Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘Online Professional Development

WatchFobWhat was in Lincoln’s Pockets the night he was assassinated? 

Lincoln’s Pockets, a Library of Congress professional development activity  answers the question. These artifacts are available to teachers and students digitally in Lincoln’s Pockets, a LOC Teacher’s Page Professional Development Activity. The complete packet includes facilitator directions, participant questions, and links to the artifacts. Some objects are easily identifiable, most, such as the object on the left,  are not. (What do you think it is?)

The engaging (and easy to implement) activity generates interest and questioning as participants try to identify each object and decide what they have in common. The contents of Abraham Lincoln’s pockets on the evening of his assassination are part of the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniania

Numerous museums and cultural organizations are holding special events and exhibits to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination.  Remembering a Fiendish Assassination is an especially unique event sponsored by the The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. One commemorative experience will be a reenactment of Lincoln’s funeral train procession from its arrival in Springfield, Illinois, to Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. Funeral Train Reenactment website.

JohnWilkesBoothThe 10-year old Springfield museum is incredibly fascinating and educational. Visitors enter the  extensive Presidential Journeys Gallery through a replica of the White House entrance. John Wilkes Booth stands off to the side, watching the Lincoln Family, Frederick Douglas, and other White House visitors.

An especially moving exhibit is a recreation of the Ford’s Theater assassination and a recreation of Lincoln’s closed casket.

The museum utilizes extensive technology to heighten the visitation experience. A  battlefield scene is loud and intense; in another live presentations it is hard to distinguish a live actor from a hologram. The museum and nearby Lincoln sites such as his home and office are well worth the visit.  There is a lot to see in Springfield. Allow at least two days!


What’s a flouroscope?


Shoe Fluorscope on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

I just had foot surgery!  This post isn’t about my foot, but about how seeing the pre-op x-ray results on a large computer screen and later seeing the post-op results led to an interesting conversation. I suppose the last time I saw those bones I was standing on a fluoroscope in a department store’s shoe department.  The nurse did not know what I was talking about. I told her how fun it was to stand on the machine even if we weren’t in the store to buy shoes. Fluoroscopes were used in shoe stores so parents and sales people could view a child’s feet have long since been taken out of use because of dangers from radiation. Modern fluoroscopes are still used in certain situations.

A technical college x-ray tech instructor came up with a great activity when she discovered historic photos of x-ray equipment , historic newspaper articles about x-rays in court trials, and posters warning about the dangers of x-rays and radiation.   There is a picture of a doctor taking a radiographic image. The equipment and patient protection are outdated.  Learners can analyze the photo and reflect on the changes that have been made with regard to the equipment and protections standards we use today.  It would be a great way to start a group discussion.

An elementary teacher found primary source photos of simple machines. Her ideas was asking students to identify the machines to share and review their knowledge this basic scientific concepts.

Primary sources are not just for history!  Two November blog posts, Asteroid Impostors and the Planet that Never Was: What’s on Your Diagram of the Solar System?  and Exploring Eclipes through primary Sources highlight selected astronomy primary sources resources and ideas.

The Jan/Feb 2014 Internet @Schools NEW Media Center Column  (An article version of this post)

Primary sources offer exciting possibilities for the science and health classrooms.
Learn how to find and use them in your classroom!
Learn more from science teacher

American Memory Collections
Library of Congress Teachers Page Blog
National Museum of Health and Medicine
YouTube, Shoe Store Fluoroscope
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Shoe Fitting Fluoroscopes
Susan Buss, June 2013
Photo: Shoe Fluoroscope, manufactured circa 1938, manufactured by Adrian Shoe Fitter, Inc. that was used in a Washington, DC Shoe Store. This machine is currently displayed at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC.

MigrantMother12883Most of us are familiar with Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph.   The symbolic photo correctly titled of Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California is the inspiration for Mary Coin.  (Marissa Silver. Blue Rider Press, NY, 2013.)

 Silver weaves together the a fictionalized story of  Mary Coin (Thompson),  Vera Dare, a photographer modeled after Lange, and Walker Dodge, a contemporary cultural history professor in California. Dodge challenges his students to “see” photos and look beneath the layers.  The fictional characters are connected when Dodge  discovers a copy of the photo after his father’s death.

Silver’s story moves back and forth between the depression era and the present, creating a vivid and somber picture of life for migrant workers.    It is a memorable novel, worth more than 1000 words.

Lange’s photos are accessible through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.   An overview of the Migrant mother and other photos Lange took at theTent same time has a brief account of Lange’s experience on that day.

Lange’s photography was done for the Farm Security Administration.   Many of her photos, along with others are easily accessible in Depression Era to World War II ~ FSA/OWI ~ Photographs ~ 1935-1945 an American Memory Collection of over 160,000 items and 1600 color photographs.   The Teachers Page has  related  teacher and classroom ready resources.

A Dorothea Lange archive collection is available through the Oakland Museum of California

Learn more about  challenging your students to see photos and other ideas for using primary sources in your classroom:
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources

Above: Migrant agricultural worker’s family. Seven hungry children.
Mother aged thirty-two. Father is native Californian. Nipomo, California

TodayinhistoryThe stats are in!  What Happened on My Birthday, published December 2011, is the most popular post.  Today in History from the Library of Congress  is another  resource for making connections between today and the past.  The extensive site pulls together content rich historic information from the Library’s American Memory Collections.  Multiple primary source formats, including newspapers, are used throughout the site.  With a single click you get an array of photos, documents, maps, audio files, song sheets or other primary sources ready for your use.  Today, December 27,  opens with an account of the opening of New York’s Rockefeller Center.  Scroll through the page to view related information about architecture, John D. Rockefeller and where to locate additional information.  Continue scrolling to learn about Carrie Nation and the temperance movement.  The content rich site provides in-depth information about a wide range of topics.

Select Archives to locate information for a specific day or Tomorrow to plan aheadFor example, the December 28 link has a tribute to Woodrow Wilson and information about the suffrage movement. Today in History is easy enough to use without much advance preparation while also providing an abundance of unique resources and ways to approach and expand thinking. There is enough on each page to support an instructional unit or to offer students a choice of a topic for further research.

Today in History, the Historic American Newspaper Collections and The Newseum are highlighted in What Happened on Your Birthday?,  an Internet@ Schools  NEW Media Center Column.
Dec.  2011 postWhat happened on my birthday?

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

Teaching with Informational Text: Historic Newspapers from the Library of Congress (Teachers Page Blog)


Would you like to see student projects kicked up a notch and move students more towards inquiry based learning? Looking for ideas to share with other educators.   The Library of Congress Teachers Page Build and Deliver professional development section has two activities for inquiry training session.

Understanding the inquiry process
Participants will work in groups to define the inquiry process. The facilitator will lead a discussion on the Stripling Model of Inquiry. After reading an article, participants will reflect on incorporating inquiry into their instructional setting. After reading an article, participants will reflect on incorporating inquiry into their instructional setting (45 minutes)

Primary sources and inquiry
After participating in a model inquiry activity using a primary source, participants independently practice documenting their own inquiry learning while using primary sources. The group will discuss ways to create inquiry activities with primary sources. (2 hours)

These PDF  materials are ready for you to use in a professional development setting. Simply go to http://www.loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/tpsdirect/pdplanbuilder/ to select an activity. Download  the files, become familiar with the resources, and plan your professional development session.   Everything you need  to lead a staff development session is right there, and free!

Learn more.  The Power of Primary Sources Part 2: Build your own Professional Development

Old Abe the War Eagle

What primary sources do you see in the display?

A while ago I joined students on a field trip to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. We enjoyed a presentation featuring live eagles and learned about conversation and the eagle as our national symbol. Old Abe, the Wisconsin War Eagle is the subject of a special display. The field trip was ideal for a short follow-up activity to learn more about the mascot of the Wisconsin 8th regiment. Abe perched atop a staff during battles.  After the war Abe lived in the Capitol Basement; he later died from lingering injuries he suffered in a Capitol fire. Abe’s taxidermied body burned in another fire.  Students learned how Abe was honored in
Old Abe the battle eagle song & chorus poetry  and identified states a Historic Eagle Map of the United States.
Sheet Music, Old Abe the Battle Eagle
It was a great teaching moment in the media center!

Civil War era music is easy to find in American Memory Collections. Start with:
Civil War Band Music

Nineteenth Century Song Sheets

Historic American Sheet Music, 1850 – 1920

African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana

Learn how to use and other Civil War era resources to develop engaging, critical thinking activities for students

Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources 

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

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