October 1, 2021

Teaching Now: Innovative Ideas to Teach Social Studies Skills

The April 5, 2021 #sschat—a moderated Twitter chat using the #sschat hashtag—was chock full of innovative ideas to teach social studies skills from educators across the country. Here is how the group defines itself on the #sschat website. #sschat is more than a hashtag, it’s an open group of dedicated network of educators and enthusiasts who aim to improve their personal, and our collective, teaching of social studies subject matter. We aim to help social studies teachers by helping to … [Read more...]

Analyzing Primary Sources: Strategies & Activities

When first starting out teaching with primary sources, we recommend trying out the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool (see Analyzing Primary Sources: Tools & Guides). Below, we have compiled a rich list of primary source analysis strategies and activities developed by the Library, TPS Consortium partners, and teacher pros in the field. Library of Congress 10 Ways to Enrich Your Classroom with Primary Sources – Part 1 10 Ways to Enrich Your Classroom with Primary … [Read more...]

Literature Links: The Great Gatsby & Primary Sources from the Roaring Twenties

This three-part lesson from the Library of Congress* provides students with insight into the historical context of the 1920s and helps them recognize how popular culture reflects the values, mores, and events of the time period as they synthesize fictional events and primary sources. In a culminating project, students create a newspaper containing multiple types of content using both historical resources and content from the The Great Gatsby. Lesson resources Part I: Using Primary … [Read more...]

Analyzing Primary Sources: 3D Pyramid

The 3D Pyramid created by Historica Canada helps students analyze primary sources in 5 steps. The 5Ws Context Exploring Reaching Conclusions Finding Proof Find out more about the five steps by visiting the 3D Pyramid tool page. Download the 3D Pyramid to use in your classroom. Thanks @ChristinaGanev for surfacing this great tool! … [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 Primary Sources: Criteria for Classroom Use

Primary source analysis promotes information literacy, a vital skill for competent citizens. 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 source type(s) will best engage … [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 Library Teacher Guides in the primary source sets and the Collection Connections (please note that those collections marked with teaching resources are the ones … [Read more...]