Inservice - Teaching with Primary Sources


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using primary sources in the K-12 classroom; inservice included activities in analyzing primary sources, using the PDFs available from the Library of Congress

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  • Primary sources are the original records created at the time of historical events (or, in the cast of memoirs & oral histories, after the event happened). They can be letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by gov’t agencies, photos, audio, video, research data, or objects/artifacts. Secondary sources are the interpretations of the event created by someone without firsthand experience. Biographies, encyclopedias, newspapers, texbooks, etc.
  • Engage students Develop critical thinking skills Construct knowledge
  • Primary sources require students to be critical & analytical as they examine them Primary sources lack context & can be incomplete - students must fill in the gaps
  • Primary sources encourage students to confront contradictions, differing POV and the complexity of the past Students construct knowledge as they form conclusions, base those conclusions on evidence and connect primary sources to their context Integrating primary source info with what they already know allows for a deeper understanding
  • Engage students with primary sources Promote student inquiry Assess how students apply critical thinking and analysis skills to primary sources
  • L to R Letter from E.C. Prescott to Governor William G. Brownlow extending an invitation to address the Mercantile Literary Association and offers an honorarium of $300. Simonton wrote this letter to Sue S. White, Chairman of the Tennessee Branch of the National Woman’s Party, with a poem about women’s suffrage. The Conquered Banner was written shortly after the Civil War and was exrtemely popular in the South and in the Catholic Church. It was nationally known and considered by many to be Abram`s finest work. The poem expresses Abram`s deep sorrow at the defeat of the Confederacy and is perhaps the most famous elegy ever written for the “Lost Cause” and its defenders. Father Abram served as a chaplain in the Confederate Army and was a priest in Clarksville, TN before coming to Knoxville, TN. The poem is thought to be written either in Clarksville or Knoxville, TN.
  • This map of Knoxville's downtown was most likely created in 1921 according to city directory information. Most of the buildings labeled here are still present in downtown Knoxville though their names may have changed. Other well-known buildings present on the map, such as the Market House in Market Square, no longer exist. Map of Tennessee Counties
  • Lumberjacks working in Memphis, TN Interior of a sawmill. Workers tooling saw blades.
  • John Gordon was a prominent Smith County man evidenced by the fact that the town of Gordonsville is named for him. These pages include an inventory of the sales of items in his estate, an accounting of the money earned by the estate for the hiring out of slaves, as well as those slaves Gordon owned as part of his estate. Note that the slaves were "inspected" and a recommendation was made for their sale rather than be split between the heirs. This document is a promissory note signed by James K. Polk, William Parr, and George Johnston in August 1823. The document shows that these men have promised to repay $100 to the bank of Tennessee eighty eight days after this note was signed. A list of the heads of families and number of school-age children in district No. 8, White County, Tennessee, in 1857. The list includes the names of 60 families, including David S. England, Charles Lowry, and William Matlock. The number of children eligible for school in those families ranges from one to eight. Commissioners A. Oliver, W.W. Green, and A.M. Goodwin compiled and signed the list.
  • This is the leather satchel carried by Dr. Cas Wilson when he practiced medicine at the age of twenty-two in and around the nearby village of old Loyston, Tennessee. The carrying case contains 87 vials, bottles, and cans of medicine, including a variety of pills. Mr. Wilson received his medical degree from the Memphis School of Medicine in 1913. This photograph is titled, "TVA Control Room, 88896-H". It is from a collection contributed by Donald R. (Little Joe) Adams. "The books you are now looking at were started in 1968 by apprentice of different crafts and professional photographers. There were originally three sets of these books, but due to the changing of the supervision in TVA, two of the sets were destroyed. The last remaining set was in my care for about 25 years. (image shows: main control room, unit 1 control panels, left side.)
  • An exhibit at the 1917 Tri-State Fair in Memphis, Tennessee. An exhibition at the 1931 Mid-South Fair in Memphis, Tennessee. This particular stand is selling electric refrigerators by Copeland.
  • A piece of sheet music bound with others in a volume once belonging to Miss Nora Gardner, who lived in Tennessee. This particular piece was attributed to Alice Hawthorne, but that was a pseudonym for the composer Septimus Winner. The banjo was made in Hancock County, Tennessee by Burchett Mullins. The rim is made from a corn sifter. Sheet music for a song published at the time of the Scopes Monkey Trial, ridiculing the theory of evolution. Part of the Scopes subgroup of the John S. Mitchell Collection.
  • Oil on ivory portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson. Likely copied from a portrait by Ralph E. W. Earl. Colored lithograph of the Hermitage with a road in the foreground lined with a picket fence on the backside along which a white couple, nicely dressed, are talking to a slave man and his children. On the road are two men on horseback approaching the gate to enter the drive up to the Hermitage mansion. The road leading to mansion is lined with small needle trees, the road splits to form a circular tree-lined drive and then another circular drive right in front of the mansion (a figure 8 design). Mansion is viewed from a left angle, tomb is visible to the right of mansion. Tulip Grove mansion is visible in distant right background. This is a painting by Andrew C. Cottrell from Arthur, Tennessee. It shows a man gathering berries underneath two trees. A myriad of woodland creatures surround him. There is heavy foliage falling from the trees and a bright orange sun in the background. On the tree to the right, there is there artist's name and a date. It says A. Cottrell 68 (1968). The work is from the Collection of the Museum of Appalachia.
  • The usual suspects - domain (.edu, .gov, .com); author; purpose Scanned images are best - they show the original document, some of them have transcriptions as well Transcriptions of scanned images okay - don’t show original document Meta-links make you go find the document yourself
  • Inservice - Teaching with Primary Sources

    1. 1. Teaching with Primary Sources
    2. 2. What are primary sources? What’s a secondary source?
    3. 3. Why should I use primary sources?
    4. 4. Engage students <ul><li>Help students relate in a personal way </li></ul><ul><li>Promote deeper understanding of history as series of human events </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage students to seek additional evidence </li></ul><ul><li>First-person accounts bring history to life </li></ul>
    5. 5. Develop critical thinking skills <ul><li>Require critical and analytical reading </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of context and incomplete nature requires prior knowledge or pattern finding </li></ul><ul><li>move from concrete observations and facts to questioning and inferences </li></ul><ul><li>Questions bias, purpose, point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges assumptions </li></ul>
    6. 6. Construct knowledge <ul><li>Encourage students to confront contradictions </li></ul><ul><li>Comparing multiple sources: different points of view, shows complexity of past </li></ul><ul><li>Form conclusions based on evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Synthesize information from multiple sources </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate existing and new information to deepen understanding </li></ul>
    7. 7. How do I use primary sources?
    8. 8. Engage students <ul><li>Draw on prior knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage close observation </li></ul><ul><li>Help point out key details </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage them to think about personal response </li></ul>
    9. 9. Promote student inquiry <ul><li>Encourage speculation about source, creator and context </li></ul><ul><li>Does source agree with other sources? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it agree with prior knowledge? </li></ul><ul><li>Have them find other sources that support or contradict </li></ul>
    10. 10. Assess critical thinking & analysis <ul><li>Summarize what they’ve learned </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for reasons and evidence to support conclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Identify questions for further investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Develop strategies for finding answers </li></ul>
    11. 11. Where can I use primary sources? <ul><li>Social studies </li></ul><ul><li>Language arts </li></ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul><ul><li>Science </li></ul><ul><li>Arts: music, art, drama </li></ul><ul><li>Manuscripts </li></ul><ul><li>Maps </li></ul><ul><li>Motion pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Music </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers/cartoons/advertisements </li></ul><ul><li>Photos </li></ul><ul><li>Printed ephemera </li></ul><ul><li>Sound recordings </li></ul>
    12. 12. Language Arts
    13. 13. Social Studies: Geography
    14. 14. Social Studies
    15. 15. Math
    16. 16. Science
    17. 17. Science
    18. 18. Arts: Music
    19. 19. Arts: Art
    20. 20. Where do I find primary sources? <ul><li>Archives </li></ul><ul><li>Museums </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Online </li></ul>
    21. 21. Evaluating primary source websites <ul><li>What domain is it? </li></ul><ul><li>Who’s the author? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is the site there? </li></ul><ul><li>Where did the documents come from? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the information well organized and easy to use? </li></ul>
    22. 22. Volunteer Voices <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Tennessee's first statewide digital collection </li></ul><ul><li>A statewide network of primary resources accessible to all. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes materials from the state's archives, libraries, repositories, historic homes and museums. </li></ul>
    23. 23. Volunteer Voices <ul><li>Materials are organized by Tennessee’s K-12 Socials Studies Eras in American History, by subject, and are keyword searchable </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson plans, hints for teaching with primary sources and student handouts are also available in the Educators section ( ) </li></ul>
    24. 24. American Memory <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music </li></ul>
    25. 25. American Memory <ul><li>A Teachers Page provides classroom materials, including lesson plans, themed resources, primary source sets, presentations & activities and professional development materials </li></ul><ul><li>Collection can be browsed by topic, time period, format (map, photo, etc) and place </li></ul>
    26. 26. World Digital Library <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>cooperative project of the Library of Congress, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and partner libraries, archives, and educational and cultural institutions from the United States and around the world </li></ul>
    27. 27. World Digital Library <ul><li>Include rare and unique documents – books, journals, manuscripts, maps, prints and photographs, films, and sound recordings – that tell the story of the world’s cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Can be browsed by the map, by time, topic, or institution </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller, more limited collection </li></ul>
    28. 28. Smithsonian’s History Explorer <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Very interactive site, provides presentations on various topics </li></ul><ul><li>Can be browsed by era, grade level or resource type </li></ul><ul><li>Provides lesson plans and other materials for teachers </li></ul>
    29. 29. National Archives <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>contains reproducible copies of primary documents from the holdings of the National Archives of the United States, teaching activities correlated to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government, and cross-curricular connections. </li></ul>
    30. 30. Further Resources <ul><li>Presentation: </li></ul><ul><li>Links: </li></ul>