October 18, 2017

Selecting, Excerpting & Modifying Primary Sources

Have you ever wanted to use a primary source document with students but hesitated because you felt the struggle to comprehend the text would be the focus of the task rather than text analysis? In a TweetChat about teaching with primary sources, middle school social studies teacher Chris Heffernan (@cheffernan75) articulated the dilemma, "This has been a challenge in my building. Some say adapt & keep meaning. Others want them to experience original text. I'm torn." While some may say that … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources That Deal with Difficult Issues

Primary sources bring history to life but life can be harsh. Teachers need to be prepared for primary sources that may include, as Library of Congress Educational Resource Specialist Danna Bell wrote in the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog, "material that would shock, anger, disgust, stun, frustrate or annoy". But they also provide incredible learning opportunities as primary source expert and TPS Teachers Network Coordinator Mary Johnson noted in a comment to Ms. Bell's blog post, "I … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources for Research Projects

When completing a research project you will want to include primary sources. Using primary sources is particularly important when creating a history project and required for National History Day (NHD) projects. To get a better understanding of different types of sources, review the post Selecting Primary Sources: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary? Think of primary sources as raw, unfiltered material that you will analyze and use as evidence to support your claims. Primary sources are original … [Read more...]

Selecting Sources: Tertiary, Secondary, Primary

When conducting research, you will likely use three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. While exact definitions may vary by discipline or institution, we hope this post will help you sort out the main distinctions between these types of sources and when to use each in the research process for National History Day (NHD) and other research projects. When creating NHD or other research projects, you will use secondary and primary sources and, possibly, tertiary sources but your … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources: Criteria for Classroom Use

The skills needed to analyze primary sources are the same types of skills emphasized by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Reading. When selecting primary sources to use with students, keep the criteria listed below in mind to ensure valuable learning experiences. KNOW YOUR STUDENTS Engagement Will your students want to dig deep, ask questions, and learn more about the primary source? Is the source interesting? Is the source relevant to a current unit or theme? What primary … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources: Point of View & Perspective

When teaching a topic with primary sources, it is important to provide multiple sources that represent a variety of points of views and perspectives. Doing so provides students with practice in critical thinking and evaluating evidence and arguments, skills emphasized by the Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS), particularly CCSS anchor reading standards 4, 6, 7 and 9. The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog guidelines for selecting primary sources that will help students … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources: Considering Historical Context

Understanding historical context is an important element when considering why a primary source was created. The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog outlines characteristics to look for when selecting primary sources that students will be able to place in historical context. For more help providing historical context, look in the Teacher's Guides in the primary source sets and the American Memory Collection Connections (please note that those collections marked with teaching resources are … [Read more...]

Selecting Primary Sources: Learning Activity Criteria

The Teaching with the Library of Congress blog gives some great tips on selecting the most effective primary sources to use with your students. The TPS-Barat program offers some more tips, suggesting teachers ask themselves the following questions when choosing primary sources for use in the classroom. Goal – What is the overall activity or project goal? What questions are we trying to answer? What problem are we trying to solve? What product are we trying to create? Activity Types – … [Read more...]