Summer vacation for teachers is supposed to be all about taking a break from the classroom, but not all Illinois teachers are doing just that this summer. Many teachers are using that precious summer vacation of theirs to go and educate themselves on how they can incorporate agriculture topics into their classrooms.
These events are called Summer Ag Institutes (SAI) and many counties throughout the state have an Ag in the Classroom coordinator that helps set these events up with the help of the Illinois Ag in the Classroom staff for teachers ranging from PreK-12. The teachers that attend these events are learning everything from butterflies to dairy but they are also taking tours of agriculture facilities within their counties that they can use as resources in their classrooms. Along with that, many coordinators offer time for different commodity group representatives and industry professionals to come in and present on resources they have for teachers to use.
This summer, our communication interns Abby and Shelby, have been traveling the state of Illinois presenting to some of these teachers on how they can incorporate corn into their classrooms. They presented on what Illinois Corn is, who makes it up, and how Illinois corn benefits each and every one of their classrooms. Each teacher that attended these events also received a folder with different educational materials for both them and their students to use in the classroom along with other fun corny resources.
With technology literally taking over classrooms, Shelby and Abby gave the teachers a tour of the newly redone IL Corn website. They showed the teachers where to access the educational resources that we have available to all grade levels. The teachers also got full exposure to our virtual reality players and 360-degree videos about harvesting and planting corn. They were a huge hit, and many teachers plan on using them in their classrooms on their iPads!
If you are or know of a teacher that would benefit from this program next summer please look on the Illinois Ag in the Classroom website or contact your local county farm bureau at the start of the upcoming year to see how to sign up for this amazing event!