Lakeland teacher to attend Library of Congress program

Published 10:20 pm Friday, August 5, 2011

After being picked from hundreds of applications from teachers across the nation, a Lakeland High School teacher will be attending a summer program at the Library of Congress next week.

Amy Warren, who teaches 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade English, was selected to participate in the Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teaching Institute from Monday through Friday.

Warren learned about the program while completing a project on the Library of Congress as part of her master’s program.

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“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just apply and see what happens, and I can’t believe that I got it,” Warren said. “I was just so pleased.”

During the week, she will learn about teaching with primary sources, which are materials that directly relate to the person, information or idea being studied, and using the sources the Library of Congress offers on its website.

Warren said she is hoping to find great sources to use in her American literature classes.

She said she thinks using primary sources is a more effective way of teaching that helps students experience topics in a less abstract way.

Warren said she has already discovered that the Library of Congress offers audio recordings of former slaves sharing their stories, and she hopes to discover more materials to use in the classroom.

“When you’re studying slave literature, if you can bring in a primary source of someone’s experience, it can bring in another level to what you’re learning,” Warren said.

Warren said the Library of Congress program is also going to help her with her future plans to transition to being a media specialist in the next couple of years.

“I can use it right now as a teacher and in the future as a media specialist,” she said.

In addition to adding more to her classroom, Warren hopes she will be able to share what she learns at the program with her English colleagues as well as with the history department.

She said she thinks 11th-graders benefit the most from learning with primary sources because there is a lot of correlation between English and history they study.

“I think I could probably link a lot of that stuff to what we’re studying during junior year,” Warren said. “It allows for some kind of interdisciplinary class. They will read about Thomas Paine in history and then come and read ‘Common Sense’ with me.”

Warren said she can’t wait to attend next week and be exposed to all the Library of Congress has to offer.

“It’s going to be a really nice adventure,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be interesting to see what other connections I can make.”