By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Farm Credit has announced that Oklahoman Lisa Storm has been selected as one of the winners of the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award for 2016.
Storm is among seven general education teachers from around the country to be honored.
A teacher at Heritage Elementary in Kingfisher, Storm was the 2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year for the statewide Ag in the Classroom program coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) and the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
“My favorite thing about teaching is it allows me to be very creative. I constantly look for innovative ways to bring my students memorable learning experiences,” Storm said when she received the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year award in 2014.
“Ag in the Classroom curriculum is a combination of solid agricultural knowledge, research-based learning objectives, and creative hands-on learning.
“Nationally, these kindergarten-through-12th grade teachers won the award for the innovative ways they use agricultural concepts to teach core subject areas of reading, writing, math, science, social studies and more,” Storm added.
NAITCO supports state programs by providing a network that seeks to improve agricultural literacy among PreK-12 teachers and their students through awareness, knowledge, and appreciation.
“The winners of this award exemplify how effective the use of agricultural concepts can be to teach reading, writing, science, math and more,” said Dr. Victoria LeBeaux, the National Agriculture in the Classroom Program Leader for USDA’s Nation-al Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which provides federal leadership and annual funding for NAITCO.
“We’re proud of these teacher winners and the way they’ve embraced agriculture in their classroom instruction,” said Lorri Brenneman, president of NAITCO. “We celebrate their enthusiasm for agriculture, and hope other teachers will adopt their successful teaching strategies.”
A third grade educator, Storm teaches her students Oklahoma history by using developments in agriculture as the theme. She demonstrates healthy eating habits, cooking activities and the connection to local agriculture by visiting activity stations at ‘Land Run Day.’
Storm is a National Board Certified Teacher. She received a BS from Oklahoma State University and a MS from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is married to John Storm, a certified public accountant with Storm and Hauser PC in Kingfisher.
The other teachers selected for the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award are:
Georgia first grade teacher Lauren Goble, who educates her students about local agriculture with ‘Thank a Farmer Friday’ when students eat commodities from a nearby farm they learned about in class the week before.
North Dakota third grade teacher Cheryl Bombenger, who uses a ‘TADA’ strategy (Teaching Activities Done Aesthetically) using agriculture as the theme in songs, stories and gardening to connect with students.
Pennsylvania first grade teachers Shirley Hershey and Laura Shiplet James, who use agricultural themes in which students learn a Farm Fact every Wednesday, participate in the Mobile Ag Lab each January, and participating in Farm Fest Day at the end of each school year.
Kansas K-8 teacher Ray Huff is honored for his use of agricultural projects such as building a pond on school grounds, and developing a miniature tractor and a barn to teach the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.
Also recognized is New York secondary teacher Judiann Carmack-Fayyaz for developing a school garden and greenhouse program to teach food and agricultural literacy to her students in 6th through 12th grade.
The seven award winning educators will be honored at the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference “Agriculture Blooming in the Desert,” which will be held June 20-24 at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, AZ.
NAITCO is a non-profit organization representing the 50 state Agriculture in the Classroom programs around the country.
The organization provides teachers with web-based materials, workshops and awards programs that demonstrate how agriculture can be used to effectively teach core subject areas.
For more information, contact Lisa Gaskalla at 352-745-0246, or visit www.agclassroom.org.