First Grade Fieldwork: Whole Foods Detroit (& meet Miss Barnes!)

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Hi there! My name is Heather Barnes and I will be a senior at the University of Michigan, in my final leg of becoming a certified elementary teacher. I am also the newest official member of the DAA team!! I have been helping out as much as possible since last May, and I was lucky enough to be taken on as official DAA assistant! As some of you might know, our wonderful principal Sharon and first-grade teacher Mrs. McMillan are both on maternity leave - I am here in attempts to help fill in the gaps. Most of my time will be spent in the first-grade, which is why the other week I was able to experience my first field-work with the lovely leaders of DAA that are our first graders.

As we’ve said many times before, our students here at DAA learn by doing. Our expeditionary learning curriculum allows for our students to go beyond the surface level information and experience ideas and concepts hands-on -- something you could hardly do with just a paper and pencil in the confines of a classroom! Our first graders have been learning a lot about plants and crops and life-cycles and growth; you could say that are kids are becoming experts on all things green! We had the opportunity to do some fieldwork at Whole Foods Detroit, and it was an absolute blast.

When the students got to school, they began their initial work in their field notes, brainstorming questions that they could ask the workers of Whole Foods. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the friendliest of staff and our personal tour-guide, Heather. We were given a tour of store and were able to stop at each department, learning a little bit more about every kind of food.

First, we stopped in the produce department. We were able to munch on some fresh cucumbers and learned about how cucumbers grow! We also learned that a lot of the cucumbers and apples in the store are grown right here in Michigan, something that the students were asked to keep track of in their field notes. Then we were each given a bag of beans and impressed Heather with their knowledge of the synonym “legume”. Some of our students were a bit bummed that we couldn’t eat the beans right away, but we attached the bags to our clipboards and headed over to the meat and seafood department. We were able to touch and compare the scales and sliminess of two different kinds of fish, which was both “gross” and “awesome” at the same time, according to our first graders. We were also shown some frozen turkey, which was also Michigan raised (and sparked my favorite question of the morning, “Does turkey really come from turkey?”). Next, we moved on to the cheese department where two friendly workers brought out a huge gouda cheese wheel! We showed the Cheese Guys our DAA habit of character cooperation by helping them hold up the heavy wheel of cheese. One of our own was even named the Queen of Cheese, and she’s a bit excited about it! Then we moved on to the prepared food section where they gave us each a little sample of their kale salad - us adults loved it, but most of our kiddos exclaimed it was a bit too spicy. We were able to feel the pizza dough which is made in house every day, and the Whole Foods cake decorator showed us how she makes a rose with frosting!

Needless to say, it was a great start to our day. And on top of everything, we were even given goody-bags to take home with us! The first-graders were very bummed that we had to leave, but were excited to tell their families how much fun they had and how much they learned, and even wanted to bring their families back to Whole Foods Detroit to show them around!

Once again, I am so excited and grateful to be here at DAA, and can’t wait to be a part of these last months of school.

For the full album of photos, check out the album on our Facebook page here!