Last month brought ISAT testing for many of your classes. As things start changing over to the new Common Core Standards Illinois Ag in the Classroom is working to bring you materials that will continue to be useful in your classroom and help your students succeed in testing. As many of you are, we are all anxiously awaiting the release of the science standards. When asked what curriculum areas Ag in the Classroom fits best we can rank them in this order – 1) Science, 2) English/Literature, 3) Social Studies, 4) Mathematics.
State staff in Bloomington have already started linking some new booklets and materials to the math and language arts standards that have been released, but are waiting for science to make the biggest changes. Two things that teachers are encouraged to do at this point that may help them with Common Core links are as follows:
Exemplar Texts – Check out the Exemplar Texts for the Language Arts standards. Several books that have been used or recommended by Ag in the Classroom are books that are listed in this document. There are also several authors such as Gail Gibbons or Aliki who appear in those texts and are used by Ag in the Classroom.
NonFiction Reading – Students are being encouraged to read more nonfiction texts. Recently Ag in the Classroom has developed what we call Terra Nova readers. These readers were created to help private schools with the Terra Nova tests (such as the ISATS:10 Minutes a Day the AITC Way did). These are GREAT nonfiction readers. They include charts, graphs, vocabulary, and more! Check them out! You can find them for download at www.agintheclassroom.org – teacher resources – terra nova. Our office also has a small supply of color copies that can be requested. Topics include apple, beef, corn, cotton, dairy, pizza, pork, poultry, pumpkins, sheep, soy, and wheat.
-National Garden Month
-Soy Foods Month
-National Landscape Architecture Month
-National Volunteer Week (21-27)
-National Farm Animals Day (10)
-Earth Day (22)
-Arbor Day (26)
The Ford-Iroquois Ag in the Classroom program will not be offering a Summer Ag Institute this summer, however there are several being held around the state. The listing of Summer Ag Institutes around the state is now available and can be found at www.agintheclassroom.org under teacher workshops and 2013 SAI brochure. There are several that will be offered in Champaign. They vary in length, topics and what is offered to teachers as far as professional development (CPDU or grad credit). To sign up for one of these please contact the coordinator directly.
I am now accepting reservations for kits to be checked out this coming school year. I have attached a list of the kits and resources that are available. The list may change a little with a few new resources coming out. The Chick It Out Kit will be on a first come first served basis. If you want this contact me NOW!! It fills up fast. Teachers who do not get it for the 2013-14 school year will be put on a waiting list for the next school year and will have first choice at dates. Call 815-268-4051 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your kits. If you have any questions please contact me. Sign up early to get the kits of your choice.
University of Illinois Extension has a Helping Children Succeed in School website. The site offers parents and caregivers practical steps to help children be successful in school and have good studying skills. In addition, it suggests ways for parents to communicate effectively with teachers and school personnel. You can visit the website at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/succeed
Did you miss the Ag in the Classroom workshops and booths at the Kindergarten Conference or the Reading Conference in March? Well, if you did there is still a way to get the information that was given out. Visit www.agintheclassroom.org and look under teacher workshops. There you will find the handouts, booth activities, etc all for you to download.
Many teachers are familiar with the Ag Mags that At in the Classroom provides free of charge. Some of the Ag Mags have been getting a new look. They will still be available in print, but now some of them are interactive when you view them on the web. Currently the apple, corn, dairy, livestock, tree, nutrition, pork, pumpkin, renewable energy, soil and soybean Ag Mags are interactive. To view the interactive Ag Mags go to www.agintheclassroom.org and look under the Teacher Resources Section. If you need hard copies of any of the Ag Mags let me know by e-mail or call the office. They are still free of charge.
The Illinois Ag in the Classroom Grant forms are now available. These grants are open to teachers who want to incorporate agriculture in their classroom. Several have used these funds to create units in their classrooms, add books to their library, and more. The applications are not due until October, but now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to do if you had the extra money. Grants are worth $250. In addition to the general grants there are special grants for first year teachers and special book grants. For the grant application and judging criteria visit www.agintheclassroom.org under teacher resources and grants. Last year four of our teachers were awarded grants. You may apply for more than one grant (for example the general grant and a book grant).
Don't forget about the ready to use Smart Board lessons that are available on the Illinois Ag in the Classroom website. There are currently lessons on Agriculture and Money; Apples; Change for a Dollar; Commodity Cash Crash; Horses; Pumpkins; Sweet Traits (DNA), Tassel to Table (Corn) and Very Hungry Illinois Caterpillar (this one will be used in the April/May presentations for schools).
To access these lessons visit www.agintheclassroom.org under teacher resources and SMART Lessons.
Come say farewell and good luck to Aimee as she departs from University of Illinois Extension to pursue another challenge. An open house will be held on Tuesday, June 11 from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Ford-Iroquois Extension office in Onarga.
Do you do a nutrition unit or are you looking for some great posters for your lunch room? Illinois Ag in the Classroom has taken the USDA's My Plate and added an agriculture twist to it. Posters are available that show the My Plate diagram as well as stories about the farmers who grow the grains, milk the cows, etc. There are also great lesson plans to go along with these posters. The lesson plans can be found on www.agintheclassroom.org. Posters can be downloaded on the website too, but there is a good supply of them still at the Extension Office. To get one call 815-268-4051 or e-mail Aimee at email@example.com.