The third annual Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Sadie Mooney, Philomath Elementary School in Philomath. The award is given to teachers who do an outstanding job of incorporating agriculture into their classroom curriculum. As a second grade teacher, Mooney regularly uses Agriculture in the Classroom materials in all her subjects. "I truly appreciate that AITC gathers the information into one place, so I can spend my time integrating it into my lessons, rather than searching for the information," said Mooney.
For Mooney, an agriculture unit has always been included in her curriculum. However, when she started teaching six years ago, it lacked hands-on activities and lessons to get the students excited about the subject. Inspired by her husband's background and work in agriculture, Mooney has continually improved upon the curriculum and this year is excited to have the curriculum grow to a year's worth of mini-units. Each month will focus on a different Oregon commodity and incorporate the commodity into literature, writing, math, science, art, hands-on activities, guest speakers and field trips. "My hope is this will allow the excitement and energy from the [previous unit] to continue throughout the entire school year as they look forward to the next agricultural learning experience."
Mooney understands the importance of teaching young people about the world in which we live. "I once heard a farmer say, 'We take care of our land and, in return, the land takes care of us,' as he explained the importance of caring for his land and his passion for farming. His words were powerful as I reflected about my role as a teacher. I take care of my students, and (someday) they will take care of us."