I’m at the TIE Conference in Copper Mountain and am sitting in with Gail Petri from the Library of Congress as she shares ideas about using fiction books to hook kids on primary sources. Some cool stuff so far. Basic overview of the the LOC site, some basic activities to introduce students looking at photographs.

I am always amazed at what is available for teachers at the LOC site and always find something new. You really need to spend some time there.

I will be adding to this post as the morning goes on but I found something new on the LOC site that all social studies teachers need to use called MyLOC. During the free registration process, you are asked if you are a teacher. Once you’re in, your own specific page opens up with stuff designed for teachers. You can create your own collections, download lesson plans and view cool exhibitions.

This should not replace the LOC’s Learning Page or its Teacher Page but it looks like a great place to start your use of the LOC site. It’s the perfect Library of Congress trifecta.

I’m back! A couple of ideas using primary sources that I like.

The first idea is to find an appropriate map and divide it into several parts (4, 6, or 8). Assign each part to a small group of kids and ask them to analyze using analysis worksheet. They can also answer the five W’s and H. Lead some large group conversation. Then have them put their pieces together and do the same thing again. Finish with large group reflection. We used a map of the Andersonville prisoner of war camp. Pretty cool!

Also heard about using “found poetry” to help kids understand text and documents. Found poetry is a bit like those tiny letter magnets that some people have on their fridges that you can re-arrange to make sentences. You (or the kids) read a piece of text or document and select words or phrases from the text. The kids then must create their own poem using just those words or phrases. I have never used the idea but it seems like a wonderful way to cement learning!