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.”

Watch: “Loving Vs. Virginia” Virtual Program, Wednesday, May 3, 10:30 AM EDT

The Library of Congress invites you and your students to join a virtual program on a famous legal case that cleared the way for interracial marriage in the United States.

At this year’s Jonah S. Eskin Memorial Program, Patricia Hruby Powell will speak about her new young people’s book, “Loving vs. Virginia.” Hruby Powell’s book features illustrations by Shadra Strickland.

Explore Library of Congress Professional Development Videos

Now we have a way for teachers to bring Library of Congress professional development programming into their homes and classrooms whenever they want it. The Library’s education staff has been building a collection of short videos to help teachers enhance their professional learning. The 40 videos focus on building awareness of the Library’s various collections as well as on the effective use of these primary source materials.