Was Hammurabi Pro-Temperance? The Importance of Critical Reading and Historical Context

According to an article in the August 28, 1912, edition of The Presbyterian of the South, “The attempts at regulation [of alcohol] failed and the civilization of Babylon was snuffed out in an orgy of drink.” An article like this presents an opportunity to teach students how to read content critically and to place it in historical context.

An Ode to Autumn by a Writer in the Spring of Her Career

Helen Keller had been eagerly writing since she had first gained the ability to do so several years before. Although an illness in her infancy had left her unable to see or hear, an inventive teacher, Annie Sullivan, introduced her to language, and soon she was reading and writing using braille and the assistance of interpreters.

Information Literacy: Building Observation and Questioning Skills with Newspaper Ads

As we were designing our series of posts on information literacy we were drawn to the American Association of School Librarians “Standards for the 21st Century Learner.” These standards focus on the importance of students being effective readers, not just of printed text but also of images, video and sound recordings.

Learning “How the Other Half Lives” with Jacob Riis at the Library of Congress

Many of us know Jacob Riis for his compelling photographs, but the exhibition Jacob Riis: Revealing How the Other Half Lives underscores that Riis was also a powerful communicator who “devoted his life to writing articles and books, delivering lectures nationwide, and doggedly advocating for social change”

Multimedia Moment: A Mystery Sparked by a Century-Old Film

In my first Multimedia Moment post, I focused on the action in actuality street scenes. One of the films, the 1897 Edison film Corner of Madison and State Streets, Chicago, showed people walking across the street with large signs that appeared to be advertisements. I instantly wanted to know what was written on the signs.

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear or Read

In the most recent “Right to the Source” column in NSTA’s magazine The Science Teacher, Michael Apfeldorf discusses reactions in the early 20th century to reports of life on Mars. He explains that as early as 1894, scientists noted that conditions on Mars would not support life, but wild theories persisted in popular media. That reminded us of the Library’s many April Fools’ Day posts featuring primary sources that should not be taken at face value.

Integrating Historical and Geographic Thinking

The latest edition of The TPS Journal, an online publication created by the Library of Congress Educational Outreach Division in collaboration with the TPS Educational Consortium, explores how the five themes of geography can be applied to analyzing primary sources, providing students with multiple perspectives and contributing to greater understanding of a topic.