By the Teachers, For the Teachers

By Erika Mills

In June, the Exhibition Program welcomed nine educators from the Washington, DC area for a Teacher Institute: a 4-day workshop during which participants left their K-12 classrooms and school libraries behind to immerse themselves in National Library of Medicine collections, resources, and professional collaboration. A major part of the Exhibition Program’s work is developing multidisciplinary lesson plans, higher education modules, online activities, and onsite education programs that draw on the historical and contemporary collection of the Library.  This summer, we invited local teachers and media specialists to come learn about our educational offerings and help us create new ones.

Jiwon kim hands out papers to teachers attending the institute

Jiwon Kim, the organizer of the Teacher Institute, leads a workshop activity

Jiwon Kim, the Exhibition Program’s educator and lead exhibit specialist, developed the Teacher Institute, which provided presentations and tutorials that familiarize participants with our collections and online resources and facilitated collaborative work sessions for creating new lesson plans and activities related to our exhibitions.

During group discussions, teachers considered how to incorporate National Library of Medicine resources like MedlinePlus, our consumer health information site, into their work during the school year and facilitate their colleagues doing the same. Lory Gardner, a humanities and language arts teacher at Montgomery Village Middle School, appreciated availability of many visual materials through  IHM, which provides online access to over 70,000 images in the Library’s historical collections: “I’m glad to have some place to send my kids other than Wikipedia.”

The educators brought expertise in different grade levels and subject areas—middle and high school, science, social studies, and humanities.  The lesson plans and activities they created reflect the diversity of the group, and apparently not a moment too soon, as teachers are under increasing pressure to use a multidisciplinary approach in the classroom. For Sara Elwell, a library media specialist, and Carson Wise, a science teacher at McKinley Technology High School, the Institute was an opportunity to work with a colleague in another department. Carson Wise appreciated this. “I got to collaborate with a coworker I never got to collaborate with before. Now, I have someone that I can present ideas with.” Sara Elwell plans to introduce more teachers to our resources. “I’m excited to share because I conducted a survey of teacher needs at my school and your materials seem to answer those needs.”

NLM staff and Teacher institute participants pose for a group photo in the library reading room

Teacher Institute participants with Exhibition Program and NIH staff. Standing (l to r): Peter SanGeorge (Exhibition Program Pathways student), Robin Biser, Carson Wise, Jiwon Kim (exhibition educator), Kim Sidorick. Seated (l to r): Shannon Burden (NIH employee), Sarah Elwell, Emily Sigman, Samantha Candia, Lory Gardner, Amber Leber, Lisa Kellert.

We thank the Teacher Institute participants for their contributions!  The Exhibition Program is always working on new education resources and we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of new developments.

Erika MillsErika Mills is outreach coordinator for the Exhibition Program in the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine.