Primary Sources for the Primary Grades: “Don’t Cry Because It’s Over, Smile Because It Happened.”

This post is by Teresa St. Angelo, the 2016-2017 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence.

The farewell of the cow, rabbit, and kangaroo

At a combination “Farewell – Good Luck as Teacher in Residence” party last year, my kindergarten students analyzed “The farewell of the cow, rabbit, and kangaroo.”

First I asked them, “What do you see?” and they excitedly responded: “A cow.”  “A king.”  “Rocks.”

Then I asked, “Do you know what is happening in the image?” The room fell silent. The boys and girls knew. I said, with a quivering voice, “The king and queen are waving goodbye to the cow, the rabbit, and the kangaroo. Now it is time for me to say goodbye.”

I left New Jersey with good wishes, lots of hugs, and a few tears. When I got to Washington, DC, I was welcomed by the Educational Outreach staff of the Library of Congress with a mutual eagerness to collaborate and a personal hope that my contributions could affect educators.

Teresa St. Angelo, 2016-2017 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence

My first day was filled with discussions about history and looking at primary sources related to WWI, and I was filled with an overwhelming desire to share all I was learning. I could not keep all these resources to myself, but how was I going to get this information and these incredible primary sources to teachers?

I soon discovered how: blog posts, Twitter, an online conference, face to face workshops, educational publications, the Teachers Page, the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Consortium, and conferences that I contributed to along with the staff of the Educational Outreach department that I had the incredible opportunity to be a part of this past year.

My time as Library of Congress Teacher in Residence has not only been filled with discovering different ways to inspire and reach teachers but also with many memorable experiences.

Top of the list was when I saw history in the making when Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the first African American and first woman Librarian of Congress.  Next was having the honor of interviewing Dr. Hayden for a teacher’s blog post and having her very first words to me be, “How can we help teachers?”

I will never forget trips to the Library’s reading rooms and local museums in order to develop resources for educators. Or my time spent working with the Young Readers Center staff to assist in developing and presenting for school programs, author’s visits, story times, special themed days, and a beloved puppet show.

Not a day has gone by during my time as Teacher in Residence that I have not been in awe of the splendor of the Library, the treasures housed here, the research opportunities, the visitors that come from around the world, or the wisdom and professionalism of the staff. Yet this remarkable time must end for this teacher and the torch passed to a fellow educator seeking the knowledge, wisdom, and riches the Library has to offer educators.

My year is ending but my learning and inspiring others will continue. I am moving forward with the words from Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

8 Comments

  1. AnneMarie Walter
    June 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Congratulations on having a wonderful year! My colleagues who teach the smallest students really appreciate the work that you’ve done this year. It was great meeting each other at the Consortium meeting.

    Best of luck in the next adventure,
    AnneMarie Walter
    TPS-Mars Hill University

  2. Barbara Kirby
    June 8, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Best wishes Teresa, thank you for inspiring teachers, everywhere and in every grade, to implement primary source inquiry into the classroom!

  3. Cecilia Howard
    June 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    I do hope the LOC is considers itself fortunate to have someone so caring, dedicated and truly inspired by this opportunity. The rate at which knowledge is introduced to children in the various school systems nation wide is astounding. Teresa teaches kindergarten, a time in school that is far from the blocks, playground time and pretty pictures most of us recall with fondness from our young lives. My son, who is soon to be turning 13, never even had playground time scheduled at his kindergarten. It now is work and learning and discovery with some fun mixed in for good measure. There is an extraordinary amount of required curriculum to cover today and Teresa is a stand out among her peers. She is tireless in her need to excel and her students are lucky to have someone so inspired. The LOC will be so lucky to find someone with her level of enthusiasm, warmth, intelligence and utter joy with which she educates and leads our young children to be the best they can be in their young lives and as they grow to adulthood. Thank you for a most inspiring year of posts. You will be missed!

  4. Vivian Awumey
    June 8, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    It’s been wonderful working with you, Teresa!

  5. Michael Berson
    June 8, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    We have enjoyed working with you!

  6. Pat Henry
    June 9, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Congratulations to Ms. St. Angelo upon the successful completion of her year as the Teacher in Residence at the Library of Congress! Her indefatigable pursuit of knowledge and desire to instruct both students and teachers in ways to expand their horizons came through in all her creative blogs. Congratulations to the Library of Congress as well, for allowing her the forum to showcase her skills! Primary sources for the primary grades have never had a better or more meaningful collaboration.

  7. Kathy McGuigan
    June 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    The pleasure was ours Teresa! Your enthusiasm and love for your students has been contagious! Thank you for all that you did to help us but more importantly, help the educators serving our youngest students with primary sources.

  8. Marla
    June 10, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of your experiences as Teacher in Residence with the world! Your blogs have been inspiring and filled with ideas and suggestions for using primary sources to encourage young learners to expand their creativity and knowledge. Your time at the LOC may be coming to an end, but your contributions will endure and continue to stimulate and motivate young minds. Best wishes on your return to New Jersey!

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