I’m sure you know that TPS is the powerful and very useful Library of Congress program called Teaching with Primary Sources. But sometimes it’s easy to forget about all the resources that the TPS people have put together for social studies teachers.

One of the most useful things you can find is their Teaching with Primary Sources Quarterly. Each Quarterly focuses on a specific topic with helpful articles, links to sources, and grade level lesson plans. This quarter’s topic is using primary source activities that align to the Common Core.

But dig a bit deeper into their archive and you can find some very cool ideas and resources. I went back and pulled up the Summer 2009 Quarterly and reviewed some very nice stuff on Inquiry Learning.

Remember that this was way before the Common Core . . . back when we were still deep in the hard core state assessment, multiple choice is good for kids era. And in the midst of all of that, the LOC was working hard to support teachers looking for high quality instructional strategies and ideas. The Summer 2009 Quarterly is perhaps even more useful today, as we are all looking for ways to help kids ask good questions and develop great answers.

Barbara Stripling, former president of the American Association of School Librarians, wrote the lead article for the issue and defined Inquiry Learning as:

. . . a process of active learning that is driven by questioning and critical thinking. The understandings that students develop through inquiry are deeper and longer lasting than any pre-packaged knowledge delivered by teachers to students.

Sounds pretty Common Corish to me. She also included a visual of how the process can be structured in your classroom:

Barabara provides specific examples of how to use primary sources as part of each of the six steps in the process. Other articles in the issue include research on Inquiry Learning, other materials / resources as well as elementary and secondary lesson plans.

Head on over. The content is three years old but still very relevant to what we’re trying to do in Social Studies.