Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Standards, primary sources and the time crunch

Posted on: May 10, 2011

Social studies and other content standards require students to use primary sources.  Consider this example:

Virginia Standards for the Professional Practice of Teachers: History and Social Studies Teachers 

Standard Two: Knowledge of Content: Teachers of history and social science demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge, skills, processes, and democratic values of history and social science.

Key Element 3: Teachers of history/social science use content from history, geography, economics, and civics to develop the skills of (1) acquiring, organizing, and interpreting information from primary and secondary sources; (2) historical inquiry; (3) reading and interpreting maps, graphs, charts, and political cartoons; (4) making and defending decisions on public policies; and (5) actively participating in groups.

The time crunch is often a major concern.   Using primary sources does not have to take a lot of time.  When the Library of Congress American Memory fellows (myself included) first worked with the resources we excitedly developed lesson plans and wanted to “do everything.”   The daily reminder was start small!

Starting small — using  just a single resource to teach a concept or topic or encourage higher level thinking  — can go a long way to enhance student learning.   The  dilemma is which resource to use when there are so many treasures!    Learn how  in Teaching with Primary Sources, an online course that begins in June.
Comments from Past Students
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm


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