranch girl all her life, Curran studied Animal Science and Industry at Kansas State University and received her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Following graduation she began working for the USDA Federal Meat Grading Service. Curran would later transition her career to education, beginning with working as a substitute teacher and later a paraprofessional before pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. Curran is currently a fifth grade teacher at R.V. Haderlein Elementary in Girard, Kansas. With her degrees she has been able to spread her passion for both teaching and agricultural awareness simultaneously. Her dedication to both fields was recognized this year when she received the 2015 Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Excellence in Teaching Awards. Curran enjoys being a facilitator of learning and seeing kids explore the world of learning. She feels it’s vital for all of us, not just her students, whether involved in production agriculture or not, to know how our food, fuel and fiber reaches our plates, homes, cars, and closets. Curran continues to be deeply rooted in agriculture. She and her husband, along with their five children, raise beef cattle and meat goats. Their three daughters and oldest son, have followed a similar path, all studying agriculture at K-State. Their youngest son is a Freshman at Girard High School. With this background, Curran utilizes information taken from the farm and transforms it into hands-on lesson plans, fun activities, and even field trips where students learn about local agriculture and why it is important. Curran enjoys helping her students make the connections to their food supply and learning about all the other products that come from agriculture. One activity Curran has implemented with her students is creating Agriculture Pizzas. She challenges students to choose three pizza toppings and research information about them before creating their pizza artwork for display. Another one of Curran’s favorite agriculture related activities is taking field trips to local farms. It exposes students to information about products they use everyday that are made from agriculture commodities, allowing them to have a much greater appreciation of agriculture. The farmers and ranchers appreciate the opportunity to assist in the exposure of their world to the students, Curran says. Curran’s goal is for her students to learn the farm-to-table process early on so that they will be better educated consumers and able to make important decisions as young adults. Her approach is to increase the exposure of agriculture through fun, hands-on activities and hopefully lay the foundation for them to be agriculture advocates. To read about work Curran is doing in her classroom and to learn about other Teacher Features, visit the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom’s website at ksagclassroom.org and click on the Teacher Feature sidebar.

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