Rita Taulbee receives Excellence in Ag Literacy AwardPosted on Dec 3, 2015
KFB’s Excellence in Ag Literacy Award recognizes and rewards teachers who excel in their efforts to incorporate agricultural concepts throughout their core curriculum. Nominations were made for a variety of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teachers who use their classrooms to help students comprehend the value of agriculture as it impacts their personal well-being economically, environmentally and socially.
For winning the award, Taulbee received $500 cash and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference June 20-24, 2016 in Litchfield Park, Arizona, where she will represent Kentucky in the national competition.
Taulbee has been teaching for the past 14 years and joined the staff at Lebanon Junction Elementary 12 years ago. Her interest in gardening coupled with her passion for education has generated many learning opportunities for her students. Creating an outdoor vegetable garden in which students learned about growing plants proved to be a perfect way to incorporate science lessons into real-life applications.
“The impact this has had on our students is beyond belief,” she said in her application for the award. “My students have come to me over the past several years and said they never knew they could do this. Others have told me how they have put their skills to use at home in their own gardens.”
In teaching the students about growing plants, Taulbee’s students have learned where the vegetables come from as well a more cost effective way to grow them. They gathered prices for seeds, soil and pots verses buying the plants already started thus providing lessons in math and helping with their reading skills. The students have also kept written journals complete with drawings and pictures to track their progress.
Since its beginnings as a vegetable garden, students are now learning about other applications like how to construct a butterfly garden. Taulbee said her students’ goal for this year is to raise enough vegetable to donate the surplus to a food kitchen or a shelter.
Taulbee graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Murray State University and received her master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.