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What the Library of Congress Has for Teachers: Primary Sources and Tools and Techniques to Use Them

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Primary sources can build critical thinking skills in students at all grade levels.

The nation’s classrooms are starting to fill up, and we’d like to take the opportunity to reintroduce the Library of Congress and its teacher resources.

Primary sources are more important to teachers than ever before, and the Library of Congress makes it easy not only to find great primary sources, but also to quickly and effectively use them in your teaching.

The Library is one of the world’s largest sources of free primary sources, with more than 30 million items available via easy searching at U.S. history, English and language arts, science, world history and cultures–there are primary sources for almost every discipline.

Meanwhile, the Library’s Teachers page provides classroom materials and professional development that let teachers bring primary sources into their curriculum. Classroom-tested lesson plans, primary source sets, and professional development activities are all centered around the Library’s primary sources.

Are Common Core or other standards a part of your teaching life? The Library’s classroom materials are searchable by Common Core, state content standards, and more.

Library of Congress teacher professional development is available both face to face and online.

Teachers can also collaborate with Library staff in face-to-face professional development, including our summer teacher institutes.

One great way to get to know the Library is to check out this multimedia presentation: Introduction to the Library of Congress.

Another way is to start exploring, and become part of the conversation in the comments space of this blog post.

Are you already familiar with the Library’s primary sources? What are you planning to do in the upcoming school year?

Comments (7)

  1. if you select right method for training to students .certainly you know there are three tools for education and are very important:1-teacher2-sources 3-environment
    the professional ,s teacher know how to use differrent sources for teachind and increasing the level education between studnts

  2. I had the privilege of participating in the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute this summer. I highly recommend that any teacher using Common Core – particularly librarians, history and English teachers – take advantage of the fabulous resources available through the Library of Congress website. I am beginning my third week of school and plan to break out the primary documents this coming week. All the pimary source documents, analysis forms and even lesson plans are available at the teachers page. Best wishes for a happy and productive school year!

  3. My students are learning about the American Revolution. They have a couple of questions:

    1. Why didn’t King George III ask the colonists for help with the money issues?
    2. Why did the king le the colonists gain their own independence from Great Britain?

    The students are wondering why didn’t King George III have representation from the colonists before the Parliament decided to tax them.

  4. As teacher of world languages, and a student in a doctoral program, I am often drawn to delve into the Library of Congress Primary Sources pages; however, I am not always sure how to reference some materials in research or how to guide learners to use the most current practices to reference historic sources such as images from a Meso American codex. Can you help me?
    Thank you!
    ~Claudia Dugan

  5. It appears the links are broken for source sets and lesson plans.

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