Dawn Alexander, a third grade teacher at Tom McCall Elementary in Redmond, was the first recipient of the AITC Teacher of the Year Award. The award is given to teachers who do an outstanding job 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 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 agriculture into all subjects and everything is tied to our state standards."
Some of the AITC materials Alexander uses in her classroom include the Get Oregonized history and regions text (donated by the Deschutes County Farm Bureau). This book helps her teach the regions of Oregon. For each region she highlights local agricultural commodities. The study of each region also ties into their weather unit for science and how the climate and soil affects local agriculture.
Alexander also uses resources from AITC's website such as the hands-on lessons Dirt Babies when reading about the grass seed industry, or Living Necklaces when studying plant life cycles. Additionally, the Grown in Oregon map helps her compare and contrast commodities on the west and east side of the Cascade Mountains. Says Alexander, "The rain shadow effect makes more sense to the students when they connect it to agriculture and the products grown in Central Oregon verses what is grown on the west side."