Every summer, the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation works with local communities to put together teacher professional development workshops throughout the state. These two-day workshops consist of one tour day in which participants visit local farms and agribusinesses. The second day, participants connect the principles from the first day to lesson plans and activities that tie to Iowa Core standards.
That’s all well and good, but why should you consider taking one of these courses? Let’s break it down.
1. Renewal Credit
These courses are run through AEA PD Online and meet the necessary standards to renew your teaching license. Each course can be taken as one license renewal credit, or one graduate level credit through Drake, Morningside, or Viterbo.
If you don’t need teaching license renewal credit, the course can be taken without credit!
2. It’s Affordable
If you want to take a course for free, you can! The only costs associated are those to get credit. For teaching license renewal credit, courses cost $35. For graduate level credit, courses cost between $55 and $75 total. This includes transportation to tour sites, and lunches!
If you have to take a course, do you really want to sit in a classroom all day and be lectured at, or do you want to go see interesting things in your area? With one full day of tours, you get the chance to not only learn more details about agriculture and agribusinesses in your area, but you can also learn how to connect it to class material that really relates to your students.
In 2017, some tours are being planned for dairy farms, ethanol refineries, an alpaca farm, implement dealerships, wind farms, and so many others!
4. Real World Connections
The amazing thing about agriculture is that it relates to every core subject area. Inevitably, students ask why the things they’re learning about are important. With agriculture, you can tell them why, and point to careers that use those skills.
For example, did you know that a monoslope barn can create a breeze to keep livestock comfortable all year long? This can connect to science and engineering classes!
5. Applicable Assignments
There are assignments involved in the workshops, but they’re directly related to your job as a teacher. By writing two lesson plans to use in your own classroom, and reviewing other teachers’ lesson plans online, you will leave ready for the coming school year!
6. Hands-on Lessons
The second day of the workshop takes place largely in the classroom setting, where teachers learn more about applying agriculture to the core subject areas through activities. Teachers can walk through a variety of lessons that IALF has created that tie to science, social studies, math, and language arts.
Below is pictured a lesson where students work with blocks labeled with vocabulary words from the book, My Family’s Beef Farm. They build sentences and complete other tasks, like sort by syllables, parts of speech, or their familiarity with the word.
7. It’s Local
By working with contacts in local communities, IALF is able to reach teachers across the state, instead of in one centralized location. This also helps relate material back to the students who live in these areas. This summer, IALF will be offering eight different workshops in Clarinda, Eddyville, Moville, Donnellson, LaPorte City, Spencer, Peosta, and Sioux City.
8. Gain Resources
IALF has a host of resources available to teachers, students, and volunteers. By attending one of these workshops, you can learn more about the resources available, and how to use them in your classroom or community. Some resources include lesson plans, publications, and grant programs.
9. Insight From Industry Professionals
The best way to learn about an industry is to talk to the professionals that work in it. Whether you hear from these people during tours, FarmChat® programs, or presentations, you can learn more about the specifics of agriculture and about the careers your students may go into someday.
10. Insight From Your Peers
Throughout the workshop, you will be interacting with other teachers, volunteers, and community members that share similar goals with you. Together, you can discuss topics and brainstorm new and exciting ways to educate your students.
IALF’s professional development workshops really focus on integrating real-world agriculture into the core subjects that students need to learn about. Whether students learn about air movement from cattle barns, measurement from pigs’ feed, or germination from soybeans, there is something for every student — and every teacher — in agriculture.
Anyone is eligible to attend these workshops. If you have an interest in teaching youth in your community about agriculture (or science, social studies, and language arts), these workshops will especially benefit you. For a full listing of our summer workshops and to register, visit this link.
We hope to see you this summer!
P.S. Check out a video about last year’s workshops here!