In an age of “channel-surfing,” Mt. Auburn Elementary math teacher Pennie Bigger is reaching students by using television as a teaching tool.

For her efforts, Bigger was named 1995-96 Teacher of the Year by KERA/KDTN’s (Channel 13/Channel 2’s) Educational Resource Center. The public television stations honored Bigger for her innovative use of technology in the classroom and for training peers about using these teaching methods, says Brandon Barnes, director of the Educational Resource Center.

Educational television programs are useful tools for reinforcing classroom lessons because they provide visual illustrations of material, Barnes says.

“Today, television is still the most powerful teaching tool if used correctly and supported properly,” Barnes says. “We know from studies that it changes attitudes and effects behavior.”

“It stands to reason that if used by a teacher, it can have a positive influence on students.”

Barnes says teachers shouldn’t let students view television passively, but instead they should stop programs and generate discussion about the shows through question-and-answer sessions.

Bigger, who received $1,000 was one of 26 educators in the country selected for the KERA/KDTN teaching award, which is sponsored by Texaco, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the National Teacher Training Institute. The institute provides teachers with hands-on training about using television in math and science classrooms.

Bigger went through the training session and conducted mini-workshops for her peers during lunch breaks at school.

The next institute training session is scheduled for early 1997. For information, call Barnes at 740-9275.

Lakewood Remembers Student Who Died of Aids By Honoring Excellence in Others

Lakewood Elementary, 3000 Hillbrook, is honoring a former student who died of AIDS by recognizing excellence in other students.

The school recently handed out the Matt Allen Memorial Award to Sydney Kunz-McCarthy, who will attend Alex W. Spence Academy this year.

The award was established by Lakewood’s student council in 1995 to honor Matt Allen, who received national attention for his battle with AIDS. The award is presented to someone who shows commitment, loyalty and respect to others and who demonstrates self-discipline, trust, honesty, strength, confidence, justice and courage, according to the school.

The first award was presented to Allen at his home after his illness prevented him from attending school any longer. Kunz-McCarthy is the first student to receive the award since Allen’s death. She had straight “As” while at Lakewood, was co-editor of the school’s newspaper, tutored two kindergartners, and participated on math team and in choir.

News & Notes

Students Chosen for SMU’s Gifted Program: Three neighborhood students were among those participating in SMU’s three-week talented and gifted learning program this summer. They were Shirley Armstrong, a 10th-grader at Woodrow Wilson High School this year; Sarah Beth Landau, a 9th-grader at G.B. Dealey Montessori; and Valerie Richmond, an 8th-grader at J.L. Long Middle School. About 200 students were chosen from 15 states and two foreign countries. They were selected based on grades, SAT or ACT scores, and teacher recommendations.

Lakehill Teacher Pens Latin American Literature Book: The work of Suzann Steele Saltzman, an English teacher at Lakehill Preparatory, has been selected for inclusion in a much-anticipated new book being published by Teachers and Writers Collaborative. She has written the chapter “Writing Vignettes with Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street,” which will focus on teaching Latin American literature and thematic writing to students.


Dan D. Rogers on Video: Fourth-graders at Dan D. Rogers, 5314 Abrams, have made their contribution to the new Skillman Southwestern Library, 5707 Skillman. Reading Rainbow book reviews by the students are available on video at the facility, which opened this summer.


Bishop Lynch Achievements: Several neighborhood students recently earned membership in the National Honor Society at Bishop Lynch. They are Adrienne Buchanan, Elizabeth Jardina, Andrew Weis, Beth Digby and Nicholas Grimmer. Two neighborhood Bishop Lynch students also placed in the Fleet Reserve Association Americanism Essay Contest. Robert McGann placed first and Sarah Sanders placed second.

Wildcat Band Selects Leaders: Valter Leguizamo and Darren Garay have been selected drum major and assistant drum major, respectively, of the Woodrow Wilson Wildcat Band for the 1996-97 season. Students interested in being in the band or flag corps should call Mr. Hayden at 841-5098.


Woodrow Grad Becomes Doctor: Kelli Lynn Culpepper, a former Woodrow Wilson High School valedictorian, recently earned a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Culpepper received her undergraduate degree from San Antonio’s Trinity University. She currently is completing an OB/GYN residency at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Neighborhood Student Graduates From East Texas: Christopher T. Conine graduated from East Texas State University in Commerce recently with a bachelor’s of science degree. He is the son of neighborhood resident Carol Conine.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.