Kentucky teacher chosen National Mission US Educator of the Year
Monday, February 7
Laureen Laumeyer, a 5th grade teacher at Hardin County’s Meadow View Elementary School, has been named National Mission US Educator of the Year for her innovative use of a new interactive history learning game. Laumeyer was nominated for the award by KET, who partnered with Mission US’s developer, THIRTEEN/WNET.ORG, New York’s public media provider, to introduce the resource. Laumeyer will receive a trip to New York to speak at the 6th annual THIRTEEN/WNET.ORG Celebration of Teaching and Learning this March.
Mission US is a series of free, interactive online games and materials for teaching American history. KET was one of ten public television stations chosen to participate in a special teacher training initiative in 2010. The Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Kentucky Council for the Social Studies worked with KET to show teachers the first game in the series, “For Crown or Colony?”, set in the Revolutionary War period. In the game, students play the role of Nat Wheeler, a printer’s apprentice in Boston in 1770, who learns about the growing tensions between Loyalists and Patriots by meeting a variety of historical characters and witnessing the Boston Massacre. The choices the player makes determine where Nat’s loyalty lies and his ultimate fate.
“Laureen has always wanted her students to gain so much more out of class than knowing dates and events. She wants them to fully understand that history is exciting and that there were some wonderful characters and events that helped shape our society, country, and world,” said Jim Sullivan, Meadow View Elementary principal.
According to Teresa Day, director of arts and special projects at KET, Laumeyer was one of about 2,800 Kentucky teachers introduced to Mission US. “We heard of so many exciting ways that teachers used this wonderful resource, and we are especially proud that Laureen went on from state recognition to receive this national award.”
Along with Laumeyer, KET also named Latisha Cardwell and Amy Smith-Thomas of Butler County Middle School as Kentucky Mission US Educators of the Year. KET also designated several Kentucky teachers as honorable mention winners, including Dana Carman, Breckinridge County; Leanna Prater and Jamie Burch, Fayette County; Ilah Conley, Florence Elementary School; and Kyla Hatfield, Russell-McDowell Intermediate School.
Laumeyer used Mission US materials in a wide variety of ways across her Revolutionary War unit, adapting them to meet her students’ specific needs and to create a rigorous and engaging learning experience. Students used the games and resources as class activities, group activities, individual activities, and homework.
“Once I played it for myself, I was hooked,” Laumeyer said. “The game and all the engaging activities are a wonderful tool to help my students understand their history.” Using the Mission US game and activities, “my students were so engrossed in learning that they didn’t want to stop for lunch.”
Cardwell and Thomas, who collaborated in their use of Mission US, used the game as a review and supplementary drama/social studies activity. Students created a lantern-lit “Walk through Boston” in the school’s media center, presenting character monologues, costumes, props, and overheads built around events on the Mission US timeline.
According to Day, Kentucky teachers are excited about the second game in the Mission US series, scheduled for release in 2011. “This ‘mission’ is set partly in Kentucky in the Civil War era,” she said. The Mission US project was funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For more information, click here.