The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) named Marcy Prager (B.A. 1973), a first and second grade teacher at Driscoll School in Brookline, Mass., Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. She was honored at the 89th NCSS Annual Conference in Atlanta, Ga., in November.
This award is presented annually to recognize outstanding social studies teachers who demonstrate exceptional abilities in developing and using instructional material creatively and effectively; show that they incorporate innovative instructional strategies and techniques into their teaching; are able to demonstrate the ability to foster a spirit of inquiry; and encourage the development of democratic beliefs, values, and skills needed to become effective citizens
Taking advantage of her sound understanding of how young students learn, Prager manages to transmit what she has learned first hand in her travel experiences in a manner that engages and challenges her students in developing a range of skills, according to NCSS. "Marcy runs a high-energy and fast-paced classroom where every student has a secure place to learn and a stimulating lesson to work on," said Jim Parziale, Principal at Michael Driscoll School.
At a conference session, Prager shared her exceptional teaching strategies that demonstrated how she uses media to introduce the Hopi culture to her second grade students and focused on how a different culture can come alive for students through the use of inquiry, technology, and hands-on activities.
A veteran elementary grades teacher, Prager is deeply committed to integrated education and to building curriculum around units of study that enable learning about and experiencing the world and other cultures. When in 2000 the Freeman Foundation awarded Michael Driscoll School a grant to develop an integrated program of study for Chinese language and culture, Prager mentored incoming Chinese language teachers in structuring effective lessons for young children; she took up producing the elementary chapters of the grant-required curriculum book; provided guidance to her colleagues in the primary grades in developing integrated curriculum; and learned Chinese to continue her students integrated learning in her classroom.
Prager is the recipient of the AIG WorldSource Award for Excellence given to teachers for creative and significant progress in developing an international focus in schools, as well as of three Brookline Education Foundation grants to tour Ghana, China, and Japan to develop "visual texts," and the Charlie Baker Legacy Award to travel to HOPI Land to develop an age-appropriate Native American geography curriculum for second graders.
Founded in 1921, the National Council for the Social Studies has a membership of 20,000 social studies professionals in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and 69 foreign countries. Membership includes K-16 classroom teachers, curriculum supervisors and specialists, curriculum writers and designers, and teacher educators. The NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for K-16 teachers of civics, history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology and law-related education. Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.
For more information visit: http://www.socialstudies.org/awards/teaching.