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 – How will the sources be used (as the basis for class discussion, written reports, in-class presentations, role playing, etc.)?
  • Source Analysis – In addition to the application of the sources to the task, what information should students recognize about the sources?
  • Classroom Management – Are the sources best used in individual, small group, or whole class activities?
  • Time – How much time must I allocate for this activity or project?
  • Assessment – What output(s) will this activity or project generate? Will this activity or project be assessed quantitatively, qualitatively, or both?