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History teacher travels to Washington DC for workshop

Kayla Hensley, Staff Writer

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John Mallick is an 8th grade American History teacher who recently had the opportunity to be part of a workshop at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. This workshop was a week-long event in June in which teachers, who were hand selected, got to learn about new curricular ideas for the upcoming school year.

“It exposed teachers to analyzing primary sources, cartoons, videos, photographs, and to how we analyze them and how to apply them when we get back to teaching in school,” Mallick says.

Getting selected, however, was not as easy as it sounds.

“It was a competition,” Mallick said. “So, I sent in an application. They only took 25 teachers out of 300. It was for all the schools in the nation.”

The application included several parts.

“It was an application, and a letter recommendation from the principal, and I was one of the 25 that got selected from across the nation,” he said.

He was joyous when he found out he had been selected.

“I was just ecstatic to actually go to the Library of Congress and see all the different functions, and learn how they expect the teachers to teach,” he said.

Mallick learned a lot during the event.

“The first thing I learned was that the Library of Congress is a phenomenal library,” Mallick said. “Their website has an immense amount of resources that you can use by grade level in American History.”

Mallick also stated that he felt like he was meant to be introduced and allow to view the rare documents room, in which visitors can view primary sources and documents from America’s history.

“I actually got to touch a letter from the American Revolution,” he said. “They bend over backwards for you. They just really do a good job. They are very inviting for teachers.”

The Library of Congress contains many historical artifacts and documents that the teachers got to explore during the workshop.

“We actually had been analyzing photographs,” Mallick said. “We hands-on analyzed actual documents. When I went to the rare documents room, they brought out to me the letters from the American Revolution.”

A teacher’s typical day during the workshop was anything but typical.

“They gave us a schedule, and we would do a series of workshops,” Mallick said. “What they would do is one day we would analyze and put a map together, then we would go on and analyze photographs and did a reflection on them. It was a lot of analyzing and interpreting documents and photographs.”

Mallick goes on to talk about one of the many parts he favored the most during his trip.

“I really had no least favorite parts, because I enjoy going to Washington,” he said. “That’s why I go on the eighth grade field trips. On my off time, I would walk around and visit the Air and Space museum.”

Mallick enjoyed working with the other 24 teachers that were there, too.

“You get some great ideas on lesson plans and ideas for the classroom,” he said. “You get to hear about their classrooms, their success stories. A lot of our work was group work, so we learned something new from each other. I worked with 2 or 3 teachers each day, and you get to discuss the teaching you do and that was probably the best experience that I took from it all.”

Mallick highly recommends the program to other history teachers.

“I definitely recommend the program just for the experience of learning and the resources the Library of Congress provides, so that you can apply them to your classroom,” he said. “The ability to talk to other teachers is worth the trip”.

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History teacher travels to Washington DC for workshop