| USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
OSHKOSH – Not much about education is the same this school year, while the coronavirus pandemic drags on and many districts across the state opt to provide instruction entirely online.
So Betty Glatting, a second grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary, has made it her mission to search high and low for new ways to make learning engaging.
“It’s challenging to keep the kids motivated at home,” Glatting said. “Any way I can get them excited about learning in a different way, I’ll try it. I think parents and the kids appreciate us trying new things right now.”
Her latest tactic in her quest to make online learning fun? A virtual field trip, featuring rather “amoosing” visitors: Oreo, a Holstein cow, joined by her owner, Dan Brick, a fifth-generation Wisconsin dairy farmer who owns Brickstead Dairy Farm in the nearby Greenleaf.
“Oh my goodness! What do you see?” a teacher is shown asking, as Oreo makes her on-screen debut.
“A cow!” the youngsters shout back in unison, their eyes wide and mouths agape with excitement. Some students donning masks in classrooms frantically wave hello. At home, a little girl is seen throwing two big thumbs-up. A little boy looks over at his mom with disbelief and amazement.
Nearly all are grinning ear to ear.
The virtual tour of the farm, which is home to 1,000 dairy cows, is part of a Kemps and Dairy Farmers of America effort to educate children about how milk makes its way from farms like Brick’s onto their tables, and to make learning fun even if it’s without “human touch.”
Glatting jumped at the opportunity to overcome “Zoom fatigue,” and for her pupils to learn a bit about what her upbringing on a farm in the Wausau area looked like.
“It was so fun to see the kids’ reactions,” Glatting said. “Having grown up on a farm myself, I loved that my students had a chance to experience farm life.”
During the visit, Glatting’s second grade classroom — along with several other first grade classes from Roosevelt and Franklin Elementary — heard from Brick firsthand about what it’s like to run a dairy farm.
Brick told them about how milk travels an average of 315 miles from the farm to a local store, then undergoes strict controls to ensure its quality, purity and taste.
He shared with them how many grocers in the Green Bay area get their milk from his farm. He also taught the students about cow biology, delved into the nutritional benefits of milk, and gave them a look at Oreo’s typical day on the farm.
And the students got the chance to ask “Farmer Brick,” as they called him, their most pressing questions.
One little girl, sporting cow spots drawn on her face and a white-and-black polka dot scrunchie, asked how long cows live. Others questioned why cows make milk, and whether their milk is OK to drink.
After Brick demonstrated what milking looks like and the machinery that goes along with it, students asked why he wasn’t using his hands to milk the cows.
“Because my hands would get very sore,” he answered with a smile.
Later on, the children had the opportunity to show off their trivia skills.
Asked how many stomachs a cow has, they all held up fingers to reveal their answers. One boy, shown waving four fingers at the camera from his home, celebrated his correct answer by jumping up from his chair and pumping his fist into the air.
“That’s literally his personality,” Glatting said through laughs, reflecting on that moment. “Seeing that excitement again was really cool.”
MORE: Staffing Wisconsin schools is a ‘nightmare’ amid teacher unease, substitute shortage and quarantines
MORE: Kaukauna superintendent says schools risk closing if families don’t comply with COVID-19 procedures
Contact reporter Samantha West at 920-996-7207 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BySamanthaWest.
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