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Spring Workshops at TPS-UNC

Please look at our Upcoming Events (listed to the right) to see what possibilites we have for you this spring.

Email or Call to Register today through TPS-UNC:

primary.sources@unco.edu | 970351-1555


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Teaching the Titanic Tragedy with Primary Sources

Teaching the Titanic Tragedy - Along with the tax deadline, April 15 this year marks another significant date - the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury liner Titanic on its maiden voyage. Renewed interest from your students can provide opportunities to explore, analyze and uncover varying perspectives with Library of Congress primary sources.  Follow this link to discover the primary sources, activities and other teacher resources we’ve collected for you: Titianic teaching resources  

Bringing the National Jukebox to Your Classroom

If you haven’t discovered the National Jukebox from the Library of Congress, take a look at this excellent article from two members of the Library of Congress staff which introduces this music resource and offers helpful teaching ideas. 

Stacie Moats, Educational Resources Specialist at the Library of Congress, and Stephanie Poxon, former senior music specialist at the Library, co-wrote the article about using digitized musical primary sources.  “I Didn’t Raise my Boy to be a Soldier: Ideas and Strategies for Using Music from the National Jukebox to teach Difficult Topics in History” explores ways to use the Library’s vast collection of music, both recorded and sheet music,  to teach inquiry and critical thinking in the classroom.  Moats and Poxon point out that it is easy to create a unique playlist of recorded music on the Jukebox site (www.loc.gov/jukebox) as a classroom resource.  They then provide multiple ideas for using the music to compare the past to the present utilizing the Primary Source Analysis Tools (available at http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html).

To read this interesting and useful article, click here.

This article, which appeared in Social Education (November/December 2011, Volume 75, Number 6), a journal of National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), www.socialstudies.org, is shared with permission from NCSS. The theme of this issue is Teaching Difficult Topics with Primary Sources.

A Clean Sweep!

Educational Resource Specialists at the Library of Congress, such as Cherly Lederle, find literal and metaphorical ways to incorporate thematic and timely references for instructional purpose with the digitized, primary, sources available online for teachers.

Check out Cheryl's suggestions in incorporating the political cartoon below from the front cover of "Puck" magazine in January 1905. Her ideas activate students' interest and facilitate their comparative analysis of our contemporary political climate. 


                The new boy, January 1, 1905 / Frank A. Nankivell


Our National Holiday for Giving Thanks

We encourage you to explore the abundant materials on the Library of Congress website, suitable for Thanksgiving instruction

You may find the Thanksgiving Primary Source Set & Teacher's Guide useful in your classroom.

Littleton, Colorado. Schoolhouse circa 1910

Learn more online from our Library of Congress:  

More Civil War Connections

Written by Mary Hart

A primary source Civil War site on the Library of Congress site that might be useful in the classroom is the collection of Civil War maps of most of the major battles. That site can be accessed at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/civil_war_maps/, and on the left is a menu of search methods for this collection, including by title, subject, or place. For example, I clicked on the subject link, chose the B from the alphabetical menu, and found 12 maps of the first and second battles of Bull Run. Paul Fleischman’s book Bull Run (HarperCollins, March 31, 1995, ISBN 0-06-440588-5) could serve as a lead in and a read-with study of that battle. Math students could analyze the maps to measure troop movements and figure out other statistics and ratios, including a compare/contrast of the two battles. The Library has a download that gives ideas for incorporating primary sources into math lessons at this link: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/additionalresources/downloads/and choose the last slide show, Eye Spy Math. Additionally, there’s site with ideas for using maps to teach critical thinking for upper elementary levels at http://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/maps/\ Another site not connected to the Library with ideas for teaching math with maps is http://tabstart.com/directory/education/math-worksheets-on-calculating-distance-using-map-899, and the Civil War maps would work well with the ideas presented.

Summer Institute Brings Past Perspective on Present-Day Natural Disasters

By Mary Hart and Anne Bell

Participants and presenters alike enjoyed another fact-filled and fun Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Institute at the University of Northern Colorado’s Michener Library June 14 - 16. The topic, The Human Impact of Natural Disasters: Controlling, Chronicling, and Capitalizing on Nature's Fury, unfolded through Library of Congress primary sources, guests speakers, and opportunities to create learning experiences for students.

Day one focused on violent weather and destructive storms. The book Isaac’s Storm by Eric Larson, which chronicles the dramatic events leading up to and including the details of the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the most devastating natural disaster in American history, had been sent to participants before the institute, providing a lively discussion. UNC Meteorology faculty member Derek Starkenburg’s informative presentation helped participants to better understand weather patterns, and participants dived into Chronicling America from the Library website to follow newspaper coverage of the Galveston hurricane.

With images of the recent earthquake in Japan fresh in everyone’s mind, day two’s topic, the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, provided a historical perspective, while UNC physical sciences faculty member Byron Straw’s presentation explained the science behind such natural disasters. Participant and physical science teacher Denny Heyrman provided barometers for everyone, and also set up hands-on experiment stations showing how a buildup of force in the earth can produce earthquakes. Primary Source photos and movies chronicling the San Francisco disaster provided participants with ideas for their own activity and lesson plans. 

The final day included a fascinating case study of the 1985 Armero, Colombia, volcano and flood tragedy by Bruce Feinberg from the Bureau of Reclamation. Participants explored the Library’s historic online photos of the 1889 Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood, and compared photos from current and historical disasters. Additional activities focused on disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. Especially worth noting was the final day’s outdoor box lunch feast, including a fabulous ice cream sundae bar. Thanks to everyone who participated!


150th Anniversary of the Start of the Civil War

Written by Mary Hart

We thought that you might touch on the war in your classrooms, so over the next few months, we’ll tell you about some of the primary sources available on the www.LOC.gov website. 

A new special exhibition on the Library of Congress website features the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War photographs. Called The Last Full Measure, this collection “presents a stunning array of Civil War-era ambrotype and tintype photographs that associates human faces, often startlingly young, with statistics on both sides in this wrenching conflict. This exhibition features portraits of enlisted men in uniform—both Union and Confederate—and serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the war by displaying images of 360 Union soldiers in uniform—one for every thousand who died—and 52 rare images of Confederate soldiers—one for every five thousand casualties. More than 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War, a greater number of deaths than occurred in all other American wars combined through Vietnam.” 

To find this exhibition is easy: simply click on the LOC link (above), and on the opening page, bottom left, you’ll see a link to all the exhibitions. The More Exhibitions link will take you to another page, and the collection link can be found toward the bottom of the first column. If that doesn’t work, here’s a direct link to the collection: http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/civilwarphotographs/pages/default.aspx .

Participants virtually run through the nation’s capitol, Congress

Teachers who attended the Civics, Congress and the Next Generation workshop Feb 26 had an opportunity to enter the world of a virtual Congress as avatars, teleporting between committee rooms, sitting in the House and Senate chambers and meeting up with other legislators in the Center on Congress’ Virtual Congress application. Guest facilitator Elaine Larson, director of the TPS program from Indiana University, introduced participants to this and a number of educational resources on the TPS Center on Congress site (www.tpscongress.org).  

Favorite parts of the TPS Center on Congress experience, as noted by participants, included   political cartoons, critical analysis of arguments, Democracy Kids and the Virtual Congress. All of these experiences include primary sources from the Library of Congress. We thank Elaine for traveling all the way from Indiana for this workshop and our enthusiastic participants!