Of course! It’s all about finding the right resources, starting small, and creating connections. Photos are an ideal starting place. For example, children can relate to pictures of other children their age and want to talk about what they see. I love this 1920 photo of children on a teeter totter!
The Library of Congress Teachers’ Page has several “ready to use” primary source sets that will help busy teachers looking for ideas. Children’s Lives at the Turn of the Century has photos of children at work and play, “1904 Baby Parade” (movie) and an image of a game depicting cities.
Many State Memory Collections have teachers guides that will work in classrooms everywhere. The Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Families Then and Now from Minnesota Reflections are two examples that could be paired with the primary source sets or used alone. Visit your State’s Memory Project!
Kindergarten Historians: Primary Sources in an Early Elementary Classroom from the Teachers Page Blog explains how students were hooked by two old movies.
Picture books or early reader chapter books and primary sources complement each other well. Kate DiCamillo: Stories Connect Us, also a blog post, includes book titles and related primary sources. There are some ideas for connecting primary sources with picture books in Primary Sources–Enriching the Study of Historical Fiction (Internet@Schools, Nov. 2014)
A great way to gather an arsenal of ideas is to subscribe to the Teacher’s Page blog. Weekly updates are full of ideas! Subscribe by RSS or email!
I’m excited to see the new Student Discovery Sets from the Library of Congress Teachers Page and available free through Itunes/IBooks.
Teachers familiar with the Library’s Primary Source Sets will recognize the topics and set organization. They will be excited about the interactive capabilities the 6 eBook sets provide. Teachers new to these resources will quickly see the possibilities enhancing teaching and learning. Students can individually view primary source photos, maps and documents, and listen to audio. They can engage with the artifacts by zooming or simply tapping on the image to draw or analyze. Analysis prompts use the familiar Observe, Reflect, Question and Investigate prompts and a place to write. Analysis notes can be copied/pasted into other apps; screenshots of images or drawings images can be saved to photos for future use.
Each set includes a page with a thumbnail version of the primary source and citations. The Teachers Guides that have teaching ideas and additional resources are not included in the eBook versions of the sets, but remain available through The Teachers Page version.
These new eBooks escalate LOC Classroom Materials to a different level, providing intuitive, engaging learning opportunities for students to learn individually following teacher introduction. They are easy to find in the iBooks Store; simply search for Student Discovery Sets. Learn more or access the ebooks directly at www.loc.gov/teachers/student-discovery-sets/.
The six sets offer learning activities for all ages and a variety of content areas.
- ’The Dust Bowl
- Symbols of the United States
- Understanding the Cosmos
- The Constitution
- The Harlem Renaissance
Free Ebooks from the Library of Congress Put History in Students’ Hands, Teachers Page Blog Post, September 2014.
Classroom Ready Materials on the Library of Congress Teachers Page, Internet@Schools September 2013.
More about Primary Source Sets and other materials for teachers.
I’ve just read For Adam’s Sake; A Family Saga in Colonial New England. It is extremely interesting, packed with detail (some juicy) and highly readable. Historian Allegra di Bonaventura meticulously researched an abundance of primary sources but relied heavily on the detailed diary Joshua Hempstead kept for nearly 50 years while living in New London, Connecticut,
The lives the Hempstead family, other families of English ancestry, and the Jacksons, an African American family, are interwoven. Adam Jackson, was Hempstead’s slave for 30 years. Informative accounts of Native Algonquins are also part of the saga. Family and daily life, farming, occupations, hard work, disease, travel, Colonial slavery, and disagreements over religion and land are just some of the many facets of late 17th and early 18th century life in Colonial America. Rich detail and intense narratives captured my attention throughout.
The Hempstead name and my ancestors’ experience Colonial New England piqued my interest when I read about the book. I have known Hempsteads all of my life; my Ford ancestors immigrated to Colonial New England in 1621. I dug out a family history and discovered that Hannah Dingley, wife of James Ford, a 4th generation family member, lived in the New London. The Ford family is not part of For Adam’s Sake, but there is a crossover of the names (Beebe, Winthrop, Rogers, and Harris) and similar situations are included in both.
di Bonaventura’s sources span an extensive range of primary source documents and pictures from New England Historical Societies, The Library of Congress, and beyond. The Hempstead family home was occupied by 8 generations of Hempsteads into the 20th century. It is now a historic site.
- For Adam’s Sake: A Family Saga in Colonial New England by Allegra di Bonaventura. Liveright, 2013. More info.
- The Ancestry of the Children of William Arthur and Nellie Clara Ford Van Alstine; Part 2; Ford Ancestry in America, 1620-1976.
Compiled by James Neal Van Alstine, Center Conway, New Hampshire, 1976.
- Hempstead Houses, Connecticut Historic Site
- Excerpt from the Joshua Hempstead Diary, New London County Historical Society
- Ebook Version of Joshua Hempstead’s Diary (Google Books)
- Mary Johnson’s Primary Source Librarian blog alerted me to this intriguing book. She also has a personal connection with the book! Amazing! Thank you!
A delightful display greets visitors arriving at the home of a Minnesota Media Services and
Instructional Technology Program Director. Click the photo to view these reminders of school library media center things past in more detail! How many of these artifacts do you remember? How many were part of your career? Are some things puzzling?
Enjoy. . . reminisce. . . think about how much school media centers and technology have changed since 1980. Change is sometimes hard to see when we are part of it! Celebrate!
Jane Prestebak, the owner of this collection, would like to know if anyone has a book that held the cards that one checked magazines in with? “What’s it called?” She hopes someone “can part with one of those magazine thingys.”
A picture really is worth a thousand words!
A Stitch in Time Turns a Dime. Our quilt made the Front Page, Winona Daily News July 24, 2014.
In May I described the inspiration for the design of this year’s Great River Shakespeare raffle quilt. The post also has links to primary sources about quilts. Our 2014 GRSF “Get Carried Away, Birds in the Air” themed quilt is complete and hanging in the Festival’s performance lobby. The original painting that inspired the quilt design is nearby. It is incredibly beautiful and a true collaborative project. We are thrilled and excited.
Quilts have a major role in Sue Monk Kidd’s newest novel, The Invention of Wings (Penguin, 2014). The historical fiction novel expands on (and heavily imagines) an actual relationship between abolitionist Sarah Grimke and her house slave, Handful. Charlotte, Handful’s mother, the Grimke household seamstress, creates story quilts telling stories of life in Africa and America. She wouldn’t say what happened to her with words. She would tell it in the cloth
Red and Black triangular quilt blocks also are described in Monk’s book. In Africa, her mauma was quilter, best there is. They was Fon people and sewed applique, same like I do. They cut out fishes, birds, lions, elephants, every beat they had, and sewed em on, but the quilt your granny-mauma brought with her didn’t have no animals on it, just little three-side shapes, what you call a triangle. Same like I put on my quilts. My mauma say they was blackbird wings.
Kidd used many primary sources and visited historic sites as she prepared to write the novel. The quilts that inspired Kidd as she researched background information for the novel were created by Harriet Powers, a slave. Powers’ quilts are archived at the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Powers is highlighted in Americas Library, a Library of Congress selection of primary sources young learners. Powers is also featured in Seven Southern Quilters from the University of Virginia. Stitching Stars: The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers (Mary Lyons) is an ALA notable book for children.
Have you seen quilts that tell a story? What stories do your quilts tell? Quilts are primary sources too!
Let us, ciphers to this great account, on your imaginary forces work.
Chorus, King Henry V, Act I Prologue, William Shakespeare
Each year a group of quilters create a raffle quilt highlighting Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) costume shop fabrics. The inspiration for this year’s “Will Quilt” group was the Festival’s Get Carried Away tagline and the season poster of birds flying.
Our own imaginary forces guided us to select fabrics in the poster’s color palette and design a quilt reflecting the poster’s theme. Fabrics used in costumes for King Lear, Cordelia, Olivia, King Henry, Desdemona and a host of other Shakespearean characters are combined with quilt cottons in a traditional “Birds in the Air” design.
Our quilt tells a story about GRSF. It also depicts a historical story connected to freedom and possibly the Underground Railroad. The connection between the “Birds in the Air” design origin and the Underground Railroad is uncertain, but the design is an inspiration for many variations and fictional books. A few suggested links for learning more are below.
Creating a GRSF quilt is an annual project. Ten unique blocks representing ten plays recalled a decade of plays in our 2013 quilt. Our 2012 art quilt wall hanging included nine panels of “wavy” fabric representing nine Festival seasons and the Mississippi River.
The Library of Congress acknowledges the stories in quilts tell and includes quilts in digital collections of primary sources. Collections include oral interviews with quilters and photos of quilt including some made by students. Historic photos show us quilting bees; historic sheet music celebrates the art of quilting. Letters tell stories.
Quilts and Quiltmaking in America 1978-1996 from the Library’s American Folklife Center is a digital collection that has recorded interviews with quiltmakers and graphic images from two collections in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress: the Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection and the Lands’ End All-American Quilt Contest Collection (Text abbreviated text from the collection overview)
Searchers can also go to www.loc.gov and simply search for quilts. Select the gallery view for a quick overview.
Let your imaginary forces work to imagine the stories these quilts tell. Come back later to see the GRSF Birds in the Air Quilt!
Library of Congress Digital Collection: Quilt Making in America, 1978-1996
Civil War Quilts Reproduction Quilts and Fabric
Jennifer Chiaverini, the Runaway Quilt
Underground Railroad Quilts & Abolitionist Fairs
I loved being an early adapter and introducing technology to students when technology first became available for school media centers. We piloted a circulation system on an Apple II, the text only CD-ROM version of World Book on CD-Rom, and Gopher Internet with its text driven commands. We explored software, collaborative initiatives and multimedia. We tried out a few non-computer innovations such as video disks and created a video production studio with a mix of scavenged old and new technology. Cutting edge technology was not without it stress and there were a few failures But, through trials, errors, and frustrations we learned what works, what doesn’t work and what’s best for real learning. We expanded possibilities for students and the media program. We were part of change and it created change. The Verge post of photos and animated GIFs of old-school technology (including a few audio visual items) are worth a few seconds of reminiscing. Be thankful for wireless, and no longer hooking up zip drives or pry jammed floppy disks out of drives.
Enjoy Reboot: these stunning still-life photos will take you back to the future