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Activating The Henry Ford Archive of Innovation

Posts Tagged teacher innovator awards

Innovative Inspiration

September 7, 2016 Think THF

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Maureen Foelkl is one of this year's Teacher Innovator Award winners. She shared her thoughts about her experience here at The Henry Ford; take a look here to see the rest of this year's winners.


From the moment I spied the entrance gates to Th Henry Ford it reminded me of Disneyland as a child. The anticipation of the innovative educators’ experience was coming to fruition. The Henry Fod's Frederick Rubin and Phil Grumm greeted the innovative teacher group with a warm welcome and an introduction to our week. 

Our days were thoughtfully planned. We began the experience interacting with modern day creators at Maker Faire Detroit. We were given the privilege of awarding blue ribbons to makers we believe captured the true innovative spirit. There were many creative ideas that it made it virtually impossible to isolate just two blue ribbon winners.

I was personally inspired by a 12-year-old maker that had taken used clothing and converted the rags into costumes that young adults stylishly wore. He started his own YouTube channel to show others how they could create their own woven masterpieces. The maker ribbon was his true inspiration to continue his own innovative creations. As an educator, this is what I value. An avenue to make students feel valued and successful.

The team from The Henry Ford is a phenomenal group of leaders that made the Teacher Innovator award meaningful. Cynthia Jones, Marc Greuther, Catherine Tuczek, Ben Seymour, Ryan Spencer, along with the most pleasant and helpful group of employees contributed to the positive experience at the museum. I now have nine additional educators I feel connected to for future inspirational teaching lessons.

I am creating an E-STEM unit of study for outdoor school. The Henry Ford's website will be invaluable as I begin to generate meaningful lessons. One  of my lessons, on John Muir the expert navigator will expose students to the history of direction. Young navigators will learn to use a compass. I will have students take a brief overview from and research the history of the compass. For me, the lesson comes to life because I was fortunate to have a behind the scenes tour of the archives. Standing inches away from this compass allows me to tell a story behind the piece. I will share the knowledge to the next generation of learners in hope that they too will become explorers of their world.

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The 2016 Teacher Innovator Award Winners: Far Back: Scott Weiler. From Left to right: Fabian Reid, Catherine Turso, George Hademenos, Jill Badalamenti, Cindy Lewis, Leon Tynes, Tracie Adams, Maureen Foelkl. (Unable to attend: Jessica Klass)

I highly encourage teachers to visit Henry Ford Museum and take time to introduce your students to the world of innovation via their website to inspire the creativity in teaching and learning.

Maureen Foelkl is a Teacher Innovator Award Winner at The Henry Ford and is a teacher at Chapman Hill Elementary in Salem, Oregon.

Teacher Innovator Awards