State honors four Idaho teachers

Idaho State Department of Education officials honored four Idaho teachers today for finding creative and innovative ways to integrate technology into their classrooms.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna presented the teachers with awards in conjunction with state and national Digital Learning Day festivities staged in Idaho and in 46 other states.

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Tom Luna

Digital Learning Day is designed to celebrate outstanding teachers and highlight ways they are bringing technology into schools effectively. Three of the teachers work in Meridian Joint School District No. 2, while the fourth is an eastern Idaho instructor from Bonneville Joint School District 93.

The winners are:

  • Kim Miller, a second and third grade teacher at Star Elementary School within Meridian Joint School District No. 2. Miller received a first place award for best practices for her Schoolnet lesson plan. Miller’s award letter states “You have demonstrated time and again that you are not only an outstanding teacher, but you also are leading the way in integrating technology in the classroom to individualize instruction for every child,” according to her award.
  • Jennifer Duckwall, a third grade teacher at Ammon’s Mountain Valley Elementary School in Bonneville Joint School District 93. Duckwall won the first place award in Idaho’s 21st Century Classroom Video Recognition Awards Program.  Duckwall’s award letter indicates “We received many entries from across Idaho, but your class stood above the rest for the way in which you integrated technology in the classroom to make learning fun and meaningful.” Duckwall was recognized for creating a geometry rap video with second graders. 
  • Marita Diffenbaugh, a fifth grade teacher at Star Elementary School in Meridian Joint School District No. 2. Diffenbaugh won first place in Idaho’s Schoolnet Unit Best Practice Award category. Her award letter from Luna states “I appreciate your efforts and expertise in developing this unit plan that is aligned to Common Core Standards, incorporates digital content and includes differentiation techniques and tools so teachers can use this in teaching all students.”
  • Amber McVey, a fifth grade teacher at Boise’s Pepper Ridge Elementary School in Meridian Joint School District No. 2. McVey won the first place award within the Best Practices in Visual Arts category. McVey’s “Picasso’s Faces” lesson challenged students to understand different media used in artwork and create a portrait based on the work of Pablo Picasso. Luna’s letter to McVey reads: “Through this lesson plan, you demonstrate how students can learn geometry concepts as well as art concepts and apply these lessons by creating their own portraits.

    Picasso Project
    Picasso Faces

Luna notified each of the four winning teachers on Tuesday. In keeping with the technology theme, Luna created personalized YouTube videos congratulating the educators.

“Digital Learning Day gives us the opportunity to recognize those innovative teachers who are using digital learning in their classrooms to expand access, individualize instruction and ensure every child is engaged in learning every day,” Luna said. “Digital learning is a key part of the 21st century classroom, and I am pleased to see so many states and educators work together to share best practices.”

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