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Teaching with the Library of Congress: Top Posts of 2012

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“The Library of Congress means many different things to many people,” wrote Stephen Wesson at the start of the second year of the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog. “But for teachers and students it represents a source of discovery and learning unlike any other.” He noted that the first year of the blog had looked at a variety of topics and provided teaching suggestions that help unlock the potential of our unique primary sources.

Collaborative Learning with Primary Sources

Today we feature posts from 2012 that the Library’s education staff felt best represent our desire to help teachers bring primary sources into the classroom, along with posts that received the most comments and the most mentions in other social media outlets.

Ten Tips to Start the Year with Primary Sources suggests ways to create a classroom environment that encourages inquiry-based, interactive use of primary sources.

The Titanic: In the News and in Memory Help students learn more about the sinking of the Titanic using the Chronicling America historic newspaper collection and other Library of Congress resources.

Analyzing Photographs: Child Labor from a Child’s Perspective expands on a post from the Library of Congress Picture This blog and suggests ways to explore child labor with your students.

Getting Started with Maps in the Classroom provides tips on exploring students can learn from maps and suggestions on where to locate map resources on the Library of Congress website.

It’s Snowing: Plowing Ahead with Primary Sources from the Library of Congress Use primary sources to explore snow removal techniques in history.

Primary Source Analysis Tool: What’s Next? Further Investigation suggests ways to encourage further exploration and identify questions to spur further research after the completion of a primary source analysis.

Point of View in Photographs, part 1; part 2 A two-part blog post demonstrating the ways an artist’s purpose and point of view can change the way a subject is portrayed.

Sharing Summer Teacher Institute Discoveries focuses on the discoveries teachers made during their week at the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute.

Presidential Elections: Newspapers and Complex Texts explores newspapers as complex texts and suggests ways that readers can use features such as headlines, political cartoons, articles on related events and photographs to analyze various articles.

We hope that our blog posts continue to offer ideas for classroom activities and ways to engage students, encourage analysis, and support future exploration. Which are your favorites from 2012? What would you like us to blog about in 2013?


  1. I have used several of the suggested posts listed above. I try to use at least on primary source a month in my library classes (mostly grades 3-5).

    Using primary sources really gets the students involved and thinking. I always like the new suggestions you come up with…like the snowplowing sources. My students were intrigued by the looks of some of the plows from the past.

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