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Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom provides virtual learning
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Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom provides virtual learning

RICHMOND—Schools are closed, which means parents and teachers are trying to find ways to supplement students’ learning outside of the classroom.

Virtual learning is one way to educate children who are staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic. To help with that, Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom swiftly launched three online campaigns called “Ag Sundays,” “Teach Me Tuesdays” and “Thinker Thursdays.”

“As the COVID-19 impact to families and schools became evident, the staff at AITC quickly saw a need to help,” said Tammy Maxey, AITC senior education manager. “Parents were seeking educational resources to keep their children learning, and educators were seeking sources of online supplemental learning initiatives.”

Available on the nonprofit organization’s Facebook page, the campaigns offer a range of activities, including videotaped instruction and lab demonstrations, games, book readings, experiments for families to conduct at home, and information about additional resources on the AITC website.

To keep students engaged, the campaigns encompass a variety of subjects, including embryology, an animal’s life cycle, seed germination and plant anatomy. Each week also follows a theme—this week’s focus is National Agriculture Week, and next week will center on health and nutrition.

In addition to Facebook, the organization created a Google Drive where teachers, parents and others can register to download free activities and educational materials for at-home use. AITC also implements existing online resources such as its “Farm Life 360” YouTube channel.

The campaigns have been a huge success, according to Maxey. The organization recently received 40,000 page views in a week—tripling its normal count. Many Facebook posts are shared by others, and comments are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, AITC’s first post on a Saturday afternoon went viral in less than 24 hours, Maxey noted.

“People are hungry for things to do with their families. Our priority at this time is to meet the need of families and educators to provide resources for children.”

Maxey anticipates the Facebook campaigns will run for the next six to eight weeks. The online resources on AITC’s website, Facebook and Farm Life 360 on YouTube will remain available indefinitely.

“We anticipate adding additional YouTube videos, new curriculums and resources and future Facebook campaigns,” Maxey shared. “The resources we are building to meet the needs of families and educators today will expand AITC reach now and in the future.”

To learn more about Virginia AITC’s online campaigns and to access resources, visit agclassroom.org/va or facebook.com/VirginiaAgintheClassroom.

Media: Contact Maxey at 804-290-1143.

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