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Illinois Virtual School Online Professional Development Opportunities

Mid-Illini Educational Cooperative

IDNR Monthly Update

February 2014

1. Earth Day in the Parks Applications Accepted through February 28, 2014
Applications for Earth Day in the Parks events from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will be accepted through February 28! Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/EDITPinstruct.htm to download the application form and to see the list of participating state parks. Involve your students in these natural resources stewardship activities and help them make a difference in their environment. A grant from the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund helps support these events.



2. Project Squirrel Mobile Phone App
With the new Project Squirrel mobile phone app, your students can easily become involved in citizen science activities that can be incorporated into lessons to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The app is free and both Apple and Android versions are available. Go to iTunes or the Google Play Store and download the app today. All citizens can take part in the data collection. Lessons to support squirrel observations will be posted soon at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/standards.htm. You can learn more about Project Squirrel at http://www.projectsquirrel.org/. The Project Squirrel mobile phone app is sponsored by the Chicago Academy of Science’s Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the IDNR, the University of Illinois at Chicago and Motorola.



3. Next Generation Science Standards Lessons and Illinois Early Learning Standards Correlations
New lessons based on the NGSS are being added to the IDNR Web page at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/standards.htm. Visit often as lessons will be added as they are completed. Recently added lesson topics include: mammals for grades kindergarten, one, two and three; fossils for grades three, four and middle school; and trees for grade one. Also on this Web page, you will find lessons correlated to the newly revised Illinois Early Learning Standards.



4. More New Video Podcasts: Do You Know How to use a Clinometer?
The IDNR Division of Education’s video podcasts can help you to preview and plan lessons as well as provide you with teaching tools and tips for completing grant applications. We have added more podcasts recently. The latest video podcasts provide information on Illinois Mammals for use with the NGSS lessons on mammals, and the Kids for Conservation® “Hey IDNR, How Do I. . .?” series has instructions for using a clinometer to measure tree height and for identifying frogs and toads by their call. Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/education/podcasts.htm or search for them through the iTunes Store and on YouTube (search for “IDNREducation”).



5. Visit the IDNR Division of Education Booth at Upcoming Teachers’ Conferences

The IDNR Division of Education will be hosting an exhibitor’s booth at these upcoming teacher conferences. Stop by our booth on these dates to pick up educational resources to supplement your teaching and find out how our programs can assist you.

February 10-11, Illinois Association for Gifted Children’s Teachers’ Conference, Naperville March 6-7, Illinois Coalition for the Education of At-risk Youth Conference, Normal
March 6-7, Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Teachers’ Conference, Schaumburg
March 13-14, Illinois Reading Council Conference, Springfield
April 2-3, National Association for Interpretation Region V Conference, Rockford
April 19, Homeschooling Educators’ Fair, Champaign
April 25, Western Illinois University Science Update Conference, Macomb



6. Have You Made Reservations to Borrow IDNR Resources Trunks for Spring?
IDNR’s popular resources trunks are available statewide and represent 10 topics. They supplement many lessons and provide hands-on resources that can enliven your teaching. Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/teach.htm for links to all the resources trunk Web pages and lending site contact information. Resources trunks are great supplemental educational tools for use by teachers, youth group leaders, scout leaders, church group leaders, camp leaders and nature center personnel. There have been several lending site changes recently, so check the lists to see what’s new in your area. Don’t forget that the Field Trip Pack for early childhood educators is available, too! Check out the trunk video podcasts on the IDNR Web site, iTunes and YouTube. New lessons correlating the trunks to the Next Generation Science Standards are being posted at http://dnr.state.il.us/education/standards.htm as they are completed.



7. Register Now for Upcoming ENTICE Professional Development Workshops
The following ENTICE (Environment and Nature Training Institute for Conservation Education) educator workshops from the IDNR are scheduled for January through June. Go to https://www.enticeworkshops.com for more details and to register. Continuing Professional Development Units are available at all ENTICE workshops. Experience ENTICE!


Winter Ecology, Spring Valley Nature Center, Schaumburg, February 15, 2014
 
Winter may appear to be a time of inactivity in the natural world, but the appearance is deceptive. Join staff from the Spring Valley Nature Center as they teach us about the interrelationships of organisms during winter. Targeted to educators of grades four through 10, this workshop will include discussions of species adaptations, the physical environment, biotic and abiotic factors affecting populations and much more. We’ll take an observation hike, too. Supplemental educational materials and activities will be provided and demonstrated throughout the day. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2014, OR BEFORE IF THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS IS REACHED.


Resources Trunks from the IDNR
, Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown, February 22, 2014

The IDNR offers resources trunks and packs for loan to educators statewide. These teaching tools are loaded with hands-on, supplemental, Illinois-specific items that can make your lessons come alive for students! Join us at this workshop to preview all 10 resource trunks and the Field Trip Pack, too. We’ll examine the trunk contents, discuss how they can be used in the classroom and take part in activities. You’ll receive many resources, too! This workshop is appropriate for teachers of grades prekindergarten through 12. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2014.


Illinois Aquatics 101, Online, March 10-23, 2014

Explore Illinois' freshwater environments in this workshop targeted to educators of grades 4-8. We’ll learn about the types of aquatic habitats in Illinois, their physical factors and the organisms adapted to them. Numerous supplemental educational items will be provided. Educators of other grade levels are welcome to register but may need to adapt the materials as appropriate. REGISTRATION FOR THIS WORKSHOP WILL CLOSE AT 8:00 A.M. ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 5, 2014.


Wildlife Basics for Early Childhood Educators, River Trail Nature Center, Northbrook, April 5, 2014

This workshop for educators of grades prekindergarten through three will provide you with the information and resources that you need to successfully teach about and observe wildlife. We’ll focus on the life history of common wildlife species, and we’ll go on a hike to look for wildlife and their signs. You’ll receive training in using basic equipment. We’ll also discuss developing wildlife habitat on your school grounds. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature.


Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Western Illinois University, Moline Campus, April 12, 2014

You can make a lifelong difference with your early childhood students by introducing them to the wonders of the natural world! How do you do it? Where should you go? What tools do you need? What are the liability issues? These questions and many more will be answered during this workshop targeted to educators of grades prekindergarten through three. We’ll go on a nature hike and will feature the Field Trip Pack from the IDNR. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature. Staff from the Illinois Early Learning Project in Champaign will lead the workshop.


Illinois’ Urban Wildlife II, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, May 3, 2014

Wildlife is all around us, even in downtown Chicago! Educators of grades four through six are invited to participate as we learn where to look for urban wildlife, what you can expect to find, how to identify species and how to improve urban wildlife habitat at your school. Natural resources professionals and educators will instruct about these topics and more, including how species adapt to the urban environment, how humans affect urban wildlife, and control of nuisance species. We'll take a hike to search for urban wildlife present in spring. Receive supplemental educational materials to enhance your teaching.


Introducing Early Childhood Students to Nature, Kendall County Forest Preserve District, Yorkville, May 10, 2014

You can make a lifelong difference with your early childhood students by introducing them to the wonders of the natural world! How do you do it? Where should you go? What tools do you need? What are the liability issues? These questions and many more will be answered during this workshop targeted to educators of grades prekindergarten through three. We’ll go on a nature hike and will feature the Field Trip Pack from the IDNR. You’ll take away numerous resources to use with young children when learning about nature.


Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat Development, The Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, May 31, 2014

How’s your habitat? Join us to learn how you and your students can take action to improve wildlife habitat on your school grounds. Educators of grades kindergarten through 12 will learn basic habitat design and development techniques. We'll assess what is already on the school grounds and what might be missing. We'll discuss utilizing the habitat to the support the school curriculum. Become aware of grant opportunities and obtain supplemental materials to help you get started with your own schoolyard habitat development.


Forest Ecology and Wildlife
, Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, Willow Springs, June 21, 2014

Wildlife species are important components of forests. From the leaf litter on the ground to the canopy in the sky, their presence helps to determine the health and stability of the forest ecosystem. The ecosystem in turn affects all wildlife species living in it. In this workshop for teachers of grades kindergarten through eight, we will explore the life history of wildlife populations, their interactions and their important role in the forest ecosystem.


Pollinators and the Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, June 28, 2014

Explore the hidden world of pollinators and their unique relationship with the plants they pollinate. This workshop will give you a hands-on look at plants and pollinators in action, including a visit to The Morton Arboretum's prairie and beehives. Experience hands-on activities that can be instantly implemented into your curriculum. Although targeted to teachers of grades kindergarten through five, all educators are welcome to register for this workshop but may need to adapt the materials for their students, as appropriate.



8. Dickson Mounds Museum Upcoming Programs
The following programs have been scheduled at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. Visit the Museum’s Web site at http://www.museum.state.il.us/ismsites/dickson/ or call 309-547-3721 for more information.

Eagle Day Festival, Saturday, February 8, 2014, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., all ages

The Eagle Day Festival will be held at Dickson Mounds Museum and the cities of Lewistown and Havana. Activities include art and poetry competitions, crafts for kids, live raptor programs and bird watching. The event is sponsored by Dickson Mounds Museum, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the University of Illinois Springfield’s Therkildsen Field Station, the Illinois Natural History Survey, the Fulton and Mason County Arts Councils, the Havana and Lewistown Chambers of Commerce, the Havana Public Library District and Nature Center and the Emiquon Audubon society. The event is free, but donations are welcome.


Weekend Knap-In, Saturday, March 1 and Sunday, March 2, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., all ages

The public is welcome to view flint knapping demonstrations during the Museum’s first ever Weekend Knap-In. Learn about the different techniques used by several craftsmen and see their stone tool creations. For more information call Christa Christensen at 309-547-3721. The event is free, but donations are welcome.


Artifact ID Day, Sunday, March 2, 2014, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., all ages

Museum staff and other experts will be available to identify your artifacts, rocks, fossils, animal bones, and perhaps anything else you may be curious about. Even if you don’t have any items to identify, be sure to stop in to view the artifacts and live demonstrations. The event is free, but donations are welcome.