The Right Question Institute (RQI) is a non-profit organization that seeks to make democracy work better by building people's capacity to ask questions, an essential skill for learning, self-advocacy, and democratic participation. Since 2019, RQI has worked with the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program to develop resources and professional learning opportunities that can support educators in using RQI's cornerstone strategy, the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), to drive student-centered, inquiry-based, primary source learning. With this grant, RQI is expanding access to these opportunities by recruiting and training more educators, especially from rural, low income, and other settings that have been underrepresented in outreach efforts thus far.
Deepening Discussions in the Online Classroom through Primary Source Analysis brings primary-source analysis to global high school students through online U.S. History curriculum. Online teachers support collaborative analysis in an online, asynchronous, discussion-based format. Throughout the school year, students are presented with weekly primary sources from the Library of Congress. Through discussion, they use these sources to explore and interpret historical themes, making connections within their own unique contexts. As an international class community, students learn from the diverse perspectives of classmates to gain a richer understanding of American history.
Disabled young adults working with Easterseals Massachusetts are creating a campaign to promote the importance of teaching disability history in schools. The #TeachDisabilityHistory campaign aims to spread awareness through presentations and activities utilizing primary sources. Along with promoting the importance of teaching disability history, the campaign allows opportunities for disabled young adults to gain presentation experience. As part of the presentation, there is an interactive game component that uses primary sources to both test people's knowledge as well as educate about disability history. TPS Eastern Region support allows for research of powerful primary sources for the presentation and game.
Teaching with Primary Sources and Humanistic Stories across Media extends the work of the Harvard Cross-Media Lab and taps into the power of storytelling to cultivate empathy and social/cultural awareness among students while building perspective-taking, critical thinking, and media/digital literacy skills applicable across academic subjects/disciplines. The Cross-Media Methodology developed and taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education utilizes three epistemic lenses (aesthetic, ethical, and academic) to analyze a humanistic story (fiction or non-fiction) and compare different media versions (e.g., book, film, graphic novel, podcast). The integration of primary sources opens new avenues for inquiry, discussion, and academic relevance. In a world where students are bombarded every day with information, misinformation, and disinformation online, it can be difficult to discern what’s fact, fiction, or shades of truth. Primary sources will provide essential context while helping to bring history to life, combat presentism, and make meaningful connections with present day issues/events.
For this project, two workshops introduce the Cross-Media with Primary Sources Methodology along with strategies for educators to incorporate these methods into their practice.
Building Up: Community Stories from the Urban Atlases Collection comprises a series of efforts to teach and learn with the Center’s urban atlases collection and digital Atlascope tool. Building Up will include a free public exhibition at the Central Library, teacher tools and professional development, and high school student engagement with exhibition curation. The project encourages broad public learning and specific curricular engagement with urban atlases as windows into a period of intense geographic change in US cities to deepen individuals’ interest in local history through the process of discovery and map inquiry.
Revolution: Mapping the Road to Independence, in partnership with the Boston Public Schools (BPS), history/social studies content specialists, and LMC staff created educational materials that utilize primary sources from the LMC world-class cartographic collection and the Library of Congress website to study the American Revolutionary War era. Key maps were selected and classroom activities and lessons tied to units in grades 2-5 and 10 were created. Beginning in 2015, LMC in partnership with a variety of Boston historical institutions, offers a week-long summer institute for teachers, as well as a fellowship program for two teachers to work with Leventhal and Library of Congress collections to develop curriculum for use in their classrooms.
Maps Tell Stories: The American Revolution professional development activity created by Michelle LeBlanc
Empowering Educators to Create History’s Mysteries
Building on the initial History’s Mysteries: K-5 Curriculum, this new project focuses on expanding the existing History’s Mysteries curriculum by creating new teacher-adaptable curriculum units. It also focuses on training History’s Mysteries educators to become teacher leaders in their schools and districts through a summer institute and continued school-year support. Pre-service teachers are using these templates to build their own inquiry-based lesson plans. This project expands the “Introduction to Inquiry” lessons by adding three new student mysteries. Additionally, new content units serve as templates for educators to build their own mysteries. The goal of this project is to make History’s Mysteries more sustainable by empowering teachers to create, lead, and adapt the existing and new curriculum.
History’s Mysteries: K-5 Curriculum Using Primary Sources to Solve Historical Inquiries is a ready-to-use K-5 curriculum that places inquiry at the center of elementary social studies teaching and learning. By using primary sources from the Library of Congress, the History’s Mysteries curriculum units guide educators and students to think critically about the past. Each unit begins with a student investigation of primary sources, and includes 3-4 lessons centered around inquiry questions that ask students to act as historians in helping to solve a historical mystery. The History’s Mysteries Team provides professional development training for educators to support inquiry-based critical thinking through the History’s Mysteries curriculum. In addition to in-person or virtual professional development opportunities, the team is developing on-line modules including an introduction to using History’s Mysteries, choosing and using primary sources to create inquiry-driven lessons, and differentiation in an inquiry-based classroom.
Teaching Curriculum: Furthering Teacher Learning of Effective Instructional Practices and Student Learning with Primary Sources is a series of secondary school unit plans and a professional development program designed to promote teacher use of effective instructional practices with primary sources and provide high school students with an engaging, thought-provoking, and relevant inquiry into the US and World History. Teaching practices embedded in the 15-day unit plans and modeled in the professional development will include strategies to scaffold primary source analysis, build relevant background knowledge, structure rigorous text-based discussions, and use performance assessments through primary source investigations. Rather than learning the strategies as isolated activities, teachers will see how they fit into a pedagogical arc to support student learning overtime. The Teaching Curriculum will provide new teachers with several exemplars of each strategy as well as an opportunity to develop their own activities that employ each strategy. The Teaching Curriculum, field-test reports, professional development materials, and sample student work will be shared on a free public website in fall 2018.
Globalizing US History: Connections, Comparisons and Contexts - Early America will be a graduate-level, online professional development course for teachers of history and social studies in grades 6 through 12. Participants in this four-week, asynchronous course will gain exposure to primary sources, analytical tools, frameworks, and teaching strategies that will enable them to guide their students' exploration of the period 1492-1815 through broader transnational and comparative lenses. Key moments and topics of analysis will include Jamestown and its world; the global connectedness of colonial New England; the West as contested ground among European and native powers; slavery and transatlantic slave trade; the global French and Indian War; the American Revolution's Impact in Haiti, Latin America, and Sierra Leone; and the founding of the Republic. Participants will also engage in interactive research projects, primary source web-quests, and online forum discussions as they learn how to find new primary sources on relevant topics of interest to them. In line with the goals of the TPS program, this course will highlight a variety of types of primary sources, from maps to images to texts; develop teachers' ability to analyze primary sources and sets of related primary sources; provide knowledge of best practices for using primary sources in the classroom: and expose teachers to the Library's rich digital collections.
Upstander Project aims to promote critical thinking and active learning through primary sources and documentary films. Upstander offers several workshops and pre-conference clinics a year for history and social studies teachers at state, regional and national conferences. In addition, Upstander Project created the Upstander Academy to provide an in-depth inquiry-based professional learning opportunity with a focus on complex historical and current issues. With key community partners, each Upstander Academy combines primary source analysis with time for personal and group reflection about bias, stereotyping, institutionalized racism, competing narratives, and how to practice and model "upstanding" behavior. By using Library of Congress primary sources, the Academy brings to light the voices of those who shaped historical events from the past—including those that do not typically appear in the K-12 classroom. By providing teachers with tools to critically interpret these sources, Upstander Academy aims to help dispel popular myths that continue to have a powerful hold on the outlook of teachers and students.
Bringing Science and the Arts Alive with Primary Source Materials provides multi-level training for K-12 educators in utilizing the Library of Congress' primary source analysis tools and database of primary sources as well as incorporating best practices to support literacy instruction in the content areas of science and the arts.Each two-day workshop utilizes the model set forth by the "Teaching with Primary Sources from Local Collections & The Library of Congress" program at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and incorporates aspects of each distinctive location: International Museum of World War II, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum and Walden Pond State Reservation, and the Museum of Fine Arts.First, educators spend important time exploring primary sources specific to the location, with a focus on identifying sources that can be used to enrich their curriculum. On the second day of each workshop, educators connect primary sources from the local site to primary sources found within the Library of Congress digital collections and build unique opportunities for content-specific inquiry. Through this combination of on-site and Library of Congress resources, educators explore the power of primary source materials, how to build inquiry into daily teaching, and strategies for building student engagement. Principles of Understanding by Design are used to develop units that integrate primary sources, informational reading, and writing that aligns with the Common Core and state standards.
Integrating LGBTQ Content for Elementary, Middle and High School Classrooms Using Library of Congress Primary and Secondary Sources History UnErased, Inc. (HUE) hosts three-day workshop sessions at Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, Massachusetts entitled Reimagining Equality in Our Classrooms, Culture and Consciousness. K-12 classroom teachers (including ELL and SPED), administrators, librarians, and staff engage in the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) history using primary and secondary sources from Library of Congress and ONE Archives Foundation at USC Library's visual history exhibits.
The first day provides initial learning of LGBTQ history with expert historians and archivists using TPS resources and ONE Archives Foundation visual history exhibits. The second day provides a well-facilitated program that addresses common miscues or problems teachers and students may have when engaging with LGBTQ history and content, as well as a tour of the Library of Congress website with expert educators and curriculum designers. Finally, the third day provides collaborative time for participants to work with TPS resources as participants connect LGBTQ history with requisite frameworks and standards.
SEEM Collaborative's Getting to the "Core" of Literacy Using Primary Source Documents TPS project is designed to strengthen instructional pedagogy and teacher research skills across subject areas, provide students with the literacy skills needed for success in school and at work, and create a flexible and sustainable framework for ongoing, multi-district professional development.
Teachers use primary source materials to study a specific subject area, such as "America and the World: Immigration and Imperialism," that provide instruction in developing a methodology for conducting primary source research using the Library of Congress database, incorporating primary source materials into subject area lessons, and contextualizing primary source materials so that students can make connections and draw conclusions. Using the Massachusetts model curriculum units as a guide, teachers incorporate principles of Understanding by Design to develop units that integrate primary sources, informational reading, and writing that align with the Common Core and meet state standards.
National Forum on Information Literacy
ER #28 Contact: Lana Jackman
The Power to Proclaim: The Impact of Presidential Proclamations on American Life, 1789-2010, is a Teaching with Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Project that uses a collaborative teacher/librarian professional development activity between the National Forum on Information Literacy and North Cambridge Catholic High School (NCCHS), an inner city college preparatory/work study high school. A national model, NCCHS, is a member of the Cristo Rey Network, an association of 24 college preparatory high schools across the country in which students work to earn tuition and gain real world experience.
The theme for this 21st century skills TPS project is The Power to Proclaim: The Impact of Presidential Proclamations on American Life, 1789-2010. The primary aim of this project is to introduce NCCHS instructional faculty to the 21st century information/digital literacy skill set needed to design and implement a guided inquiry teaching and learning process that enables high school students to critically and creatively use the primary sources of the Library of Congress. Preparing students and teachers for the new demands of the 21st century Information Society underscores the importance of utilizing the combined skill set of information/digital literacy and applying that skill set across the broad spectrum of academic and workplace teaching and learning. The Teaching with Primary Sources Program offers the ideal context in which to successfully advance the information and digital literacy skills of both teachers and students alike.
The End of Slavery: Documents and Dilemmas uses twenty documents from the Library of Congress From Slavery to Freedom digitized collections and twenty documents from the MHS African Americans and the End of Slavery and Images of the Antislavery Movement in Massachusetts digitized collections to develop educational materials for teachers based on both institutions' resources. Working with Boston-area teachers, curriculum units are created and available through the MHS website. These materials are the core of a full array of professional development programs for educators, including primary source-based workshops and conference presentations with partners at local and national conferences for historians and educators. MHS also hosts teacher fellows in three different programs each year, and a teacher fellowship was devoted to expanding curricula around what has already been developed for this project, incorporating new documents from the collections of both repositories.
Thinking Like a Historian: Primary Sources for Primary Students is an online course focusing on immigration history, a topic that is integral to the elementary social studies framework in Massachusetts and other New England states. We seek to develop and increase elementary classroom teachers' understanding of what a primary source is and how their students can benefit from observing and analyzing primary sources, knowledge of best instructional practices for helping their students learn from primary sources, capacity and confidence to find, select and utilize diverse primary sources in their social studies lesson plans/curriculum, and knowledge of the resources available online through the Library of Congress and other historical institutions for teaching the history of immigration in the elementary curriculum.
Lesson plans created by project participants:
Immigration and Ellis Island created by Betty Carhart
The Intersection of Immigration, Women's Rights, and the Labor Movement New York, early 1900s created by Jennifer Mason
Mexican Immigration created by Mary Ellen Hart
Article by Jennifer Hanson, Librarian "Tips for Making Online Professional Development Work for You" appearing in Volume 2, Number 3 of The Scanner Newsletter.
Primary Sources: A Window to the Past supports the use of primary sources from the Library of Congress in ways that foster critical and creative thinking and a love of history. Initially, teachers and librarians participate in experiences that address the Teaching with Primary Sources Program (TPS) Level I goals and some of the Level II goals that are connected to the MA Curriculum Framework. Primary Sources: A Window to the Past establishes a Level III network within the Collaborative member districts. This project also addresses an objective specified by many of our school district members which entails supporting active student learning with technology. The proposed workshops foster teacher use of primary source images and video segments in a whole class activity in ways that capture the very visual student audience of today.
Being There: Primary Sources in the Classroom provides face-to-face and on-line professional development workshops for teachers and librarians. These workshops introduce participants to the wealth of primary sources, lesson plans, programs, and virtual workshops available through the Library of Congress and teaches them skills to effectively search and access appropriate materials to use with their classes.
The program provides professional development workshops for Martha's Vineyard educators and librarians in accessing and using primary sources to teach. It also provides classroom support for teachers who develop and test curriculum materials using primary sources. The project is presented in three phases, targeting two groups of participants. The project utilizes the technology labs and classroom spaces in the schools to present the workshops.