Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.
Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills.
But maybe you’re not sure what to do with them or how to use them in your classroom.
The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program provides primary source-based, independent study professional learning. Earn a certificate of completion by taking the Library’s self-paced interactive modules. Each multimedia-rich program delivers approximately one hour of staff development.
Head over to get the full details or click a link below to jump in with both feet: Read more
Complete the following sentence in your head.
Every workshop I attend should . . .
My first thought?
include snacks and very large Diet Pepsi.
But I suppose there are a few other ways to complete the sentence. A couple of weeks ago I ran across a very interesting post by Pernille Ripp titled Every Workshop I Attend Should . . . What Attendees Wish We Knew. Powerful stuff. As someone who spends a lot of time working with teachers, it was a great reminder of what a good PD session should look like.
- Teachers want choice
- They want to connect with others and content
- They want to be acknowledged as experts
- They want practical ideas
- They want to be inspired
- They want the focus to be on students
- They want it to be fun
And I’m a big believer in face to face, professional learning in groups. I love the interaction that can happen when teachers passionate about the profession get together. Using Ripp’s list as a guide is a wonderful way to measure whether the learning is of high quality.
But with this new fangled interwebs thing out there, there is also personal professional growth opportunities available that would have been impossible to find even five years ago. So where can you find professional development options that contain all of the things on Ripp’s list? Read more
As more and more schools are moving away from paper textbooks and materials, teachers are working to answer the obvious question:
where can I find digital resources appropriate for kids?
If you and your building are using Mac computers or IOS devices such as iPads or iPods, at least part of the answer is the Library of Congress. The folks over there recently released six free iBooks that can be quickly downloaded and are perfect for having students interact with primary source evidence.
The Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Based on the Library’s Primary Source Sets, these new iBooks have built-in interactive tools that let students zoom in, draw to highlight details, and conduct open-ended primary source analysis.
(Aren’t an Apple school? The LOC is still an awesome place to find online and digital resources.)
The six books, Read more
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 hisitorical 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 knows it’s all good cause the LOC is involved.
I recently ran across a little bit of their 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.
The good news?
TPS-Barat has got you covered. They’ve developed a whole series of writing prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy that are designed for use with images and photos.
Are you kidding me? Seriously?
Thousands of historical newspapers from all over the country? Yup. And over 7,892,470 actual newspaper pages? Let that sink in for just a moment. Yup. But where, you ask, can I find such an incredible research tool? The very useful Chronicling America site from the Library of Congress, of course.
You’d think I’d be happy with almost eight million pages to play with. I mean, it’s 7,892,470 pages. Which is . . . you know, a lot. The 7,892,470+ pages cover newspapers from almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 1836 to 1922.
But once you get in the collection, it’s easy to get a little greedy. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some coverage from the Civil War? The Great Depression? Prohibition? WWII? Vietnam? Hippies? 9/11?
Still . . . Read more