The First Annual Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Dawn Alexander, Tom McCall Elementary in Redmond. The award is given to teachers who do an outstanding job of incorporating agriculture into their classroom curriculum.
Said Alexander on receiving the award, “I am so fortunate to be able to share my passion for agriculture with my students and help them develop an awareness and understanding of how important agriculture is in their lives.
"The materials teachers can borrow from AITC for free, the hand-on lessons, the Get Oregonized Books, and the donations by sponsors are amazing. I can integrate ag into all subject lessons and everything is tied to our state standards.”
The award was presented at the AITC 12th Annual Fall Harvest Dinner in Albany. Over 300 friends and supporters attended the event and raised more than $40,000 to support Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation and its work educating students about agriculture.
This competitive award was created to recognize an outstanding K-12 teacher for their creative efforts to teach students about the importance of agriculture. Judging was based on the degree to which agricultural concepts have been included in a variety of subjects or topics, student impact, and overall impact and longevity of the program.
Dawn uses the AITC Get Oregonized history book, donated to their school by Deschutes County Farm Bureau, to study regions of Oregon. During each region, she highlights local agricultural commodities. She use many of the resources on the AITC website such as making dirt babies when reading about the grass seed industry, or living necklaces when studying plant life cycles in science and the variety of plant crops grown in Oregon.
Students learn the process of growing Christmas Trees. They make paper which is turned into ornaments scented with peppermint. The study of each region ties into their weather unit for science and why for example, the climate and soil is good on the coastal region for dairy farming.
Using the Grown in Oregon map is a great way to compare/contrast commodities on the west side of the Cascade Mountains vs. the east side. The rain shadow effect makes more sense to the students when they connect it to agriculture and the products grown in Central Oregon vs. what is grown on the west side.
AITC is dedicated to teaching Oregon students K-12 about agriculture, the environment and natural resources. The program works with teachers, schools and educational groups in the state to provide accurate, standards-based lessons and resources. For the past three years AITC has reached over 100,000 students each school year.
AITC is a 501(c)3 organization. To learn more about the program and its many free educational resources visit http://aitc.oregonstate.edu.