Lincoln Students Learn More About Grapes Through ELA, Music And Math

Lincoln Elementary School students, Raegan Karash, Zander Tibbetts and Maria Stone enjoy reading with Cornell Cooperative Extension volunteer Pat Martonis.

Lincoln Elementary School kindergarteners through second-graders discovered more about grapes through a unique collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension, Lincoln Library Media Specialist Jennie Vaughn and Lincoln Music teacher Cathy South.

Each year, Cornell Cooperative Extension visits JPS classrooms with community readers on a subject that is important to Western New York’s agriculture. This year, the topic was grape production. Guest readers, Pat Martonis and Dave Wilfong, visited classrooms reading The Grapes Grow Sweet, written by Lynne Tuft and Tessa DeCarlo. The guest readers also gave facts about grape production in New York, how grapes are grown and the different varieties of grapes. Students had an opportunity to try two different types of grape juices, Niagara and Concord, and compare and contrast what was similar and what was different. Cornell Cooperative Extension donates the book to the Lincoln School library at the end of the visit.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension’s lesson corresponds with what the students are learning in class including: kindergarten (plants, farms, seasons and weather and taking care of the earth), first grade (animals and habitats) and second grade (cycles of nature).

Starting last year, Mrs. Vaughn and Mrs. South decided to extend the agricultural ELA lesson to include music and math. During music class, Mrs. South taught the students three songs, “A Groovy Green Grape,” and “I’m a Little Purple Grape” – all sung to popular tunes like, “If you are Happy and You Know It.” Mrs. South reviewed the song lyrics and motions so students could learn the melody prior to singing. She also showed a video called The Grape Song with dancing grapes and more facts about grapes, which the students performed.

During the taste-testing part of the visit, students also analyzed data and came up the percentages of the class that liked the Concord versus Niagara grape juices for math practice.

“This kind of community outreach is vital as it encourages local people to come in to read and share their agricultural knowledge which, in turn, peaks student interest because many of students have seen and tasted those local fruits over the years but don’t necessarily have the background knowledge about them,” said Mrs. Vaughn. “Mrs. South and I enjoy expanding on the topics that the Cornell Cooperative Extension bring to us to incorporating music, vocabulary, reading, and math to really round out the lesson.”