Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award

This award is to be given annually in memory of my mother, Ruth Hart Jessee Strange. Mother was born and raised just outside of Kansas City in and around Liberty, Missouri. She was graduated from William Jewell College in 1927. She taught school in several Missouri communities and later became the secretary to the President of Kansas City Power and Light Company. After raising me and my sister, Catharine Hart Strange Stewart of Indianapolis, Indiana, Mother returned to work as Special Assistant to Dr. J. Willis Hurst, then Chair of the Department of Medicine at Emory University and the cardiologist of President Lyndon Johnson. Mother was the recipient of the William Jewell College Citation of Achievement, the highest award bestowed on an alumnus by William Jewell, in 1970. Her brother, Randall Smith Jessee had received the same award in 1956 and her sister, Mary Margaret Jessee Mayfield had received the award in 1948. Not many families have an entire generation who have received such awards from their alma mater!

The Hadley Harrington Strange Award

This award is to be given annually in memory of my father, Hadley Harrington Strange. My father did not graduate from college, nor even high school. The depression of the thirties! He worked in a tobacco factory instead of finishing high school. He had a job! It did not pay much, but it helped a bit in keeping food on the table. Later he was a "Reveneur," chasing moonshiners through the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. He then ran a filling station and garage in Newport, Tennessee. At my mother's insistence, so that my sister and I could go to "good" high schools, my father went back to work for the Internal Revenue Service, later becoming head of the Inspection Service for the southeastern region of the United States. He was a phenomenal story teller and teacher. Bridge, poker, fishing, marksmanship, detective work, solving riddles and puzzles were the primary subjects that he taught. He loved learning, and loved sharing that enthusiasm will everyone he encountered. Beginners welcome. And experts too!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2010

The students and teacher (Miss Priscilla Lavakula) of Room 10, Pt. England School, Auckland, New Zealand in the Fall 2009 term and Ms. Dorothy Burt (on behalf of the Pt. England School technology efforts) have been awarded the Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2010.

Room 10 is the recipient of this award because of the excellence with which the students and Miss Lavakula incorporated the use of technology into their learning activities, the extensive blogging and commenting on blogs in which they engaged with students of all ages, including students attending the University of South Alabama in the United States preparing to be teachers, and the excellent communication skills they demonstrated in their podcasts and videos. I have detailed many of the accomplishments of Room 10 in my article Kaia and Room 10: Why Blogs and Commenting on Blogs Are So Important.

Mr. William Chamberlain was the recipient of the Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2009. He was one of those responsible for starting the comments4kids program which is how I came to know Ms. Burt and the kids in Room 10. My mother started her career as a teacher. She taught in small towns in Missouri, the same state in which Mr. Chamberlain teaches. She would have been thrilled to have been able to communicate with the kids of Room 10 and their teacher, Miss Lavakula, and to share in their excitement in learning.

Ms. Dorothy Burt, Pt. England School eLearning Facilitator, is a co-recipient of the 2010 Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award. This award is bestowed upon Ms. Burt for her outstanding leadership in infusing technology into the learning activities of Pt. England School. She is also the recipient of this award on behalf of all the students and teachers at Pt. England School who are changing the way teachers are recruited (I am thinking of Room 18), how students experience using technologies for learning at a very early age (I am thinking of Room 7 and Ms. Jenny She), and who make Pt. England one of the most exciting schools I know about!

Congratulations to Room 10 (Fall 2009), Ms. Burt, and to all of the students, faculty and staff of Pt. England School.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hadley Harrington Strange Award for 2009

The Hadley Harrington Strange Award for 2009 is awarded jointly to Mr. Jarrod Lamshed of Adelaid, Australia and Mr. Joe McClung of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Mr. Lamshed teaches Levels 5/6 at the Hackham East Schools in Adlelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Mr. McClung teaches 8th grade at the Woodland Junior High School, Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States of America.

These two teachers are on opposite sides of the globe and on opposite ends of the globe. But through their creative collaboration that includes the use of blogs, interactive video, audio chats on Skype, Twitter, and other technologies, you might think they had classrooms next to each other. Which, in many ways, they do.

Influenced, inspired and encouraged by Mr. William Chamberlain, winner of the 2009 Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award, Mr. Lamshed and Mr. McClung have carried out a true collaborative educational effort throughout 2009.

Both are avid Twitters (@jlamshed and @jkmcclung). Following their tweets is an exciting education in itself!

Both contribute regularly to At The Teacher's Desk, the best collaborative blogs by teachers that I have found. If you are interested in education but not a regular reader of At The Teacher's Desk, I urge you to read it regularly. I have now made it required reading for all the students in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama where I teach.

Both are "Reflective Practitioners" (see Donald Schoen's book The Reflective Practitioner). I urge you to read their reflective posts, especially Mr. McClung's What I've Learned This Year and Mr. Lamshed's Being Inspired - Part 1 and Finding the Passion.

Both are avid learners, always learning new things and putting them to work. What fantastic role models for students they are: to have learners as your teachers is wonderful!

My father would have loved to have known them, and would have enjoyed their company I am sure.

A cash award of $ 250 has been sent to the Hackham East Schools for Mr. Lamshed to use as he sees fit in the furtherance of his teaching profession.

A cash award of $ 250 has been sent to the Woodland Junior High School for Mr. McClung to use as he sees fit in the furtherance of his teaching profession.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2009

The Ruth Hart Jessee Strange Award for 2009 goes to Mr. William Chamberlain, 5th grade teacher in Noel, Missouri. "Mr. C" plays a critical role in encouraging teachers and students from around the world to do many important things:
1. To collaborate. See, for example the excellent blog At The Teachers Desk that the collaborative team, of which Mr. C is a central part, publishes on a regular basis.
2. To reflect. Mr. C has his students reflect on their learning in short video clips. You can see and hear his students regular on his class blog, Mr. C's Class Blog.
3. To interact with the world. Australia, New Zealand, England, Missouri, North Carolina, even Alabama are part of Mr.C's world, and the world of his students.
4. To experiment. Until late March of this year I had never heard of Mr. C. Several of my students, assigned to locate teachers throughout the world who used blogs in their classrooms found his class blog. One left a comment on the blog. Mr. C, through a bit of detective work, located the student who had left that comment and made a comment on her blog. I saw that comment and thought that all my students should see it so I repeated it on the class blog and informed Mr. C I had done so. That started his teaching me. "John, you've got to use Twitter!" Mr. C tells me. "Ugh," I thought. Again, "Try it John." So I did, making Twitter a spontaneous joint learning assignment with my students. It has been a long time since I have learned so much in so short a time.
5. To share. Time, resources, ideas, information, comments on blogs. Mr. C spends much of his time sharing. We all benefit and should follow his example! See especially his Twitter #comments4kids undertaking . Mr. C is joined in this effort by many other teachers around the world including Jarrod Lamshed of Adelaide, Australia who created this wiki.
6. To learn. Just read his blogs, follow him on Twitter (@wmchamberlain). You will then know what I mean by his devotion to, and excitement in learning!

A cash award of $ 250 has been sent to the Noel Elementary School for use by Mr. Chamberlain as he sees fit in the furtherance of his teaching profession.