The air is getting crisper, the leaves are starting to change and the combines are in the field. This can mean only one thing – FALL IS HERE! I encourage you to take a few minutes and talk with your students about fall on the farm. There are so many great teaching/learning opportunities that are all around us. Fall is an amazing time for agriculture and a great time to introduce your students to why agriculture is important to each of us. If you have not attended an Ag in the Classroom event before or used some of our resources I highly encourage you to come to the workshop on October 23. I will teach you how you can take only 15 minutes a day or even a week to introduce your students to agriculture (our counties' most valuable resource!)
There are so many teaching opportunities around us in the fall waiting for you to take advantage of them. Here are some ideas to get you started.
-Look at the trees outside your school. Track the changes in color or the dropping of the leaves.
-Does your school have a corn/soybean field that you can see close? Contact the farmer to have him give you notice before he combines it. Watch from your school yard how the crop comes out. What machines do they use?
-Visit a pumpkin patch/apple orchard.
-Bring in a pumpkin. Estimate size, number of seeds, pounds it weighs, thickness of pulp/rind, etc. Then take actual measurements and see how close you came.
-Have an apple taste test with different apple varieties.
-Talk about changes in the plants and grass. Perennials return each year, but will go dormant in the winter. Annuals will not come back year after year.
Youth/AITC Program Coordinator
Does your school celebrate Dr. Suess's birthday? Do you have a 100 Days of School celebration? Ag in the Classroom has resources to help you celebrate these days. For more information contact Aimee.
-National Popcorn Poppin' Month
-World Farm Animals Day (Oct. 2)
-World Egg Day (Oct. 12)
-National Caramel Apple Day (Oct. 31)
During the months of October I will be offering a program on soils. We will be focusing on the importance of soil, what soil is made up of. We will take a look at some soil and maybe even make a snack!
If your class is interested in this program please contact Aimee at email@example.com or 815-268-4051. Programs can be scheduled for 30-60 minutes and include hands on activities.
Mark your calendars now for October 23! I will be hosting an interactive workshop from 4-6 p.m. at the Extension office in Onarga. The workshop will feature quick and easy make and takes and activities that you can use in your classroom to bring in a little bit of agriculture to what you are already teaching. Two CPDUs will be available for those who attend. As an extra incentive those teachers who sign up to attend by October 15 will be put into a drawing to win a prize pack! Watch for more workshops to be held in the future as well!
There are lots of ways to keep up with Illinois Ag in the Classroom online. From twitter to You Tube/Teacher Tube to blogs. Check out these online resources to find out the latest in Illinois Ag in the Classroom including videos, new resources and more!
- Follow Illinois Ag in the Classroom on Twitter
- Like the Illinois Ag in the Classroom Facebook page
- Read the Ford-Iroquois Ag Literacy Lines Blog at www.extension.uiuc.edu/ford
- You Tube Channels: Illinois Ag in the Classroom (IAITC), Illinois Corn Growers (ilcorn), Illinois Soybean (ilsoybean)
- Kevin Daugherty, IAITC Director, has a blog that is great at http://ilagintheclassroom.blogspot.com/
Many of our schools now have SMART boards, Active boards, etc. Illinois Ag in the Classroom has seen this as well and have created some lessons that are ready to use in you classroom. They can be found on the website at www.agintheclassroom.org. Lessons on pumpkins, apples, corn, DNA, horses, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and more are available. To run these lessons you must have Notebook 10 or newer. That software can be downloaded at http://www.smarttech.com/us/Support/Browse+Support/Download+Software. Check out the lessons today!
Are you looking for some great books to go into your collection? I have created a list of several agricultural related books for all grade levels. Many of these books have AR point values associated with them. To obtain a copy of the list which includes the title, author, ISBN, and AR points e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find a suggested book list on the Illinois Ag in the Classroom webpage under teacher resources.
Are you excited about Ag in the Classroom and want to learn more? Consider attending a National Ag in the Classroom Conference. These conferences will get you excited for teaching! The 2013 National Ag in the Classroom Conference is going to be held June 25-28 in Minneapolis, Minnesota! The theme is Land of 10,000 Ag Opportunities. Guest speakers include author Cris Peterson and the FOOD Network's Andrew Zimmern.
If you have attended a Summer Ag Institute and loved it, you will LOVE the National Conference. It is a fantastic experience. Scholarships are usually available for teachers who want to attend. Watch for more information in coming months on this conference. You can also visit the conference website at http://www.agclassroom.org/conference2013/index.htm.
Don't forget that the Ag Mags are here for you to use FREE of charge. All you have to do is call and I can get them to you. The shelves here are stocked and ready to be emptied. The list of ag mags available is on the Ford-Iroquois Ag in the Classroom webpage and also listed on the resource list sent last month. Some of the Ag Mags are interactive and can be found on the Illinois Ag in the Classroom webpage.
AG CAREERS – New materials on Ag Careers are available. This is perfect for a career day! Materials include a binder full of over 50 career profiles, posters, and a pull up standing display (over 6 ft tall).
TERRA NOVA – Several private schools use Terra Nova for their standardized tests. Materials have been developed to help prepare students for these tests using agricultural themes. In addition to test preparation questions a new commodity flyer (similar to the Ag Mags) is available. These are also great for COMMON CORE as they are excellent Reading for Information resources. Topics include: apple, beef, corn, cotton, dairy, pizza, pork, poultry, pumpkins, sheep, soybeans & wheat.
For more information on these materials or how you can use them contact Aimee.