How Can We Improve Our Site for K-12 Educators?

The Library's site for Educators, loc.gov/teachers

The Library’s site for Educators, loc.gov/teachers

If you follow this blog, you’re most likely familiar with the Library’s web site for K-12 educators, loc.gov/teachers. We’re proud of the classroom materials, professional development, and other resources we offer on the site. However, we know that there’s always room for improvement, and we know that those improvements start with your input.

As we consider adjusting our site to better support the Library’s K-12 educator audience, we’d like to ask for your help. In the comments, please share any insights based on your experience with using the site. We’d love to know what we’re doing right, what we could do more of or do better, and what we could retire.

  • What do you find invaluable about loc.gov/teachers?
  • What functionality or content could we add?
  • What could we safely remove?
  • How else could we improve our online teacher resources?

Please provide your feedback in the comments, and we look forward to the conversation.

20 Comments

  1. L
    February 23, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    PROVIDE THE HISTORY, PURPOSE, NECESSITY, AND UTILIZATION, OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS;IN AN INTERACTIVE, INFORMATIVE, FIELD TRIPS, WITH FUNDING AND GRANT, ASSISTANCE.

  2. Michelle Zupan
    February 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    I have used and shared the LOC Teachers Page for years. The primary source sets are invaluable! More of them, please. It can be a little daunting for someone who has never used the page to figure out the difference between Primary Source Sets and Themed Resources and such, so a bit more clarity there.
    I would LOVE to see more lesson plans for younger grades. There’s a TON for middle and high school and very little of practical use for K-5. Maybe grab some ideas from the TPS Teachers Network site.
    Same for the Analysis Tool…it’s really not very useful for younger students or students who struggle with reading and comprehension.
    It would also be helpful if all of the links to primary sources in the lesson plans connected to the actual LOC record instead of the JPEG or PDF so that referencing and returning to the source would be easier.
    I use every part of the Teachers Page and would not recommend removing anything!

  3. Flor Martha Schwab Ferreira
    February 24, 2017 at 5:23 am

    What do you find invaluable about loc.gov/teachers? Everything.
    What functionality or content could we add? We need tecnology, free tools se we can download to develop our on lessons and tests just like you suggest.
    What could we safely remove? Nothing, please.
    How else could we improve our online teacher resources?
    I work with your ideas in another language. It will be nice if we have templates free for download that we can do the same work with our documents but with your template. For example, that pdf of thinking tool could be in Word or Excell. ( It give us extra work to do all over again).
    Thanks for everything and be sure you are the best site I follow.

  4. L D
    February 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    More maps!

  5. Nanci Greene
    February 24, 2017 at 9:34 am

    There are so many wonderful resources on the LOC website. However, our teachers have a real hard time finding these resources and, as a result, are reluctant to use the website. I think more user-friendly access to the resources would be very beneficial.

  6. Jill Hanson
    February 24, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I think the LoC site is great! I especially appreciate the themed grouping of resources–they make it easy to find compelling images and documents to use with students. Keep creating more of these! Have you thought about adding a kid-friendly search to the site? Updating the America’s Story section would be good–the look is a bit dated. Overall, the LoC site is great–I use it all the time! Thank you!

  7. Maggie Unterseher
    February 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I find the most invaluable part of loc.gov/teachers are the parts that have been carefully curated to match the curriculum I teach. This includes the resources that have pictures of primary sources or the primary sources themselves included. However, the problem I find with the searching and when my students search, keep in mind I am K-6, is that when they do a boolean search, it brings up irrelevant items. I know this is a hazard that comes along with the type of search, but I need things to be easier to search for them and myself. The most valuable training I received was from the University of Northern Colorado and they taught me how to use this site and gave me the resources and lessons already put together, with thinking maps, and the powerpoints, word documents, etc. I could easily sell this site to more educators and other librarians if this site could be easier navigated and the lesson plans had more application to the classroom, i.e. less work for the teachers.
    Thank you so much for this resource, though, it is so wonderful!

  8. P. Wilmes
    February 24, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    The site could teacher friendly by having less text on page & more drop down options offered. That would alleviate so much on one page.

  9. Marilyn
    February 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    I use your website with my grade school age students. I love the information your site offers. But, there are so many things you could do to get kids interested in researching history.
    Somebody ought to research excellent kid websites and compare yours. Check out American Library Association for excellent kid websites. Your website is not kid friendly at all. It looks like a sterile hospital room. You have too many clicks to get kids to were the good stuff is.

    I REAlly look forward to an improved website for kids.

  10. Mark Laurenti
    February 27, 2017 at 8:08 am

    The site is fantastic.

    Do you have “Power Point” presentations (editable) ? Grades 6-12.
    So we can underline key points.
    Along with Sample Tests/Quizzes? Tied in to the Power Point?
    Subjects: U.S. History
    Business (Marketing)
    Personal Finance (Career Choices and Savings)

  11. Kathy Simmons
    February 27, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Make searching the website more user friendly – in finding documents of interest to a particular subject. Have lesson plans that go with some famous documents/periods in history.
    Make it so that famous documents or ideally all documents can be clicked on so you can see the whole original, then have a transcript for these documents easily accessible.

  12. Jennifer Markus
    February 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

    You have a LOT of wonderful content, but it is hard to find because it is not located in one central index. For example, what’s the difference between Primary Source Sets, Presentations & Activities and Themed Resources? It just seems you have to click around a lot to find everything related to a topic you’re covering in class. I would love it if you had a timeline with all links related to a certain period together in one place.

    Thanks!

  13. Ryan Theodoriches
    February 27, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Keep adding inquiries to the IDM website (and promote it).

    Document sets built around a question (versus around a topic) are really what teachers need the most support with to implement inquiry in the classroom.

  14. mosayyeb samanian
    February 27, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    you had to participant conference and session workshop have about knowledge management and increasing wisdom teacher

  15. Mona Biondi
    February 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Please try to make more visual buttons for younger students grades K-6.

  16. Karen Nemeth
    February 27, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    You can improve your website by including information for all teachers, not limiting it to K-12. The term “k-12 educators” is outdated since most school systems include some type of preschool. When government resources persist in using the old “k-12” terminology, they set a tone of exclusion and make it seem they think preschool educators and learners are not important. And, of course, research AND US DOE policies show nothing could be further from the truth.

  17. Karen Chamerlik
    February 28, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I am an elementary school teacher and I would love to see more resources for K-5. I love the primary resources that are available and have been to the local workshop here in Minnesota on teaching with primary resources and it was wonderful (and thank you for offering it at the Minnesota History Center!) I would find it very useful to have suggestions for age appropriate secondary resources that students could use to research answers to the questions that the have about the primary resources. I can’t just send them off on a computer search and it would be great to have suggestions for age appropriate books or articles for their follow up research.

  18. Susan Allen
    March 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    My suggestions for improving the teacher page:
    If you could offer the Magic Lens app for primary source sets that have documents with cursive writing then one of the blockades to using those types of documents would be removed. Example: Battlelines (https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/military-history/interactives/battlelines-letters-from-america%E2%80%99s-wars )
    Or if you could offer someone reading some of these “hard to read” texts so students with reading problems could hear the document as well as see the document this would strengthen the use of primary sources in differentiation. (https://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/military-history/interactives/battlelines-letters-from-america%E2%80%99s-wars)
    Your discovery sets are wonderful and anything you can do to make the use of primary sources more interactive is a wonderful addition for teachers.
    If you could also create interactive apps similar to DocTeachs that allows teachers to upload Library of Congress materials into a pedagogical sound, interactive tool that could be used as a formative assessment or a summative and would be based on the Beyond the Bubble ideas would be beyond great. Especially something that works like Weighing Evidence and Interpreting Data. Both these strategies fit beautifully into the common core. Every time I use these tools I wish I could upload Library of Congress materials. (https://www.docsteach.org/tools )
    There is also an interactive sorting exercise that appears in the PBS Teaching with Primary Source from the Library of Congress that is a sorting exercise. You sort the primary and secondary sources through an interactive app. Teachers are always disappointed that this exercise is not available outside the course and they feel it would be a wonderful teaching tool for all ages.
    I realize these are not new ideas and ones that others have done but I feel that each of these strategies would be so much more useful to educators if they were attached to the massive resources at the Library of Congress.

  19. Susie
    March 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I’d love to see your resources more easily searched by grade level. And more divided by grade level, for that matter. The complexity of text and concept appropriate for 8th graders is very different from that of 3rd graders. And just more more more sets! Love them!

  20. Gay Thistle
    April 8, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I use the website often for facilitating PD for educators in all grades and subjects. It would be useful to add more lesson ideas for every subject taught in schools- including Library skills, PE, all the sciences, art, music, languages and culture. And have a way to search the lessons by subject.

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