Ag lessons earn Maysville honor

Christie Puckett has taught at Maysville Public Schools for her entire 34-year teaching career and has been selected as the 2019 Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom Teacher of the Year. She is shown here speaking to the Maysville elementary students after accepting her award.

Born, raised and planted – Christie Puckett describes her lifetime of living in Maysville this way.

“I have such a heart for the town I was born and raised in,” Christie Puckett said, “so it comes as no surprise that Maysville is where God planted me to teach for the last 34 years. It is primarily a farming town, and I love the sense of unity agriculture brings to our community.”

Puckett, who has taught at Maysville Public Schools for her entire 34-year teaching career, has been selected as the 2019 Oklahoma Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Teacher of the Year.

She has pursued AITC in many ways, to include attending countless workshops, tours and conferences across the state. She shared her skills with other educators at the 2016 AITC State Summer Conference as a presenter.

Last year she was an AITC Teacher of the Year finalist and attended the National AITC Conference in Maine.

Although her accomplishments attest to her dedication, it all starts in the classroom. Puckett has incorporated agricultural lessons into her classes since she began teaching.

“As a beginning teacher, I was always exploring new ways to cater to the needs of my students,” she said.

“I first encountered Ag in the Classroom at a workshop held at the Garvin County Fairgrounds, and I have been hooked ever since. I soon became engulfed with a deep passion for teaching ag literacy.”

This passion also led Puckett to become a 4-H leader. She says her AITC lessons always keep her students actively engaged and learning.

“The Little Red Hen is one of my very favorite lessons to teach,” she said.

“I have a personal life connection to the story because my mother always read it to us and taught us to live by the moral of the story. When I teach this lesson, I put emphasis on the growth of wheat from a seed to full growth, bringing examples for students to observe.”

Puckett has taught performing arts, kindergarten, first, third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades, as well as seventh and eighth grade English. However, now she teaches fourth, fifth and sixth grade science.

“AITC lessons are perfect to use in my science classroom,” she said. “They fit right in with the state standards that my students need to master. The curriculum covers a wide variety of skills and concepts through interactive activities, such as plotting on maps, playing the Prey and Predator game, extracting DNA from a strawberry and learning about iron in cereals.”

Outside of her own classroom, Puckett continues to incorporate AITC.

The first Thursday of every month, she reads an agriculture-related book to all elementary students. The students then visit her science lab for a lesson on the book’s subject.

The past few years she has also incorporated an “Ag Day” at Maysville Elementary School.

With help from the local ag teacher, community members, former students and other guests, Puckett spends months planning the event to ensure its success.

Maysville's school superintendent, Dr. Shelly Hildebrand-Beach, is also a big supporter of Ag Day.

“This event exposes students to various agricultural-related activities, machinery and livestock,” Dr. Beach said.

“She included high school students in the presentations and all elementary students rotated through the stations. Each year focuses on different aspects of the agricultural field.”

Puckett says this year she utilized the Farm Bureau Commodity trailer, the Soybean Board and Cheri Long with AITC for help with the stations, along with a local resident bringing her show chickens.

“It is always a fun time seeing the students and parents connect with other members of the community. One of the greatest gifts a student can give their educator is to demonstrate their knowledge and have the same passion to pay it forward.”

Dr. Beach says Puckett is the “ideal role model for all educators” and is “constantly striving to find interesting and motivating lessons.”

She describes Puckett as a “pillar in the community” and “one you can always turn to for guidance and support.”

Puckett will be honored at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City as part of the state’s annual Oklahoma Ag Day celebration April 2. Teachers and students from across the state will be recognized as winners of the 2019 AITC “Oklahoma Ag Adventure” contest.

This celebration is open to the public and is free. Sponsors for Ag Day include the Oklahoma Beef Council, Oklahoma AgCredit, Oklahoma Farm Bureau Women, Oklahoma Soybean Board, Dairy MAX, Southwest Dairy Farmers and ODAFF.

“Agriculture touches so many aspects of our daily lives,” Puckett said.

“I believe that it is critical for students to connect to the world outside the walls of our school building. This is why agriculture is at the core of my instruction.

“I deeply believe that the students must understand and appreciate the community in which they live. Ag in the Classroom helps me to achieve this by providing quality lessons that enhance the learning experience for my students.”

This summer, Puckett will also be on the road with Oklahoma AITC June 4-6 touring “Ag on Route 66.” Teachers from across the state travel Oklahoma from Kellyville to El Reno to learn more about agriculture by touring farms, ranches and more.

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