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Design Thinking - Taught by Theresa McGee

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Published on Jun 27, 2011

Theresa McGee, art teacher at Monroe Elementary School, has been named one of 12 national recipients of a PBS Teachers Innovation Award. The program recognizes educatorsʼ creative and inventive use of public media to engage students and improve learning, according to PBS.

The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) named 40 first and second place winners in the Teachers Innovation Awards June 6. The 12 first-place winners represent a dozen subject and grade level groupings. Mrs. McGeeʼs category is Arts/Elementary Level. The awards program is sponsored by the Henry Ford Museum and SMART Technologies. From July 31 to august 5, 2011, Mrs. McGee and the other first-place winners will travel to Dearborn, Michigan for "Innovation Immersion Experience" at The Henry Ford. She will also receive a SMART Slate wireless device, an online professional development course offered by PBS, and other educational resources from PBS. Mrs. McGee will be invited to work with WTTW Chicago to encourage utilization of public digital media and innovating teaching practices in classrooms across the county, according to a PBS press release.

"It is a amazing feeling to be celebrated by PBS as a teacher innovator when it was PBS who started me on my own educational journey on ʻSesame Streetʼ. I can't think of an honor that could be more closely connected my own life and educational experiences," Mrs. McGee said.

She will have the opportunity to share that gratitude with WTTW this summer when she will visit the studio to accept the award. A gallery of winning entries is featured on the PBS Teachers website at http://www.pbs.org/teachers/innovator.... It
includes a description of Mrs. McGeeʼs use of technology in her art instruction at two grade levels and a 3-minute podcast showing her students at work. A link to the podcast is also available on www.d181.org.

"My teaching focus encourages my students to develop their own ʻdesign thinkingʼ habits by combining technology with creativity and ingenuity," said Mrs. McGee. "For several years, I have used podcasting and Google Earth spanning over two grade levels to get my students to think about how art and design has impacted their lives and the lives of others."

The other national winners hail from New York, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, California, Wisconsin, and Louisiana. Mrs. McGee, who earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in 2008, has been with Community Consolidated School District 181 since 1997 as Monroeʼs art teacher. She lives in Orland Park.

"As Americaʼs largest classroom, PBS is working with educators to provide tools and share innovative teaching methods to meet the emerging needs of todayʼs learners," said Rob Lippincott, Senior Vice President, PBS Education. "We look forward to collaborating with the PBS Teachers Innovation Award winners to develop and share best practices for public media use in the classroom and beyond to help all students succeed."

Mrs. McGeeʼs other honors include the 2010 Elementary Art educator of the Year award from the Illinois Art Education Association. She, along with Walker Art Teacher Hillary Andrlik, publishes an award-winning art education blog, The Teaching Palette http://teachingpalette.com. She writes a monthly column "Tech4Arted" for SchoolArts Magazine, and she has been a presenter at the state and national levels, including a selected presenter for an online webinar for art educators from around the country.

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