September 19, 2022

Teaching Now: Separating Myths from History

This unit plan and teaching guide was developed by Dr. John Bickford, Professor of Social Studies/History Education at Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies, in collaboration with Citizen U. It presents a lesson plan with teaching notes targeted to early and upper elementary students. TEACHER BACKGROUND Children—and adults!—will be shocked to learn most of their Thanksgiving facts are fables, not history. This short section … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: The Wampanoag, the Plimoth Colonists & the First Thanksgiving

This primary source set is targeted to elementary students and includes background information and thinking prompts. It was curated mainly by Dr. John Bickford, Professor of Social Studies/History Education at Eastern Illinois University and Editor-in-Chief of The Councilor: A Journal of the Social Studies, with the goal of helping students separate Thanksgiving myths from history. This set is also available as a Google document; get it here. Access the teaching guide for this source … [Read more...]

Citizen U Webinar: The “Four Freedoms” & the Bill of Rights

Citizen U lessons infuse civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions across the core subjects in elementary, middle, and high school grades. This interactive webinar will feature practice with interdisciplinary civics, inquiry-based learning, and teaching with primary sources. You'll see how these free lessons can be used in either ELA or social studies classes and how they're differentiated across grade spans from elementary to high school. You’ll also be eligible to enter a drawing for a $50 … [Read more...]

Citizen U Webinar: Teaching About Journalists & a Free Press

Citizen U lessons infuse civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions across the core subjects in elementary, middle, and high school grades. This interactive webinar featured practice with interdisciplinary civics, inquiry-based learning, and teaching with primary sources, and provided information about a free elementary-level lesson that can be used in either ELA or social studies classes. View webinar recording Lesson Plans Elementary: Journalists and a Free Press Middle … [Read more...]

Citizen U Webinar: Teaching About Dolores Huerta & the United Farm Workers

Citizen U lessons infuse civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions across the core subjects in elementary, middle, and high school grades. This interactive webinar featured practice with interdisciplinary civics, inquiry-based learning, and teaching with primary sources, and information about three ELA-Civics lessons about Dolores Huerta and the United Farm Workers. The lessons reach across grade levels to elementary, middle and high school students. View webinar recording. Related … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Predicting & Inferring with Primary Sources & Literature

This is a guest post from elementary teacher and adjunct university instructor Kimberly Heckart, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “I developed the Predict and Infer strategy to help students develop historical comprehension skills while comparing, contrasting, and evaluating information from primary sources related to a particular time period. This strategy motivates students to predict the relevance and meanings of sources and then discover information that will help them make sense of the sources while … [Read more...]

Analyzing Primary Sources: Elementary Image & Text Analysis Sheets

Primary sources engage all students—elementary, middle and high school. Below are some worksheets to help elementary students, in particular, to analyze primary source images and texts. These worksheets were created in collaboration with master teacher Kimberly Heckart, who teaches third grade at Prairie Ridge Elementary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Elementary Social Studies Methods at the University of Iowa. Kim whose accolades include Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year for both … [Read more...]

Finding Resources: TPS Journal

Dig deep into a variety of teaching with primary sources topics. The TPS Journal, formerly titled the TPS Quarterly, is an online, peer-reviewed publication focused on pedagogical approaches to teaching with Library of Congress digitized primary sources in K-12 classrooms. Each issue provides sections related to the issue's thematic focus: a feature article, an elementary primary source activity, a secondary primary source activity, a teacher spotlight highlighting primary source learning in the … [Read more...]

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...]