Teacher Center

Excellence in Teaching Award 2003

Ms. Norma Musel

Long-time teacher of multiple-challenged students at the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) was one of five teachers from across the United States recognized for "exemplary" teaching at the 2003 USDA National Ag in the Classroom conference.

Norma and the entire staff at the MSAB used agriculture as the theme for their 2002 summer school program, and then carried the "ag integration" momentum over to wrap the entire 2002/2003 school year science curriculum around agriculture. How do you explain a cow to someone who's never seen one before? Well, Norma and her colleagues figured it out! They brought in a sawhorse and covered it with leather hide, rigged a make-shift face and hung water-filled rubber gloves underneath the "belly." Students, from pre-schoolers to age 21, then sat on a pail and learned how to milk.

"We had really never considered agriculture in the way it was presented to us by Al Withers and Susan Anderson of Minnesota Ag in the Classroom," said Musel. "It's great for integration into science and other subjects and provided opportunities for a great deal of tactile education. And, we found using agriculture as a vehicle for learning was a very rewarding experience for our special needs students."

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