Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘High school students

Student Discovery Set

Student Discovery Set

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.

  • Immigration
  • ’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.

Making Learning Interactive (The New Media Center, Column,  Internet @ Schools, March/April 2015)


Educators looking for digital primary resources representing world history and cultures will be excited to learn about a growing collection of significant, multilingual resources accessible through the World Digital Library, a Library of Congress global partnership resource.

World Digital Library MapAn interactive  world map on the launch page has thumbnails representing 9 geographic regions. Each image invites browsing through thousands of manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.  Search by topic, region, time period or in one of 7 languages.  Over 40 world languages are represented in the artifacdts.  WDL is a great source for discovering resources for world history and cultures, foreign language, United States History and world literature.  Click the map to begin exploring.  It’s that easy!

How can I  use primary resources like these in the media center and classroom or to support Common Core Standards?
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources 
See what former students have to say


The Interesting History of Prince Lee Boo, Brought to England from the Pelew Islands

The book tells the story of Captain Henry Wilson’s shipwreck on Palau and his subsequent encounter with the Palauan people, one of whom, a young prince named Lee Boo, later came to England with Wilson. Prince Lee Boo was one of the first Pacific Islanders to visit Great Britain, and his life and untimely death, only five months after his arrival in London, captured the imagination of the British, and wider European and American, audiences. This work was so popular that between 1789 and 1850, more than 20 English and a dozen foreign-language editions were published in different countries.  Listen to information about this artifact! View the book and Bibliographic record
World Digital Library: http://www.wdl.org
About the WDL:  http://www.wdl.org/en/about/

This class changed my teaching forever. It was powerful!

Congratulations to science teacher Stacey Balbach who will be speaking about Primary Sources Science at the
National Science Teachers Convention in March 2012.  Way to go!

When she was a student in Teaching With Primary Sources, a Wisconsin science teacher discovered primary sources are not just for history or serious  researchers. Primary sources can enhance student learning throughout all content areas and for for students of all ages. She used Leonardo DaVinci’s   journals and notes help students understand the importance of scientific observation and note-taking.  The science teacher discovered that  Primary sources are exciting  from the point of a chemist or physicist.  ” With the new accessibility of the sources really the opportunities for teachers are endless.  The sky is the limit.  Really you can build any type of multifaceted project that you want ”

A health/science teacher used maps depicting the spread if diseases as the United States expanded westward to the study of today’s infectious diseases. She connected the health curriculum to literature by reading Peg Kehret’s  Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio to her students.

A middle level teacher was excited to learn how she could use primary sources to help teach resource validity and overall literacy.  Instruction became more student-centered, there was a high level of student engagement, and students developed a deeper meaning of the subject matter because of increased accessibility to primary sources. She concluded, by learning how to locate and use primary sources I was reminded of what my responsibility is as an educator:  to increase student achievement and understanding.  By failing to incorporate primary sources, I fail my students.

The next Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources course begins soon.
See what former other students have to say.
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm

A university student’s eyes lit up when I said I taught a course for teachers on using primary sources in the classroom!

I learned about them in high school; I’m glad I did; my university professors expect us to know how to find them and use them for research.   I wish we had used them more in high school; they would help me write better.  It’s like being a detective!

Thanks, Megan!  You are so right.

The eagle map of the United States, Library of Congress

Primary sources are all around us in our homes and communities. They bring learning to life; they add meaning to our experiences and learning. State standards require students to use primary sources.  The Eagle Map of the United States added excitement and enthusiasm to a 4th grade teaching activity I created — and it was a perfect match for current classroom activities.  We all had fun learning.Treasures like these  are now more accessible and exciting  than ever thanks to ever expanding digitalization.

How can I find appropriate resources? What do I do with them?
We have a course to help you!   Check us out!

Teaching with Primary Sources  begins soon!
Comments from Past Students
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/

Eagle Map of the United States, Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3700.np000151 

A history teacher in Louisiana  incorporated primary source photographs, newspapers, and maps into a lesson during the first week of school.   Students were required to read Killer Angels, Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize winning  account of the Battle of Gettysburg  over the summer. She wrote:

NY Tribune, 7/01/1863

I allowed my first period class today to start the anticipatory set I had assigned for homework in the last few minutes of class.  They got so into it!  Between mocking Burnside’s facial hair, talking about the names, talking about the autographs – they really – without knowing it – started to get excited about primary documents!  It was great!  . . . . . .[Later that day]  the first fire drill of the year occurred.  As we were standing outside, waiting for the all clear, the vice principal came over to tell me that some of my students were gathered together and were talking about all the cool stuff they had learned that morning about Gettysburg!  I swear I nearly cried. 
That is the reason we teach!

(Used with permission from Robin Vogt, Newman School, New Orleans,)

Learn more about Teaching with Primary Sources, an online class for teachers of all content areas and students of all ages.
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm
Comments from past students

New York Tribune, July 1, 1863.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress

The vet tech at a local vet clinic made my day!  I stopped in to buy my Siamese cat a Treat. He asked if I used to work in the media center at the middle school.  He said I  helped him and his friend with their report about wolves; the Internet was new to the school and had I showed them the International Wolf Center site. He did not find everything he wanted, but he remembered the experience to share it with me.  I remembered it, too, and remembered how much I enjoyed learning about that exciting web site, an early multimedia site with an educational and collaborative focus.

Cody liked the Wolf Center site, too. He and and his brother  came running into our home computer room with their ears perked up when we played the howls:)

We never know who we impact.
Who is introducing exciting new tools to students now that there are
fewer media specialist in schools?

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