PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A teacher from Middlesex County will be honored tonight in Washington as one of the nation’s best science teachers, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

WCBS 880’s Jim Smith On The Story

For 15 years, Rebecca McLelland-Crawley has been getting Perth Amboy kids fired up about the wonders of science.

Tonight, she will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Two teachers from each state will be getting the award. She will be joined by John McAllen III, a Point Pleasant math teacher.

McLelland-Crawley admits that the focus in schools these days is often on reading, writing, and arithmetic.

“Sometimes science gets put on the back burner,” she told Smith.

She said her secret is to get kids out of the classroom.

“Get their feet dirty in the sand and their hands dirty in mud,” she said. “I do love to get them dirty. I really do. I love taking kids down to the waterfront and when they find the little crabs underneath rocks for the first time and they all start screaming.”

She also uses a large helping of technology, including Twitter, podcasts, and blogs about science.

“We have Twitter Tuesday in my class,” she said.

A tour of the White House is slated for Friday and possibly a meeting with President Barack Obama.

In the fall, she will be taking her talents to the West Windsor – Plainsboro school district.

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