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Aired Wednesday May 28th, 2008 at 8:00 pm
Golden Apple Award Recipient Amber Mann
An Amelia Earhart Elementary third-grade teacher from Pleasant Grove has been awarded one of six outstanding educator awards for the PTA's 2008 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education. The Utah PTA Golden Apple Awards 2008 premieres on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, May 28, at 8 p.m. This special program features the awards ceremony, in combination with on-site footage shot at Amelia Earhart Elementary.
The PTA honored Amber Mann, selected from numerous teacher nominees from nearly every school in Utah. Mann's nominators, Melissa Garver, PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) president, and Rosemarie Smith, Amelia Earhart Elementary School Principal, describe her as "a master teacher who is an excellent representation of all that we would like to have in education." They say Mann is enthusiastic about teaching and provides a learning environment that is exciting, challenging, positive and full of opportunity to learn and grow.
Mann explains her teaching philosophy this way: "I feel that each child is a champion of something. I believe in celebrating success, no matter how small, along the way." The parent of one of Mann's students says each child feels like the ‘teacher's pet' in her class. "Amber finds a way to connect with each child and then makes them blossom in their own greatness."
In her eight years of teaching, Amber Mann has made sure that she tells each child every day that she loves them. "I think too often in our culture we separate home from school when, in reality, every day my kids walk into my classroom with the excitement, pain, and fears of what is going on at home. At the end of each day, I send my students home with the frustrations, successes and memories of the day. We forget that the student is the only one who lives in both worlds," Mann explains.
Mann believes that another way to bridge home and school is through projects. "I know as educators, we have all been guilty of giving a project that takes a great deal of time to complete. I think a better way to execute the ‘project idea' is to make the assignment short. For example, right now my students are involved in ‘Dinner Chat Alliterations.'
"Every night, they are assigned one letter of the alphabet. They are to come up with one sentence as a family, using that letter sound as many times as they can. The next day, they bring in their sentence and publish it in their Alliteration Book. This project will last about a month, but the assignment each night is short and sweet. My students are coming in laughing and sharing their sentences. They brag on their parents, ‘Listen to this one my dad made up last night.' They are having meaningful fun conversations at the dinner table," she says.
PTA President Melissa Garver says Mann takes every opportunity to make learning fun. "I have seen her standing outside of the restrooms, singing songs and reminding students about the principles of good hygiene while the class is taking a bathroom break."
Garver says Mann is a team player. "She looks out for other teachers as much as herself. She has come to the PTA to share information about equipment and supplies that would be helpful to all the teachers."
Amelia Earhart Elementary Administrator Kathy Hansen says Mann is the school's most-requested teacher each year. She added that Mann works diligently to get her students thinking about the community in which they live. "She collects books in her classroom that have been written by local authors and talks with her students about how these authors are real people in their community."
Her nominators say Mann is known as the "donut queen" at Amelia Earhart. Each year, she takes her class to visit various businesses in the area and the students survey managers to find out how they run their businesses. They then partner with Glazies Donuts. The students make advertisements, survey the school, take out a loan with the principal, then open their own donut store for a week. "With the help of parents," Kathy Hansen explains, "they get the donuts delivered and sold to the school community." One parent proclaimed, "This project is the talk of the school, and I believe she tops herself each year in profits from this ‘math' project!"
The Golden Apple Awards are funded in part by the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, Utah Education Network, Educators Mutual Insurance Association, and the Utah Education Association.
The Utah PTA Golden Apple Awards 2008 premieres on KUED-Channel 7 Wednesday, May 28, at 8 p.m., repeating Sunday, June 1, at 6 p.m. Video clips and interviews with each award recipient can be seen on the KUED web site: http://www.kued.org/goldenapples
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