February 19, 2018

Teaching Now: Using Primary Sources to Create a Lincoln Assassination Newscast

This is a guest post from Tim Anderson, a middle school English teacher and Google Certified Educator at Sulphur Springs Elementary School in Jonesborough, Tennessee. There often seems to be a disconnect between students and historical events. Connecting literature to history helps make it come alive for students. Since my eighth graders are studying the Civil War, I chose to have them read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth pieced … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Foundational Lessons in Democracy & Civil Discourse

"Conspiracy theories run amok. Fear of spies and meddling in American politics at the highest levels by foreign powers. A bipartisan divide so bitter that the federal government moves to muzzle what many politicians believe to be a biased, out-of-control news media." Current events? Actually, the excerpt paints a picture of the political climate during John Adam's tenure as president of the United States and is the lead paragraph of a book review from the Christian Science Monitor of Friends … [Read more...]

Citizen U: Lessons Infusing Civics Across the Curriculum

The Citizen U curriculum is a collaboration between the Barat Education Foundation (BEF), Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), and DePaul University’s Office of Innovative Professional Learning (DePaul OIPL) and was developed thanks to a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program. The goal of the Citizen U curriculum is to infuse civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions across the core subjects in elementary, middle, and high school grades. Working with … [Read more...]

Literature Links: National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature

Library of Congress News The Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader today announced the appointment of Jacqueline Woodson, four-time Newbery Honor Medalist, Coretta Scott King Book Award winner and former Young People’s Poet Laureate for her memoir-in-verse “Brown Girl Dreaming,” as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. The program was established by the three organizations in 2008 to emphasize the importance of young people’s literature as it … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Fake News & Civic Reasoning

Practicing primary source analysis helps students develop historical thinking skills that also happen to be very important civic literacy skills. In an article from the Fall 2017 issue of American Educator, Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) provides assessments of online civic reasoning and tips for going beyond identifying news as "fake" or "real" to understanding where information comes from and who is behind it. Social studies consultant and History Tech blogger Glenn Wiebe provides … [Read more...]

NHD 2018: Selecting a Topic for a History Project

The graphic above from the Chicago Metro History Fair (CMHF) is a great encapsulation of how to choose a topic for a history fair project. In addition, ask yourself the questions listed below. Does the topic relate to the 2018 National History Day (NHD) theme: Conflict & Compromise in History? For Illinois students, does the topic relate to local or Illinois state history? Does the topic really interest you? Do you have a personal connection to the topic? (It’s not necessary … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Immigrant Soldiers

The United States is a nation of immigrants, many of whom have served the country in times of need. Below you will find links to news articles about immigrant soldiers, historical background resources, and related primary sources and teaching resources. How does studying sources from the past inform your understanding of the contemporary debate surrounding immigrants in the U.S. armed forces? Articles Immigrant Soldiers Win Pause Of Rules Blocking Citizenship Law360 October 30, 2017 … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Slavery & Compromise

In a Fox News interview with White House chief of staff John Kelly on Oct. 30, 2017, the former marine general said that “the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War”. Kelly's statement set off a firestorm of impassioned responses across traditional and social media about the cause of the Civil War and the history of slavery and compromise prior to this seminal event. Read some of the contemporary articles, review background information about compromises over slavery prior to the … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Individual Influence

The article, In a Lost Essay, a Glimpse of an Elusive Poet and Slave (The New York Times Sept. 25, 2017), tells the intriguing story of the discovery of a primary source text by Jonathan Senchyne, an assistant professor of book history at the University of Wisconsin. The essay, "Individual Influence" by North Carolina slave and poet George Moses Horton, was found in a scrapbook documenting an 1856 University of North Carolina (UNC) controversy compiled by Henry Harrisse, a 19th-century historian … [Read more...]

Literature Links: Her Right Foot

Tom Bober (@CaptainLibrary), teacher librarian extraordinaire and former teacher in residence at the Library of Congress, put together a fantastic primary source set to accompany the picture book, Her Right Foot, by Dave Eggers. In a post on Knowledge Quest from the American Association of School Librarians, Tom details a plan for pairing primary source analysis with the book to help students explore how and why the the Statue of Liberty was built and to deepen their understanding of this … [Read more...]