November 25, 2021

Teaching Now: QFT with a Primary Source

First draft vs final drafts This is a guest post from Alyssa Park, a fourth-grade teacher at Scarselli Elementary School in Nevada. My main goals as a teacher are to make sure students leave my classroom bursting with curiosity and with greater self-confidence as learners. I also want them to know how to ask the right questions, how to decide on an action plan to get the information they need, and how to reflect on the work they’ve done. In my second year as a teacher, I learned about the … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

Teaching Now: Primary Sources Aid U.S. History Lessons

From CBS News: How U.S. history, specifically topics like slavery and the civil rights movement, are taught in schools varies widely across the country, a CBS News investigation found. Jericka Duncan visited Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, one of the largest districts in nation, where students mostly use primary sources like letters and speeches to learn about history instead of relying simply on textbooks alone. They say it has taught them to think more critically. Has your … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Using Primary Sources to Create a Lincoln Assassination Newscast

This is a guest post from Tim Anderson, a middle school English teacher and Google Certified Educator at Sulphur Springs Elementary School in Jonesborough, Tennessee. There often seems to be a disconnect between students and historical events. Connecting literature to history helps make it come alive for students. Since my eighth graders are studying the Civil War, I chose to have them read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth pieced … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Using Primary Sources with 21st-Century Learners

This is a guest post from veteran teacher Heather Klos, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher and the Social Studies department chair at Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas. As an early American history teacher, I know it is important to use primary sources effectively with my 8th grade students.  Analyzing primary sources can be very difficult for students, but it is usually my end-game when working with these documents.  I have found that breaking down the documents into manageable chunks … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Integrating Literacy, History & Geography

Informed citizens have knowledge and understanding of geography and history (see the College, Career & Civic C3 Framework). This is a guest post from Nicole Woulfe, a middle school social studies teacher from New Hampshire and a Citizen U pilot lesson implementer. I created the Geography & the Civil War lesson to allow my students to grow as geographers as we studied the Civil War. So often, students are overwhelmed by the dates of battles, the number of casualties, and the famous names … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Zooming In on the Benefits of Primary Source Analysis Using Google Forms

This is a guest post from Alissa Oginsky, a museum educator and 6th-grade history teacher at Holmes Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. Teachers are always on the hunt for new and exciting ways for students to exercise their critical and creative thinking skills. The journey, in fact, never seems to stop! Like many history teachers who have projected, printed, hidden parts of, and even cut up primary source images, I have seen the incredible power primary sources offer by giving students … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Going Gaga Over Suffrage

This is a guest post from veteran educator Carrie Veatch, who has a special interest in inquiry learning and primary sources and is a member of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Mentor Advisory Group. While studying the women’s suffrage movement I decided to mix Library of Congress primary sources with pop culture to capture my students’ attention and lead them on a creative exercise in inquiry, I have to admit, after seeing Soomo Publishing’s parody video production of We … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Deep Image Analysis

This is a guest post from Kerry Gallagher, a Technology Integration Specialist at St. John's Prep, a 1:1 iPad school serving grades 6-12, and former middle and high school history teacher. Most history educators strive to make the past relevant to the present lives of their students. Deep image analysis, as a part of the broader study of history and primary sources, can really draw students into the time and place they are studying. Images that are photographed or created by the people who … [Read more...]