Weller Excellence In Teaching Award Goes To Sandy Hook School's Katie Mauro
Sandy Hook Elementary School Library/Media Specialist Katie Mauro has been awarded the 2022 Weller Excellence in Teaching Award from The Weller Foundation, Incorporated.
Mauro was announced as earning the award by the foundation in April for a lesson she called “Evolutionary Traits of Galapagos Animals Virtual Reality Lesson Plan.”
The Weller Excellence in Teaching Award (formerly The Weller Outstanding Teacher Award) program was introduced to the Newtown Public School System in 1991, according to an announcement from the foundation. The award recognizes the teaching quality and innovation exhibited by classroom teachers of kindergarten through fifth grade.
As announced by the foundation, Mauro’s goal for the lesson was “to engage the students in inquiry-based learning and utilize digital tools to connect with peers. And also learn that the environment influences evolutionary traits and understand and explain how environments can help/hurt species survival.”
Mauro shared in a phone interview on May 9 that for the project she used 360 degree photos she took while studying for her masters in a teaching biological sciences degree with Miami University last summer.
She uploaded the photos to a program that allowed use of the photos in a virtual reality headset at the library. While students used the headset, Mauro could highlight different points of interest in the photos, like birds or a marine iguana. Through inquiry-based learning students could then determine aspects of the animals in the photos.
“It gave them a chance to really explore the topic,” said Mauro.
As recipient of the 2022 Weller Excellence in Teaching Award, Mauro was presented with a $1,000 award and a certificate of honor.
The Weller Foundation, Incorporated, is a nonprofit organization that was established in 1962 to provide financial assistance to educational, charitable, and civic organizations, according to the foundation.
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