News & Publications
Onto the Next Chapter
All good books must come to an end, although many stay with you forever. My role at the Farm Bureau is also ending this month although the memories will remain forever. It’s been a wonderful journey started by Haley and Bob along with Jill and all my current and former peers.
Keeping the Resources Coming in 2021
January is the time we typically create a neat and tidy list of goals for the upcoming year in our personal and work lives. I will not bore you with personal goals (although my family thinks my goals should be to lighten up, let loose, and stop worrying which do not exactly align to my goals at all). On the work front, however, goals have been reviewed by our Ag Literacy Team and we are ready to create an engaging year of educational options.
Looking through the headlines that summarized 2019 you realize how fast life is passing by. The events that were chronicled surely must have happened a long time ago, not just 12 months ago. Right? Wrong. In thirty short days a new list will be out summarizing 2020. Do we really need a list of what we have all been through in 2020? Of course, we do. Perhaps for a future history lesson or perhaps to make us realize how the strong need to help the weak as those definitions can change at the drop of a hat.
First there was the flipped classroom that focused on interactive student learning that included discussions, projects, and collaboration while teachers guided student learning. Teamwork was a regular part of the school day. Our agriculture lessons could not have been more perfect for providing hands-on, interactive experiences. Having students work together as we visited was a key part of the lessons. Then came COVID and everything flipped, and we are now flip-flopping between educational models daily.
"What can you get for $20?"
There’s not much you can get for $20 a year nowadays. As our Ag in the Classroom has been creating new programs for virtual learning, we are finding that it is a challenge to create content without a subscription or membership to enhance things beyond the basics.
"Welcome Back to Learning"
Normally it would be great to say to all of you in September, “Welcome back to school!” This COVID year, however, does not afford me the opportunity to use that phase as I have no idea as of this writing who will be going back to school. I am hopeful that all students will be going to back learning whether it be in-person, remote, via homeschool, or through a hybrid model of some type.
We had the good fortune to spend a week at a cottage we have rented for many years. Somehow this yearly tradition seemed extra special this year for several reasons. First and foremost, we had our family of five together for the first time in a long time. Second, we had picture perfect weather and the lake was very warm. Third, we had new focal points: catching fish, talking, and not the listening to the news.
"Escape with a book"
We’ve been given a gift this spring and summer, the gift of time. This summer promises to hold fewer summer classes, camps, pool outings, sporting events, and parties to name a few.
"Source of Joy"
The orioles brought much needed joy. There seems to have been such a lack of joy this past month, but perhaps I was thinking of the glass half empty vs. half full. I was missing the continuity of seeing our teachers, our presenters, my co-workers, family, and friends. Those sources of joy were absent, and I was not seeing the new signs of joy as I was so stressed about what was next in this new reality.
"Keep the Learning Going"
We have been asked to do a lot this past month and have also been asked to not do a lot. While every individual has had to make their own choices, parents didn’t have a choice in taking on the role of teacher.
A Changing World this Earth Day
A few months ago, I wrote about not understanding something unless you’ve experienced it. Unfortunately, we have a whole new generation experiencing something that none of us have experienced but will most certainly always remember.
"May the Lessons Continue"
The past decades appear to have changed the landscape of education drastically, but have things really changed? Tools and terminology changes moved from encyclopedias to Google, filmstrip projectors to YouTube, chalkboards to Smartboards, slide rules to calculators to name a few.
"The Waiting Game"
Regular decision, early action, early decision, rolling admissions, and the list goes on. Many students and parents are currently receiving and awaiting decisions on college applications.
"Let the Celebration Begin"
It’s a big year and we hope you’ll be a part of the celebration! You’re going to be hearing a lot about 100 in 2020 as that is the theme of the year for the Cook County Farm Bureau as we reach our 100th anniversary.
Upon return from a quick November weekend to visit family in Utah, I checked on my houseplants and to my surprise our Christmas Cactus was bursting with pink buds. This crazy weather has confused the cactus as much as me. I was rather excited to see the cactus blooming as we had missed the beauty of the desert flowers out west.
Thankful for "the team"
Our “team” of ag literacy professionals is out and about and running full steam ahead as you read this. Their schedules are full and winning record continues, just like our Chicago Bears (hopefully as of this writing). We all play an important role both here at the farm bureau and out at the schools. Here’s a look at some similarities between football terms and our Ag In the Classroom world in Cook County.
"The List Keeps Changing"
It’s hard to keep up with the changing landscape of food choices and make the right decision on what is best for our bodies. Back in the 80s and 90s, the media and marketers gave us many recommendations on just what to eat to stay healthy.
"That's what they Do!"
The smell of new crayons, the points of newly sharpened pencils and the cleanliness of the new backpack. Yes, I miss the beginning of the school year and the tradition of sending my kids out the door all excited to experience their first day of school. As parents, that’s what we do. Prepare our kids for the first day of school and to prepare them to receive an education that will prepare them for the future.
“Students get interested in things they’re exposed to”. Dr. Temple Grandin, keynote speaker at the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in June.
" Voice of a Farmer's Daughter"
As I glanced through my Facebook posts, I came upon this piece posted by my sister-in-law and knew I wanted to share it with you. While I am not a farmer’s daughter, I felt her experience after reading the post.
After a 30-year hiatus, I returned to Germany and Austria with my husband to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We had visited this region on our honeymoon and felt it would be the perfect way to kick-off the next 30 years.
My children travel a great deal and I often live vicariously through them as the thought of a 15+ hour flight doesn’t seem enjoyable to me any longer. I feel a sense of pride that something we did along the way inspired their love of travel and curiosity to learn about other cultures in the world.
What a Waste
I don’t order a lot online because when I do, there’s usually some crazy problem or it takes forever to get to me. Case in point was a sticker I ordered as a stocking stuffer that took 8 weeks to arrive (which was well after Christmas). I’ll take the blame as I didn’t notice it was being sent from halfway around the world.
As March approaches I am excited to leave behind the crazy weather of February and enjoy the traditions of March including leprechauns, the first day of spring, National Ag Day, daylight savings time (March 10th) and March Madness.
Recently, there has been a steady stream of news about customs and border patrol, although little is known or mentioned when it comes to the importance of that control as it relates to agriculture.
Last fall I had the pleasure of hosting some lifelong friends at our house for an extended weekend. The lead up to the visit included much cleaning, menu planning, tour ideas, shopping for groceries and more cleaning. Every “to do” list item was checked and re-checked, especially as it related to the food items.
Not a Dream
As the end of the year approached, it was time to get all of those last-minute tune-ups and check-ups which included one very interesting conversation about agriculture.
As we anticipate the celebration of Thanksgiving this month, we join many cultures in being thankful for the food provided by our farmers. No matter what your tradition is for Thanksgiving, whether it be football or turkey, it all originates from the farm.
Maybe Next Year
Corn and more corn, soybeans, wild turkeys, deer, cattle, a double rainbow and we hadn't even arrived yet.
The Cook County Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom is looking to add a contract Presenter to our AITC Program which has been serving classrooms in our county for over 30 years.
Hard to believe, but September has arrived and school either has or is about to begin again.
I’m anxious to begin planting and hope my seeds and seedlings produce good results. I’ll think of this book as I plant, and I will also think about the seeds of knowledge our Ag in the Classroom presenters planted this school year. More on that topic next month.
Time seems to fly by year after year and only after looking back at some of the inventions from the past do I really sense how fast things are changing. It’s crazy to think of how long ago some things were invented and their continued impact today or their quick demise being replaced by another product.
Earth Day and Our Natural Resources will be the theme of our professional development workshop for teachers on April 17th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Learn new ways to incorporate the topics of soil, water, erosion and more into your curriculum during this two hour program held at the Cook County Farm Bureau.
Join the fun at our hands-on educator PD featuring the topics of seeds, eggs and embryology. Learn new ways to bring science, math and language arts to your curriculum using agriculture resources. Attendees will walk away with free resources and lesson plans. Pre-registration required by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 708-354-3276.
"Smell the Roses": This month features the holiday that some love and some loath. Whatever way you look at it, Valentine’s Day is hard to avoid. It’s also a huge economic boom often bringing in over $18 billion according to the National Retail Federation. Approximately one-third of that total represents floral sales, which falls just below candy and cards.
New Year, New Labels: With the new year often comes New Year’s resolutions. What are the most common resolutions? Exercise more, lose weight and eat healthier are often the frontrunners. Just how does one eat healthier? I say by reading the labels and, as one of our classroom presenters Toni teaches, eat as close to the farm as possible. I love that saying!
What toys do you get a child this holiday? It’s hard not to get caught up in the non-stop advertisements for toys and gifts. Television ads started the day after Halloween, newspaper pullouts blind us with toy ideas, December issues of magazines list the “Best Toys of the Year”, and then there’s the vast increase of catalogs found in our mailboxes every week.