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February 21, 2013   Email to Friend 

Ag In The Classroom Applications Due April 15
Mary Johnson

Lee County farmer Frank Randall, center, shares fresh eggs and produce with teachers Kathy DeFoor, left, of Eva School in Morgan County and Jacqueline Hope of Faucett-Vestavia Elementary in Tuscaloosa County during last year’s Ag in the Classroom farm tour.
Teachers seeking new ways to introduce their students to reading, science, math and history can find all that and more at the annual Alabama Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Summer Institute June 4-6 in Birmingham. Educators have until April 15 to apply for the institute.

During the three-day conference, AITC participants learn innovative techniques for integrating agricultural activities into the classroom. Participants tour local farms, speak one-on-one with farmers and gain first-hand insight into producing food and fiber.

“This program is an inspiration for educators who attend,” said AITC Chairman Kim Ramsey. “Participants learn about the importance of agriculture in Alabama, and they pass those lessons on to their students. The visits to farms and discovering agriculture teaching resources are eye-opening experiences for teachers.”

Faucett-Vestavia Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Jacqueline Hope attended the 2012 institute after seeing a flyer for AITC in the teacher’s lounge.

“I just started thinking I need to learn more about agriculture,” Hope said. “The institute really enlightened me on a lot of things. I think everything was my favorite because it is something authentic I never would have gotten by sitting in the classroom.”

The program covers language arts, science, social studies and mathematics skills, including those found in the Alabama courses of study and on the Stanford 9 Test. Educators completing the program will return to their classrooms armed with lesson plans, examples of hands-on learning activities and books to help teach students about agriculture.

Walter Jackson Elementary School librarian and 2012 AITC participant Todd McDonald said the resources he received made him feel prepared to start teaching agriculture lessons on the first day of school.

“I’m excited about the box of stuff we’re getting with the books, DVD, lesson plans and PowerPoints,” McDonald said. “I like that Ag in the Classroom has done a lot of the legwork for us, and we can modify it for our own school.”

Kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers, media specialists, administrators, Extension agents and district conservationists are eligible to attend. AITC fulfills continuing education requirements. Only 95 spots are available, and preference is given to first-time attendees.

Sponsors include the Alabama Farmers Federation, Alfa Insurance, Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Alabama Poultry and Egg Association, Alabama Farmers Federation State Soybean Committee and the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. Proceeds from the sale of ag tag license plates also benefit the program.

For the registration form, visit AlabamaAITC.org. There is no fee to apply or attend. Lodging at the Wynfrey Hotel and meals are provided.

For additional information, contact Kim Ramsey at (334) 612-5370 or email kearwood@alfafarmers.org. Mail applications to Kim Ramsey, Alabama Ag in the Classroom, P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191 or faxed to (334) 284-3957. n


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