The American History Teacher Award Committee is proud to announce that Doug Brown of Warrensburg, Missouri is the 2011 winner of the Tom & Betty Lawrence American History Teacher Award. Brown is an eighth grade American history teacher at Warrensburg Middle School. Since 2001 Brown has taught government, geography, world and American history at both the high school and middle school levels. He received both his Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Education from the University of Central Missouri.
In his essay Brown states, “For nearly a dozen years I have taught the story of the Revolution in my eighth grade American history classes. I have enjoyed learning new details to add to the rich stories embedded in the time period and the incredible principles woven together by the brilliant men of the Continental Congress into the fabric of American government and ideals. I have sought out numerous methods and techniques to bring the story to my students and instill in them the same patriotism our founding fathers surely felt.”
“My goal will always be to ignite the patriot spirit into my students’ hearts and minds through education,” added Brown. “The pen and sword may be mighty, but it is education that prepares the future of America.”
Judge Tom Lawrence, award founder said, “Doug Brown is one of the best qualified winners we have had and I look forward to hearing about his experiences at Valley Forge and how he is able to translate that to his classroom.”
In addition to traditional teaching methods such as lectures, writing assignments and videos, Brown utilizes brain based research to bring lessons to his students in interactive ways. Brown’s students take charge of their learning by researching and creating accurate diary entries from Revolutionary War patriots. Another teaching method finds the classroom turned into a history museum containing exhibits created by the students on a topic from the Revolution.
Music plays an integral role in Brown’s classroom. A favorite student activity has been to write songs about the American Revolution. Some songs Brown performs that connect his students to the sacrifices all Americans have made over the years. Yet the students have also inspired and written lyrics, even produced music videos, revealing their strong sense of patriotism
“I have even taken the time to flip my classroom for a day by videotaping myself lecturing a topic and embedding that video on my website so that students can watch me at home on the internet. The students enjoyed being able to watch the video at their own leisure as many times as they needed or wanted too without getting embarrassed to ask me to re-explain complicated details stated in the lecture,” said Brown.
Along with innovative teaching methods Brown has organized three student field trips to Washington D. C. Each time 15 selected students have visited all of the national monuments, Capital Building, White House, and Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, history museums and more.
Brown was chosen to compete for this national award by the Missouri State Society. As this year’s winner of the $1,400 scholarship, Brown will attend The Freedoms Foundation Summer Workshop at Valley Forge. The workshop provides teachers a program that strengthens content knowledge of the American Revolution and enriches their classroom curriculum.