February 22, 2021

Primary Source Learning: Inaugural Poems & Poets

Poetry has a long history of addressing and illuminating public issues and events but a disjointed and relatively short history of inclusion in presidential inauguration ceremonies. These moments, however, provide additional nuance to the state of the country during these important transitional moments in our nation. Use the links below to read and listen to the inaugural poems; to analyze, compare and contrast the insightful and verses; and to learn more about the poets who penned and performed … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: LOC.gov Teacher-Created Lesson Plans

The Teacher's section on LOC.gov features close to 100 teacher-created lesson plans. As you can see from the image above, lesson plans are listed in alphabetical order and there is a handy search bar to help you easily conduct a keyword search. Use the links below to jump to select groupings of the LOC.gov lesson plans and related PSN teaching resources. All lesson plans Lesson plans by grade level Elementary: Grades 3-5 Middle School: Grades 6-8 High school: Grades … [Read more...]

Guided Primary Source Analysis: Does Your Vote for President Count?

Work in a group to discuss what you can learn from this historical newspaper article (download .pdf) just by examining the headline, illustrations, the introduction (the first three paragraphs), and the section headers. What questions do you still have? Divide the reading of the article among your group members so that each reads 2 or 3 of the 9 sections, then discuss what you've read to answer the questions below. What was the main point of each section? How does each section relate … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Examining Social Justice Through Historical, Classic and Contemporary Sources

This is a guest post from Kasey Short, an eighth-grade English teacher at Charlotte Country Day school in North Carolina.  When I moved from 6th to 8th grade last year, one thing I thought about a lot was how I would approach teaching To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew that I wanted to provide historical context as well as the perspective of recent cases in which people of color have been unjustly found guilty. I also wanted to showcase the voices of people who had been wrongly accused and the … [Read more...]

Analyzing Primary Sources: Technology & Presidential Nominating Conventions

Political conventions have been part of the presidential nominating process for many years, but where conventions are held, who attends, and what happens at them has changed over time. First, analyze sources related to the Democratic Party's national conventions in 1928 and in 1960. What similarities do you see? What differences? In particular, look for evidence of differing technologies. How might changes in technology have affected the 1960 election? 1928 sources Official … [Read more...]

Guided Primary Source Analysis: Pulling Down the Statue

Take a close look at this image to notice small details as well as the bigger picture. Then fill out an Event Happenings worksheet. Next, review the complete work and the source record. What more did you learn? Now look closely at two more images of the same event; the first is a modified image of the first and the second is an entirely different image. Be sure to look closely. What do you learn from the images and source records? Compare and contrast the images as well as the information you … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Worldwide Health Crisis

As the world confronts global health problems such as epidemics or pandemics, involve your students in an authentic lesson that looks at past primary sources to increase understanding of health related issues. Encourage students to use past and current information and digital tools to research, make informed decisions and contribute to their own and their community’s health information. This lesson idea, which  also includes guiding questions, a curated set of historical primary sources, … [Read more...]

Guided Primary Source Analysis: First Post-War Legislature

Use the Library of Congress primary source analysis tool to analyze the image. What do you notice? What do you find surprising? What can you learn from the bibliographic record? Why do you suppose the men in the image were referred to as radical members? What questions do you have? Next, analyze the two sources below to learn what this legislature accomplished and what resistance there was to their work. Summarize what you learned and how your new understandings inform your analysis of the … [Read more...]

Guided Primary Source Analysis: Bonus Veterans

Carefully study the details of the Bonus Veterans photograph above. Brainstorm a list of questions you would need answered in order to write an article about this image. Share your questions with an elbow partner, then investigate this primary source image set to see what questions you were able to answer. Write a brief summary of what you learned. Work in groups to review the Washington, D.C. Evening Star coverage of the "Bonus Army" (see links below). Read the headlines and first couple of … [Read more...]