On the Library of Congress Web site, Chronicling America provides free access to millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1836-1922. Although the sheer volume of stories might seem daunting, Chronicling America makes it easy to explore the pages.
But you don’t have to come to Washington to bring the National Book Festival to your students. The Book Festival’s Kids and Teachers site is the key to enjoying the Book Festival experience no matter where you are.
The first time I tried facilitating a primary source activity during my post-graduate museum education studies, I only had to guide my peers’ analysis of a single artifact for five minutes. Yet so much of what I learned from this experience later proved invaluable to me when teaching with primary sources “for real.”
Looking for a Constitution Day activity? Have students zoom in on actual draft documents to learn what’s behind the main ideas in the Constitution. They’re sure to discover some intriguing changes along the way.
Primary sources from the online collections of the Library of Congress can be powerful instructional tools. Analyzing these photos, films, maps, and audio recordings can help students engage with content, build their critical thinking skills, and construct knowledge.