Three years ago, Mary J. Johnson, an educational consultant to the Library of Congress, created a two part article on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog highlighting primary source integration strategies. I’ve adapted and posted Part One below.
As a teacher, you can saturate your classroom with primary sources from the Library of Congress to promote critical thinking and inquiry. Think of every surface, including computer screens, as potential display spaces for primary sources – photographs, cartoons, music, films, maps, historic newspapers, artifacts, and more. Add document analysis sheets and critical thinking prompts from the Library’s page for teachers, and you’ll have a constant source of primary source conversation starters at your fingertips.
But what are some specific strategies for introducing primary sources to students? Let’s start with these ten: Read more
If the Library of Congress Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers website is not already part of your go-to primary sources toolkit, put your coffee down and bookmark it already. Chronicling America is a huge collection of digitized newspapers from around the United States published between 1836 and 1925. There are a variety of ways to search the database but no matter how you search, you get visual reproductions of complete newspaper pages that contain your search terms.
Say you want your students to compare and contrast contemporary accounts of the Battle of Gettysburg. Head over to the Chronicling America site, adjust the dates to limit the search to 1863, and type in your keywords of “battle gettysburg.” Over 800 results appear.
I will often filter the results by clicking the “Show only front pages” box and now I’m down to around 200. I also usually select the List view rather than the gallery view to start – I can scan more quickly through the list. (Though the gallery view does Read more
Most of you are already familiar with the idea of document analysis worksheets. These sorts of tools are perfect for scaffolding historical thinking skills for your kids. Some of the best, created by the Library of Congress and the National Archives, have been around for years. I also really like the stuff created by the Stanford History Education group, especially their Historical Thinking Chart.
We should be using all of those evidence analysis tools with our kids. They can be especially helpful for training elementary and middle school students to gather and organize evidence while solving authentic problems. And for high school kids without a strong background in historical thinking skills, the tools provided by the LOC, NARA, and SHEG are incredibly useful to guide thinking.
But what about other types of graphic organizers? Are there some organizers you should be using but aren’t? Spoiler alert. Yes.
We have two very simple unbendable, unbreakable rules in our house. No Christmas music allowed before Thanksgiving. No talking about school before August.
It’s August. So . . . we’re talking about school.
If you’re not already at school, you’re heading there soon.
You probably already knew that. And you probably already have some idea of what you and your students will be doing during the first few days of school. But it’s always nice to have a few extra tips and tricks in your bookbag to start off the school year.
So today? The sixth annual Back to School Ideas in a Social Studies Classroom post. Use what you can. Adapt what you can’t. Add your own ideas in the comments.
What not to do
Before we get to the good stuff it’s probably a good idea to think about what doesn’t work. Read more
I’ve been on a current events kick lately. A recent newsletter from social studies guru Mike Hasley reminded me of another awesome news resource called Newseum. And apparently I’ve never really posted anything about Newseum here at History Tech.
Not sure how I’ve never gotten around to that. The Newseum is a very cool, actual museum located in Washington DC with a powerful online presence. Their mission is to “champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education.” And I know that you’ve got one or two other museum choices in DC but if you’re in the area, the Newseum is a very fun place to spend some time. Last time I visited, they had an awesome exhibit highlighting Pulitzer Prize winner photographs and the stories behind them. Amazing.
But the cool thing is that even if you can’t make it across the country for an actual visit, the Newseum has a Read more
Need a place to connect past with present? Need writing prompts? Need hundreds of articles about current events in an easy to access place? Need articles with leveled reading? Need a searchable databases that filter by keyword, grade level, Common Core reading anchors, and articles with machine scored quizzes?
If your answer to even one of those questions is yes, then I’ve got a list of tools just for you. All of them are web-based tools that use current events and contemporary topics to engage kids and all provide the chance for you to to encourage the development of skills required by the ELA literacy standards for History / Government. While at the same aligning to state standards that ask us to connect the past with contemporary events.
So why should we worry about current events? The simple reason is that connecting past and present is good for student retention and encourages critical thinking skills. Not to mention our state standards are asking kids to connect past choices, rights, responsibilities, ideas, beliefs, and relationships to “contemporary events.”
So today you get a few online tools and some helpful strategies that focus on current events: Read more