Teacher Feature – Leslie Larson

Posted: January 20, 2022


School: Cortland Elementary School

Grade: 1st Grade

Number of years teaching: 29

Farm Bureau/Ag Literacy connection: I am currently the Ag Literacy Ambassador for Cortland Elementary. I have also attended 3 Summer Ag Institutes at the Farm Bureau and enjoy the resources available to my class.

What is your favorite unit to teach? I always look forward to the fall and teaching about the life cycle of pumpkins. There are so many fun hands-on activities that can be done with pumpkins. We also keep a pumpkin in a jar and watch how it changes during the school. The students love this!

What do you enjoy most about teaching? My favorite thing about teaching is watching the students become fluent readers. Many students feel they will never learn to read and are suprrised when they can.

Why is it important for students to learn about food and farming? Agriculture education is crucial and provides students the opportunities to learn the importance of agriculture in our everyday lives. Many students are not aware that we depend on agriculture for not only food on our table, but for medicine, clothing, career opportunities, etc.

Share one memorable teaching story. We always celebrate the 100th Day of first grade. One year we had giant balloons in the shape of 100 but one of the 0’s blew away so we then decided to celebrate the 101st day of first grade. We dress up as Dalmatian dogs now. It’s a lot more fun!


Hometown: Sandwich

Family: Husband, Dwain, and two daughters, Jessica and Jamie

College/Degree(s): Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from NIU, and a Master’s Degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction from NIU

What did you want to be when you grew up? I recall thinking I would like to be a teacher in my early teens.


Quote: “Students don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Unknown

Hobbies: Gardening, camping, time with family and friends

Book: “The First Forest” by John Giles

Music: Classic Rock

Sports team: Chicago Blackhawks

TV show: “Friends”

Travel destination: Hawaii, but I’d love to see the Grand Canyon one day!