Hello! My name is Danielle Gerndt, and I am the new Ag in the classroom coordinator for Ford and Iroquois counties! I am replacing the famous Aimee Chandler, and I know I have big shoes to fill!
I am a recent graduate from Illinois State University, where I majored in Agribusiness and Horticulture. I have an extensive farm background, and have seen more pigs in my life than I care to mention! I have always had a passion for agriculture, and hope to pass that along to your students through my programs this year.
I have some exciting things that I am looking forward to bringing you this fall! I am in the process of planning our teacher workshop, covering the Illinois mAGic Kit, for October 17th. We will also be having the 2nd annual Career Night on November 7th. Please look for more details in future newsletters.
If you have any other questions for me, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail. Our phone number is 1-815-268-4051, and I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
I look forward to working with you this school year!
Welcome the 2013-14 school year. Many of you may now be aware of Agriculture in the Classroom and what it is. Most of our schools are now using some part of this FREE program for schools. For the last few years our program has been helping teachers incorporate teaching agriculture concepts (where food comes from, what is growing in fields around us and how it is used, etc) into their classrooms without adding programs or taking away from curriculum requirements.
Our overall goal is to educate youth and adults about the importance of agriculture to society. We focus on the production of food, fiber and fuel. Ask yourself, "Can I live a day without agriculture?" The answer is NO. Most kids think of agriculture as cows, tractors, and corn even in our rural area. Help me teach them that there is so much more to this industry. Did you know one farmer feeds over 152 people?
There are a large number of resources available on many topics. Most of the material available is directly linked with the Illinois Learning Standards, Illinois Assessment Frameworks, and Core Curriculum (we are working to link them with the Next Generation Science Standards) and is built to fit into existing academic areas.
If you are interested or just want to know more about the program please contact me at 815-268-4051 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be happy to talk with you to decide the best course of action for your classroom.
These are some of the main resources we offer in our two counties. If you are interested in any of them or would like more information please contact Danielle Gerndt at 815-268-4051 or email@example.com.
Monthly Newsletter – The Ag Awareness Express is a monthly newsletter you will receive once a month by e-mail. It is typically two pages long (this one is a little longer since it is the first one of the year). It will include any upcoming events that may be of interest to teachers and/or students, list new resources, grant opportunities and more.
Ag Literacy Blog – This blog will be updated every couple of weeks with agriculture facts, short activities, book lists, or websites to visit. The blog can be found by visiting the Ford-Iroquois Agriculture in the Classroom webpage at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/agclass/. The link can be found in the blue box on the right.
You will also receive notice when a new posting has been made via e-mail.
Resource Kits – Our office has many resource kits that teachers can check out to use. They are loaned out for a month at a time. Each kit consists of a tub containing a binder of lesson plans and many of the items needed to complete the activities. The only thing you may need to purchase is a few consumable items. A listing and description of the kits available is with this newsletter. If you would like to view any of the kits before use please let me know. There is no charge to use these kits and are available on a first come first served basis. This year, it will be the teachers' responsibility to pick up and drop off the kit at the beginning and end of each month. If you would like to schedule a presentation to go with the kit, we will bring you the kit on the scheduled program day. To make arrangements for pick up or drop off please call or e-mail.
Presentations – Presentations are available on a variety of agriculture topics. They are open to all grade levels and will be appropriate activities for the grade. Each presentation will last about 45-60 minutes (time can be adjusted) and may include a story, hands on activities, and possibly a snack. Each month a different topic will be presented. Here is the schedule of topics for 2013:
September – Pigs
October/ November – Pumpkins
December/January – Trees
February/March – Horses
Presentations are scheduled on a first come first served basis. Additional areas you want addressed can also be scheduled with Danielle (ie. 100 Days of Agriculture for 100 Day, etc) as time allows.
Career Presentations – Presentations are available for career days for all grades. We will be hosting a career night this fall for high school students, but will be available to do shorter presentations to younger grades if desired.
Teacher Presentations – Teacher workshops are planned occasionally to introduce teachers to new resources that compliment their curriculum. Presentations can also be done for teacher institutes or SIP days. We will be planning a teacher workshop sometime this fall to introduce those interested in the Illinois mAGic kit to the resources available within.
Miscellaneous Items – A variety of other items area also available including: Illinois Agriculture Coloring Books, Soy Crayons, Ag Mags (see description on sheet listing kits available), bookmarks, etc. We can also give ideas for ag related field trips both local and distant. Watch for field trip ideas in the October newsletter!
A majority of this information can also be found on our Ag in the Classroom website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cfiv/agclass/.
You may ask "How did I get on your list?" Well, at the beginning of the school year I compile a list of all educators as Ag in the Classroom has something for everyone. I try to get e-mail addresses for everyone to help cut down on the postage costs. If you are receiving this by hard copy it is because I do not have your e-mail address or I have had problems getting the newsletter to you by e-mail. If you wish to have your information from me sent via e-mail please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you wish to receive it at a different e-mail address please let me know. If you requested to be removed from the list you will need to request again this year. Sometimes teachers change positions and their new position may benefit from AITC, so I start the year over. Don't think Ag in the Classroom can benefit what it is you teach? I beg to differ!! Just ask me how or ask the PE, Music, Math, Health, or other teachers who attended the Summer Ag Institute!
Will I clog your inbox? That is not my intention! You will receive an e-mail close to the
beginning of the month with the newest monthly newsletter and one every time a
new blog is posted. So that means about 2-3
e-mails per month. Now occasionally I am
sent resources or opportunities that can't wait until the next newsletter
because of deadlines, etc so I may send out an extra one now and again.
Remember these programs are free of charge. As our schools face tough times many of these
programs are going to become helpful to your curriculum. As a parent and an educator I want to help
get you the information you need to help teach our students.
The Illinois Ag in the Classroom website has added some new features! One fun new addition is their TAG-riculture initiative.
What they are trying to do is help to enable idea sharing between teachers and coordinators throughout the state who utilize Ag in the Classroom. There have been some practices already posted, and there are expected to be many more once the school year gets into its full swing.
Their idea is to create a topic for each month, and allow teachers and coordinators to post their "best practices" using Ag in the classroom and incorporating it into their own lessons or programs.
You can access the TAG-riculture timeline by going to www.agintheclassroom.org and clicking on the TAG-riculture link. There you will be able to either submit your own best practice, or click to view what others have already submitted.
If this seems like something you would be interested in, be sure to check the website often for new ideas from teachers like you!
Each year, the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program and the IAA Foundation give $250 teacher grants to pre-school through High School teachers across the state of Illinois to fund projects promoting agricultural literacy in the classroom. Projects may be, but are not limited to, agricultural teaching units, classroom presentations, and career fairs. This year there are special book grants available. You may apply for both the book grant and the general grant. These applications are fairly easy to fill out and are due in Bloomington by 4 p.m. on October 1, 2013 (faxed and e-mailed applications are accepted). For more information or an application contact Danielle or visit www.agintheclassroom.org under grants.
This past May, we were able to hear from a few people regarding resources to help spread elementary career awareness. The Illinois State Board of Education has grant money available for teachers to be awarded if they are interested in using some of their knowledge in the classrooms. For more information about the grant, what services are offered, and who to contact, you can go to www.isbe.net/career.
If you teach in Ford county, your representative is Nick Elder at Education for Employment Systems. You can access their website at www.efe330.orgIroquois county schools should go through Leo Sherman at Iroquois Area Regional Delivery System. His e-mail is email@example.com
Also at our meeting in May, we were able to hear about the new activities posted at www.agriculturaleducation.org. On their website, you will now be able to find a variety of math lesson activities that will fit in with the common core standards. The topics range from agribusiness, to animals, to horticulture, all while incorporating standards each teacher needs to reach.
You teach GEOGRAPHY – Travel the world by discovering how climate, altitude, soil types, and other elements influence the food and fiber systems that provide students with almost everything that they eat, wear, and use on a daily basis.
You teach SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY – Agriculture has changed science and technology in major ways over the past 100 years. Just think of the possibilities for science fair projects.
You teach BUSINESS & ECONOMICS – Agriculture is a significant industry in both national and international economies. Examine how agriculture affects supply and demand on pricing and products.
You teach HISTORY – Agriculture has had a significant impact on history and heritage of world civilizations. From ancient Egypt to colonial times, agriculture tells the story of how civilizations emerged.
You teach LANGUAGE ARTS – Explore creative writing by displaying some printed advertisements for nutritious foods. After the students read them, guide them in identifying and describing features of the ads. Challenge them to choose a food and create their own ad.
You teach MATH – Agriculture provides an innovative and hands-on twist to standard mathematical curriculum. Use Agricultural Statistics to help students solve math problems.