Excellence in Teaching Award 2002
Ms. Vicki Richey
has been not only a creative teacher of agriculture in her own classroom but also an enthusiastic advocate and ambassador for the Ag in the Classroom program, sharing her resources and experiences with other teachers in her district and teaching workshops to provide innovative hands-on ideas. Each year Vicki's students design and make a quilt as part of a "Cotton to Calico" unit, in association with a unit on Oklahoma history. The unit covers every one of the core subjects students in the 3rd grade are required to master in Oklahoma. The quilt hangs in the hallway of the school until the students are in the 6th grade. At that time it is auctioned off to raise money for materials needed in the third grade classes at Ridgecrest. "Cotton to Calico" is only one of dozens of programs Vicki has developed that incorporate agriculture into her teaching. Maddy and Gascar are descendents of Madagascar hissing cockroaches she acquired during an entomology session at the 1998 Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom summer institute. Vicki uses these pets to introduce continents, climates and habitats that are different from our own. She uses worms to teach not just soil composition and the importance of soil health, but also the value of small things. Vicki takes what she gets from Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom and makes it her own, enhancing it with her own knowledge, both of teaching and of agriculture. In the end, her students take ownership as well. They leave her classes knowing without a doubt that their lives would be diminished without a healthy agriculture.