When Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary School teacher Jana Everett decided to create a classroom garden for her second grade students, she wanted her students to participate from planning to harvest.
"My students helped construct the raised beds and even covered them to create a mini greenhouse to start seeds," said Everett.
Everett efforts to engage her students while integrating agriculture into the Mississippi curriculum standards for gifted education earned her statewide honors as Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation of the Year.
The hands-on garden created a deeper connection for students as they learned about pollination and chloraphyll and allowed Everett to maximize their learning experience.
"We used some the vegetable plants that we grew to conduct a chloraphyll study, and students could visually see how leafy, green vegetables are rich in nutrients," explained Everett.
Students also used cheese balls to mimic the function of a butterfly, or any insect, pollinating flowers, an important process in the life cycle of plants.
Everett, an 18 year teaching veteran, is a National Board Certified teacher, and she holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Mississippi State University and a master's degree in gifted studies from Mississippi University for Women.
As the MS Farm Bureau Teacher of the Year, Everett was awarded a $500 classroom grant.