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Elementary writing prompts aligned to the Common Core

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It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. As a long suffering Kansas City Royals fan, it was frustrating watching them yesterday as they lost Game 5 of the ALCS. Seriously. One run? Come on, boys.

But that disappointment was balanced out by an incredibly powerful learning opportunity – spending the day with a group of educators in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. One of the cool parts of the day was chatting with Mara Grujanac, director of the Barat Educational Foundation

If you haven’t spent at least a few hours at the TPS-Barat blog site, you’re missing out. They’ve got some amazing resources designed specifically to support historical thinking. Using funds and support from the Library of Congress, the Barat Educational Foundation created a site focused on the effective use of primary sources in the classroom. Titled TPS-Barat Primary Source Nexus, the site has themed sets of primary sources, teaching strategies, online and face to face professional development, and tech integration tips.

Seriously. Be prepared to spend some time there. Plus you know it’s all good cause the LOC is involved.

And my conversation with Mara uncovered a specific piece of goodness that seems like a no-brainer. As we shift our instructional focus to include more historical thinking process and literacy, using primary and secondary sources should be one of our prime strategies. But it can be difficult integrating the use of primary source images with literacy activities. Especially for those of you at the elementary level.

The good news?

TPS-Barat has got you covered. They’ve developed a whole series of writing prompts aligned to the Common Core that are designed for use with images and photos. (This list of posts is fairly extensive so be sure click through to view all of the posts.)

Need a quick teaser? The following is a screenshot from the 5th grade document:

barat writing prompts

I love the idea of having variety of literacy skills tied to photos and images. And just because these are called writing prompts doesn’t mean you can’t use them as small group or whole class conversation starters.


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