A frustration early in my teaching career was getting students to interact critically with primary sources. After many lackluster attempts, I determined to seek a solution. Through trial and error with different approaches, I found the most success when teaching students a step-by-step approach to critical analysis.
Share a picture of the Statue of Liberty with your students. What do they know about the statue? Do they know it was gift from France to celebrate the 100th birthday of the United States? Do they know anything about the sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi?
Have you ever thought about taking one topic or theme and finding the connections in various subjects? Consider having a spider-themed day at your school and see how you can work spiders into your classroom activities.
My son is graduating from high school this coming weekend and I am feeling mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I am proud, excited, and looking forward to what the future holds. On the other hand, I feel the winds of change, and with them a bit of sadness and apprehension about what lies ahead.
At times like this, I take comfort in knowing that I am not the first person to feel this way. Connecting with primary sources always helps. (Seriously, it does.)
Music is one way to get a message out or to encourage support for a cause, especially during wartime. In the first years of World War I, when the United States was neutral, songs supported the country staying out of the war. After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, songs encouraged or discouraged citizens to enlist and join the battle. Others encouraged those on the home front to support those who were on the battlefield.
Did you know that “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” originally had extra stanzas beyond the ones we all know? When it was composed in 1908 by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Jack Norworth, it documented the story of Katie Casey, a baseball fan who wanted to go with her beau to the baseball game. Though there were certainly women who were knowledgeable about their favorite teams, it was expected that women would not want to go to the games and would prefer to be safe at home.
When I learned that Smokey Robinson would be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, I was thrilled.
The Gershwin Prize honors a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding; entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations.
I first stumbled across an image of Tom Wiggins when looking for images of African Americans during the Civil War, but I didn’t pay much attention to him until two days later when I saw the same piece of sheet music displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.
When I came across the Library’s digitized Audubon prints, I began to think about the many ways a teacher could use the same images in other fields.
Folklife – songs, stories, jokes, crafts, and dances which have been handed down from generation to generation – are the unwritten history of the American people, and they help us understand what it is like to belong to a group, whether that group is a family, an ethnic group, a regional group, or a group of workers in the same occupation.