November 30, 2015

Primary Source Learning: History Assessments of Thinking

The first Thanksgiving 1621

Is the painting above by J.L.G Ferris—The First Thanksgiving 1621—a useful resource for historians who wish to understand the relationship between the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrim settlers in 1621? This is the question asked by Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) consortium member Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) in one of their Beyond the Bubble History Assessments of Thinking (HATs). Beyond the Bubble uses Library of Congress primary sources in "easy-to-use … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Going Gaga Over Suffrage

Votes for women ribbon

This is a guest post from veteran educator Carrie Veatch, who has a special interest in inquiry learning and primary sources and is a member of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Mentor Advisory Group. While studying the women’s suffrage movement, I decided to mix Library of Congress primary sources with pop culture to capture my students’ attention and lead them on a creative exercise in inquiry. I have to admit, after seeing Soomo Publishing’s parody video production of … [Read more...]

NHD 2016: Selecting a Topic for a History Project


The graphic above from the Chicago Metro History Education Center (CMHEC) 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 this year’s National History Day (NHD) theme: Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History? (All three elements in this year’s theme—exploration, encounter, exchange—are closely related though you may focus mainly on one aspect.) For Illinois students, does the … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Technology Time Travel

Wireless Telegraphy

Set students to sleuthing by traveling back in time with historic newspapers to discover how the hot new technology at the turn of the 20th century evolved. Have students work in groups to analyze the primary sources and, together, uncover the evolution of radio technology. Then have students investigate other primary and secondary sources to compare and contrast radio's evolution to another technology of today. What parallels do they notice? What lessons can they learn from history to help them … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Deep Image Analysis


This is a guest post from Kerry Gallagher, a Technology Integration Specialist at St. John's Prep, a 1:1 iPad school serving grades 6-12, and former middle and high school history teacher. Most history educators strive to make the past relevant to the present lives of their students. Deep image analysis, as a part of the broader study of history and primary sources, can really draw students into the time and place they are studying. Images that are photographed or created by the people who … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Pledge of Allegiance Image Sequencing

Mrs. Claire Cumberbatch, of 1303 Dean St., leader of the Bedford-Stuyvesant group protesting alleged "segregated" school, leads oath of allegiance

Most school children in the United States recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. But what does the pledge really mean? By pairing primary sources with the text, students will deepen their understanding of a citizen's commitment to country. Image sequencing materials Pledge of Allegiance Image Sequencing Worksheet Pledge of Allegiance Images Pledge of Allegiance Image Citations Image sequencing resources Learn more about image sequencing activities Learning from the … [Read more...]

Learning from the Source: Primary Source Trail of Western Emigration

Map of an exploring expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the year 1842 and to Oregon & north California in the years 1843-44

Background The “Corps of Discovery” expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in the years 1804-1806 was instrumental in opening up western North America to settlement. After this defining exploration, fur companies further investigated  westward routes. Financed by John J. Astor's Pacific Fur Company, an 1812 expedition led by Robert Stuart began on the west coast at Fort Aster on the mouth of the Columbia River and forged eastward. A significant portion of the route … [Read more...]

Literature Links: To Kill a Mockingbird

A scene from the play "To Kill A Mockingbird," performed in Monroeville, Alabama

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the selections in the Books That Shaped America online exhibition. The curator's note reads: This 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner was an immediate critical and financial success for its author, with more than 30 million copies in print to date. Harper Lee created one of the most enduring and heroic characters in all of American literature in Atticus Finch, the small-town lawyer who defended a wrongly accused black man. The book’s importance was recognized … [Read more...]

Literature Links: Alice in Wonderland


Find out some intriguing ways to connect to one of the most beloved stories of all times with various primary sources. The Immigrant Experience: Down the Rabbit Hole Library of Congress Relocating to a new country can be a disorienting experience. Immigrants often find themselves in a strange new world where the rules have changed, the surroundings are unfamiliar, and the inhabitants speak in strange tongues. In some ways, the immigrant experience is like the dizzying journey taken by the … [Read more...]

Literature Links: Predicting & Inferring about Woman Suffrage

Student Free Response

This lesson uses the Predict and Infer strategy; both the lesson and the strategy were created by elementary teacher and adjunct university instructor Kimberly Heckart, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Focus Question What did women do to get the right to vote? Content Goal Students build background knowledge of what it was like to be a suffragist and discover how women persistently fought for over 100 years until they were granted the right to vote. Primary Sources Susan B. … [Read more...]