Illinois Agricultural Education & FFA                
  6/21/23 IAVAT Conference Workshops & Tours  
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Tour Options      
Ball Seed & Test Garden - 20 teacher limit
The Gardens at Ball have been the evaluation and testing grounds for the world’s wealth of horticultural introductions and improvements for over 80 years. What began as a row trial garden for seed varieties in 1933 has grown to encompass over 9 acres of display beds for annuals, perennials, cut flowers and vegetables, including the newest plants from the industry’s leading breeders and marketers.

Cantigny Park - 25 teacher limit
25 Teachers will have the opportunity to visit the former estate of Joseph Medill and his grandson Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publishers of the Chicago Tribune. In addition to the public areas, we will tour behind the scenes to visit 30 acres of gardens and their 18,000 sq. ft greenhouse that is closed to the public.
Chicago Mold Engineering - 20 teacher limit  

Chicago Mold Engineering Co., Inc. has been designing and building plastic injection and compression molds of superior quality since 1944. Our customers in the automotive, appliance, building supply, electronics, housewares, lawn & garden, and sporting goods industries. They will discuss engineering, manufacturing, inspections, general shop equipment and injection molding. 

College of DuPage -50 teacher limit
Visit the college and select two workshops for 1.5 hour sessions related to beekeeping, landscaping, urban forestry and greenhouse biologicals.

Green Era - 30 teacher limit
Green Era provides businesses, organizations and communities an easy and cost-effective alternative to landfilling organic waste, while helping to meet zero-waste, recycling goals and creating a thriving green community. By diverting food waste from landfills, Green Era can offset approximately 42,500 tons of carbon dioxide. Come learn how food waste is turned into renewable gas. 

Griffith Foods - 20 teacher limit
Identifying food trends, developing new products and formulating healthy solutions are just a few of the things they do at Griffith Foods. Join us for a tour of the lab and culinary center and activity to take back to your own classroom. 

Mid-America Carpenters Regional Council Apprentice & Training Program Center - 30 teacher limit
Learn about their Math for the Trades Program and tour the local facilities located across the street from the hotel. 

The Morton Arboretum - 40 teacher limit
Michelle Catania, Research Coordinator for Gateway to Tree Science, will be leading a tour at the Gateway to show how we assess urban soil for tree health.  We will discuss how we are pushing traditional agriculture-based soil assessments in the built environment to encourage healthy, long-lived urban trees.  The average street tree grown in tree pits has an average lifespan of 12-15 years.  Understanding soil properties and how to amend them to support a healthy urban forest canopy is a very important component to a greener future in our urban environments.

Workshop Options      
If you are on the tours, you will not be able to also participate in an on-site workshop due to travel times.

Four 50 minute sessions will be held at the hotel starting at the top of each hour from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. with the last session ending at 4:50 p.m. 

There are two workshops that are double blocked. Be sure to use care when registering for your workshops.

Session 1 Workshop Options: 
Kicking off Ag Biology with Storylining
TRS Start to Finish Program
SAE Choice Boards with Jason Perry & Kara Barling
Show Smart Animal Science Program

Session 2 Workshop Options: 
Kicking off Ag Biology with Storylining
TRS Start to Finish Program
SAE Choice Boards with Jason Perry & Kara Barling
Show Smart Animal Science Program

Session 3 Workshop Options: 

TRS-SSP is the Supplemental Savings Plan 5E Lesson Components with Cutting Edge Curriculum Utilizing Your Scantron Machine and Judging Card with John Edgar
Inquiry Based Learning Using the CASE Model

Session 4 Workshop Options:
Pathway Endsorement  & College Career Readiness

TRS-SSP is the Supplemental Savings Plan

Divide and Conquer: Sequencing and Standards with Cutting Edge Curriculum

Session 1 & 2 Combined:
Flavors of North America (FONA) International Workshop

Session 3 & 4 Combined:
Fun with Floral Design with Dr. Kimberly Bellah, National FFA LPS


5E Lesson Components

Presented by Cutting Edge Curriculum, Callie Schorfheide -   

The 5E Lesson model comes with an array of hands-on activities. Each attendee will have the opportunity to participate in at least one activity representing each “E”. This highly interactive workshop will reflect the classroom you’ll create with the 5E Model: Immersive, engaging, and exciting.


Divide and Conquer: Sequencing and Standards

Presented by Cutting Edge Curriculum, Callie Schorfheide -   

Dive into the essential steps of designing a course outline while the key attributes meet standards. Take the framework of your local needs and identify specific units. Let’s build a course outline using these specific units and topics while at the same time keeping alignment to standards as a goal. Assessments of these specific units will validate student knowledge. Planning a course outline with solid course content will increase student engagement.

Show Smart Supplemental Curriculum 

Presented by Show Smart - Christina Ward - 

Show Smart is an innovative video-based teaching tool that supports agriculture instructors. Diversify your animal science curriculum, streamline supervising livestock SAE projects, and build student confidence with materials made by teachers for teachers. We will discuss easy ways to implement our new lesson plans, improve parent communication, and help with student recruitment. Learn how teachers of all experience levels use Show Smart to bridge the gap between the classroom and the show ring while teaching best practices in animal health, handling, and care.


Developing your AFNR Pathway Endorsement Plan

Presented by Andrew Klein, ISBE & John Heiser, FCAE -  & 

Has your Administrator or local EFE asked you to plan on implementing Pathway Endorsement in your program?  Wondering what the Endorsement Plan is or the impact/value of completing it? By attending this workshop we will answer these questions and identify how it fits in your program.   We will give strategies for each requirement plus showcase what activities and projects you are already doing fit into the Endorsement Plan. The goal is to make Agricultural Education Programs ready for this requirement that begins in the 2024-2025 school year.


TRS Benefits:  Start to Finish
Presented by Illinois TRS - Sandra Benhart - 

As much fun as teaching is, there may be a day when you are ready to pass the baton to the next generation of educators.  We will talk about what you can expect from TRS and how you might ensure you will have enough money to enjoy the retirement you have earned. The considerations are different for those that are early in career compared to those that plan to retire in the next few years. This seminar will help you determine where you fit in and provide concepts for you to think about … including an up-to-date status on legislative actions that will affect you.

TRS-SSP is the Supplemental Savings Plan

Presented by Voya - Tonya Coleman -

As a Retirement Education Specialist, Tonya will join us to provide financial wellness information and share how the Supplemental Savings Plan can help you prepare for your retirement.

CRM - Kicking off Ag Biology

Presented by FCAE-CRM - Chris Embry-Mohr - 

Agriculture Biology curriculum development is in process. Come be introduced to the current storylines (units) being developed around the themes of apples, soils, hydroponics, and bees. This is the draft of the first semester of the curriculum. Learn about storylining and this new curriculum.

Inquiry Based Learning Using the CASE Model

Presented by FCAE-CRM - Jesse Faber, Riley Hintzsche and Liz Harris

The CASE model is teaching through inquiry. This workshop will explore the methodology that all CASE courses are built around and introduce the courses and pathways developed through CASE. 

Fun with Floral Design

Presented by Dr. Kimberly Bellah, National FFA LPS - 

In this fast-paced workshop, we will spend time designing and creating a floral design, and will also use some trips and techniques to make teaching floral design in your classroom engaging and mindful of resources. All participants will leave with their own completed design.

Utilizing Your Scantron Machine and Judging Card

Presented by John Edgar, Illinois FFA Center -

If your chapter or section is looking for insights on how to use a scantron machine and to make your contests more efficient, please join John Edgar to learn more about this system and how it can benefit you.


The Science Behind Food and Flavor with Flavors of North America (FONA) 

Presented by Katie Sudler, FONA International -

Join us to understand why flavors are necessary in our food, how our bodies respond to flavors and aromas, dive into food trends, learn how flavors are created, and ultimately the application of trends and flavors to make food products.  There are many careers that are responsible for making sure the food you buy from the grocery store is  not only nourishing, but maybe a  little fun, too.

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