Catching Up with Library of Congress Blog Posts

As you start back to school in the new year, we wanted to highlight a few outstanding posts from other Library of Congress blogs that you may have missed. Hopefully they’ll spur some ideas for classroom activities featuring the Library’s collections.

Picture This: Caught Our Eyes: Jumping to Connections, Not to Conclusions

The Picture This series shows how the reference staff in the Prints and Photographs Division do research and rely on critical thinking to find the “why?” behind a photograph. In this particular post, one of our colleagues describes her personal seven C’s of visual literacy and demonstrates how she was able to use those C’s to learn more about the photograph. Students can model the steps she used to investigate the “why?” behind any photograph in the collection.

Children studying geometry in a classroom in Washington, D.C. 1899? Frances Benjamin Johnston

Inside Adams: Back to School with the Blackboard – 1817’s Newest Teaching Technology

Though the typical black slate board is disappearing from many classrooms, it was considered to be a “miracle of instruction” in 1844. Students can learn about the history of the blackboard and compare the differences between a classroom from the late 1800’s to the one they are in today. What are the similarities and differences? What are some of today’s everyday teaching tools that would not have been found in the average classroom in the 1800’s and how would the classroom experience be different without them?

From the Catbird Seat: Pairing Poems with Fiction and Biography

In a post from her Teacher’s Corner series, former Library of Congress Teacher in Residence Rebecca Newland gives examples of how to use poetry to enhance the experience of reading a novel or non-fiction work. Rebecca explores Poetry 180, webcasts from the National Book Festival and the Library’s Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature for suggestions. Ask your students to find poems from these Library resources that relates to a book or story that they have read for class and to explain how they think the poem relates to the book or story.

In Custodia Legis: Jefferson’s Cipher –Pic of the Week

Students may not know that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington used codes and ciphers to send confidential information. This post introduces students to several of these secret communication methods and challenges students to use them to create coded messages of their own. Use the activities from the Teaching with the Library of Congress post, “Mathematics and Primary Sources: Historic Codes, Ciphers and Computational Thinking, Part 1”  to encourage students to explore the mathematics behind the codes.

Headlines and Heroes: Native American and Indigenous News and Comics

For Native American Heritage Month, the Headline and Heroes blog highlighted some of the newspapers published in Native American communities, both in the past and the present day. They also provided information on some of the comics that have been written and illustrated by Native American creators. Teaching with the Library of Congress has some teaching ideas you can share with your students.

Library of Congress Blog: Free to Use and Resue: Making Public Domain and Rights Clear Content Easier to Find

When the Library’s home page was redesigned, we added a new feature that highlighted content that was either in the public domain or rights-clear.  This post focused on these sets as well as giving tips on how to find rights statements for other materials for the materials available on the website. This blog post encourages users to suggest themes or topics for future sets. Encourage your students to think of some ideas and develop sets that the Library could use.

This post highlighted a tiny fraction of the hundreds of posts presented this year. We hope you’ll take some time and explore our blogs. You may find something that will spur your imagination.

Did you have a favorite post that spurred your teaching or provided some ideas? Share those posts in the comments.

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