AEA member Kathy Perkins wins UNICEF contest
When fifth grade Verner Elementary School teacher Kathy Perkins returned to school this fall, she had spent her summer travelling in-state, out-of-state, and even out-of-country! She started out with workshops across Alabama to learn about the variety of ecosystems found in the state, visiting Little River Canyon, Camp McDowell, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. She then went on to participate in a Google Apps Workshop and the National Math and Science Initiative Training in Tuscaloosa.
In July, Perkins headed north for Jersey City, New Jersey to be one of four third through fifth grade Alabama science teachers who participated in the Mickelson Exxon Mobil STEM Teachers Academy. She encourages more AEA members to participate in this academy by visiting here.
Immediately after the academy she took her summer international, travelling from New Jersey to Tanzania to learn about UNICEF’s programs for children in early childhood education, including teacher training; life skills education; clean water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in schools; and HIV prevention programs, among others. She was one of only five teachers, pictured in the photo at bottom right, chosen from around the country in the “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF School Challenge.”
Perkins and her class, pictured at top right, had entered into the UNICEF Trick-or-Treat campaign in 2013. The contest is part of an effort to help educators inspire students to become global citizens. Teachers are asked to document how students are helping kids across the globe through the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign and then submit their entries online. Perkins’ class raised awareness of UNICEF’s work with their peers through student “ambassadors,” held a car wash, and created and sold rubber band bracelets at school to raise funds for the campaign. Visit here to view their video submission. Or visit UNICEFUSA.org for ways you and your class can participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
Perkins, who was featured in the August 12, 2013, edition of the Alabama School Journal, was selected as the District VII 2013 Elementary Teacher of the Year. She has 21 years in education, B.A. in Economics, M.A. in Early Childhood Education, and Ed.S. in Special Education/Gifted. Currently teaching fifth grade at Verner Elementary School in Tuscaloosa, she is a NBCT Early Childhood Generalist and a member of the Tuscaloosa City Education Association.
It is easy to see why she was selected as teacher of the year for her district. In addition to the many professional development activities in which she participates, Perkins is constantly looking for new and creative ways to engage her students. Currently, she has a project featured on Donorschoose.org. On the site Perkins says, “We have a diverse population, but all my students love active learning through experimenting, debating, role playing, drama, and creating presentations. They constantly ask, ‘Are we going to do anything fun today,’ which she translates to mean in teacher speak, ‘Do we get to get out of our desks, talk, experiment, and create?’ Perkins works hard to raise funds for the materials so she can say, “Yes, absolutely!”
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