Random Thoughts: Change, Primary Sources & Other Stuff

Posts Tagged ‘online teaching


Phelps Kindergarten students on teeter-totters, Winona, Minnesota

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.


School Children’s Thanksgiving Games 11/27/11. Library of Congress

Thanksgiving has photos and documents appropriate to the day. Symbols of the United States has posters, sheet music, cartoons, and photos with recognizable symbols of the United States.

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!

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



“2/3 of teachers believe digital resources help them differentiate learning for individual students.”  Teachers also like short video segments and believe videos stimulate discussion video comment stimulate  discussion.   <Eschool News March 2011 >

The Library of Congress American Memory Collections have  videos ranging from the Coca Cola Advertising Collection to Early Edison films and Presidents.  Did you know some “historic films were staged?  Some  films about the 19-06 San Francisco Earthquake will challenge your students critical viewing and thinking skills.
Is Seeing Believing?

There are exciting possibilities for using  these films in economics, humanities, mass communications,  science and history curriculum. Learn more about using free digital resources in  Teaching with Primary Sources, an online class for teachers of all content areas and students ages.  The course is an elective in the Master of Science in Education program.
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm
Comments from past students

A technology integration teacher wrote:   I love the Library of Congress resources and have used the American Memory Collections?  Where do you suggest  start when I plan summer workshop for the teachers in my district?

The good news is that the Library of Congress is making it easy for educators to deliver quality professional development through the Build and Deliver PD modules on the Teachers’ Page.   Staff developers  can select from 15  modules in PDF format to plan hands-on staff development sessions from 45 to 120 minutes in length.  Topics range from understanding the basics of copyright to analyzing maps and photographs to using primary sources to support inquiry.   The modules are FREE and ready for you to download for use in your district.   These modules and additional modules in the development process are developed by Library of Congress educators in collaboration with practicing K-12 educators.    Begin shopping for your staff development resources!

These modules are just a small fraction of the thousands of Library of Congress resources to enhance your teaching.   
Teaching with Primary Sources,
an online course begins in June.
Comments from Past Students
Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm

Discovering the “facts” behind historical fiction captures my attention.   When I read  Jamie Ford’s The Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet I began searching Ansel Adams Manzanar photos to find photos  representative of scenes described in the Minidoka  internment camp portion of the novel. I got excited when I learned the Hotel is a real place where you can go for tea or to see artifacts the Japanese families left behind when they were removed from Seattle.    A few hours later the Wall Street Journal arrived with an article about the Minidoka Swing band, a group comprised on musicians who may have lived in an internment camp or are children of parents who were interred. The timing of the article was an exciting  coincidence. (WSJ, March 6, 2010)

Today I went searching for the  homes and buildings that are the setting for Jane Kirkpatrick’s An Absence so Great.  The Bauer and Gaeble homes are homes to Winona families today,  just as they were in 1915.  The Bauer Photography Studio and the Polonia Studio have been replaced by newer buildings.   What fun to find an adds for both photography studios in the Winona Newspaper archives.

Primary sources abound all around us; they are abundant on the web.   They have the power to inspire creative teaching ideas, enhance student learning, and help students learn more about their communities.

Want to learn more?  The next session of an online class to help you find digital primary sources and develop teaching activities begins soon.

Learn more about the online course!
Teaching Information Literacy with Primary Sources
Comments from Past Students

Register Online: http://www.uwstout.edu/soe/profdev/register.cfm

Multimedia & Internet @ Schools articles
The Power of Primary Sources

The Power of Primary Sources Part 2: Build Your Own Professional Development
The Power of Primary Sources and Web 2.0

It seems like “everyone” I talk to these days is taking online classes,  teaching online, or  wanting to know more about online learning.  I’ve been honored this summer  to work and learn with a practicum student in the elearning program offered by the  University of Wisconsin-Stout.   This final course in the 5 taught program is by  program advisor Dennis O’Connor.

Practicum in teaching online with a cooperating online instructor. Application of online pedagogy and technology evaluated through observation, discussion and reflections. Completion of a professional development plan and an e-portfolio of evidence of attainment of online learning standards. (Note: The practicum may only be taken after all other courses for the Certificate in E-Learning and Online Teaching are completed.)

This course provides a mentored online teaching experience for participants who have completed the first four courses in the Certificate program. Graduates of the certificate program will have real time experience in e-learning and online teaching.

Visit Dennis O’Connor’s Keyword Blog: 21st Century Information Fluency


I’m back  to attempt another go-around of 23 things.    I just viewed  the clip by the author of Here comes everybody, a book that’s been on my ” to read” list for a while.   Some of the “things” I first explored a year ago are now routine–Delicious, Picture Trail, and Google Docs, especially.   Flicks we make with Picture Trail are receiving rave response on our school web site.  A teacher at our high school routinely has his students use Google Docs. At least a third of my online students have started blogs for their reflections, a higher percentage than I expected or saw a year ago.   I’ve explored and added content to some wikis.  A new tool I discovered is MyWebspiration, an online beta version of Inspiration.  It makes a lot of sense, is easy to use and I look forward to seeing more.  Stay tuned.

I’m meeting my original goal–getting my feet wet, picking up some new ideas for online teaching and trying to figure out which options are the most workable both for me and busy adult students. As I explored the 23 Things on a Stick Wiki I noticed the value of transferrable skills and how the editing feature looked just like what I use in Desire2Learn. The Sandbox wasn’t as user friendly.

The potential for creating wonderful collaborative environments in our schools is tremendous. What staff development opportunities are school media specialists providing to help teachers?

A thought: Will our young students soon think that wikis, blogs and other Web 2.0 tools that we are learning are BORING. What will be next for them?

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