The following is a guest post by Michael Apfeldorf of the Library of Congress.
At your computer, or wherever you may be, sit and observe this picture for 60 seconds.
Now describe what you see. What do you notice first? What do you think is happening? Who do you suppose took the picture and for what purpose? Is there anything you wonder about?
Asking and responding to such questions is the cornerstone of teaching students to think critically and construct their own knowledge. It is also the cornerstone of the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes, where educators from across the United States learn how to use primary sources with their students, building skills in observing, reflecting, questioning, determining point of view, and more.
The image you’ve just inspected is captioned: “A small French boy sitting next to his plan for a trench sector, constructed in miniature form. A U.S. soldier is touching an American flag sticking out of miniature sandbags.” It is one of thousands of primary sources related to World War I in the Library’s collections.
From July 31-August 4, the Library of Congress will host a special 5-day WWI-themed Summer Teacher Institute. The session is open to any K-12 educator interested in teaching with primary sources. Tuition and materials for this special event are provided at no cost to participants; participants are responsible for transportation and housing. Applications are due by March 17, 2017. For more information and to apply, go here.
The WWI-themed Summer Teacher Institute coincides with a major new exhibit scheduled to open at the Library of Congress this spring, Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I, to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. Participants in the WWI Summer Teacher Institute will receive a special tour of this exhibit, view hundreds of WWI artifacts, and talk with Library experts to bring the artifacts to life.
The WWI Summer Teacher institute is one of five Summer Teacher Institutes being offered this summer, between June 19 and August 4. Three of those institutes will be general for all educators, one will be on science, and the final one will focus on WWI.
If you are an educator interested in using primary sources with your students, we invite you to apply today!