Blue Hill teacher receives week-long learning in nation’s capital

A local history teacher’s passion for the Civil War and his collaboration with his school librarian and local historical society, led him to a week of learning this summer at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Kyle Snow, 7th grade history and ELA teacher at Blue Hill Consolidated School instructs students at the Wilson Museum in Castine.
Kyle Snow, 7th grade history and ELA teacher at Blue Hill Consolidated School instructs students at the Wilson Museum in Castine.

Kyle Snow, who teaches history and English language arts at Blue Hill Consolidated School, was recognized as one of only 300 educators in the nation accepted into the Summer Teacher Institute allowing him to study in the nation’s capital and bring the lessons learned back to the classroom. “This opportunity will not only transform his teaching, but will make future educational experiences for his students personal and meaningful,” says Maine DOE School Library Liaison Sherry Wyman.

To actively engage his students and promote learning about the Civil War, Snow used resources from his school library and primary source documents at his local historical society. The culmination of the connections was a class field trip to the Wilson Museum in Castine funded through the Robin Bray award.

At the Wilson Museum students were immersed in artifacts, letters, and documents and they learned many of these primary sources captured details of the veterans from the area. A highlight was when one of his students traced her family tree back to a local Civil War veteran. “By making history real to students and by co-teaching with other professionals, the students were more engaged and excited about the learning,” says Snow.

While in Washington, DC, Snow learned from an incredible staff of educators which included librarians and content specialists who are building and creating amazing resources for teachers. Many of the resources can be found at LOC.gov.

Snow’s awareness of his library’s value to education is supported in the article “Collaboration and Co-teaching: A New Measure of Impact” from the Dec. 2014 edition of Teacher Librarian. Graphs displayed below show the importance of these connections.

Phase 1: The isolated teacher in the isolated classroom

Teachers Who Teach Alone: How Many Students Meet or Exceed Your Highest Expectations for a Learning Experience?
Elementary Teachers 32%
Middle School Teachers 47%
High School Teachers 59%
Average (across 2,310 Students) 48% 

Phase 2: The impact of co-teaching on achievement

Teachers who co-teach with the Librarian: How Many Students Meet or Exceed Your Highest Expectations for a Learning Experience?
Elementary Schools 71–100% 
Middle Schools 74–100% 
High Schools 70–100% 

The Maine DOE’s Sherry Wyman says Snow’s experience demonstrates that co-teaching and collaborating with other librarians and content specialists in and outside a classroom can profoundly impact student learning in a positive way.

For more information about Maine DOE’s services for collaborating with your school librarian, contact the Department’s School Library Liaison Sherry Wyman at sherry.wyman@maine.gov or 624-6897.