Teaching with Primary Sources - Teacher Resources
The TPS-UArts downloadable Teacher Resource Guides cover a range of arts-based topics and historical contexts. The guides are designed to help K-12 teachers incorporate arts-based primary resources into dynamic, cross-curricular classroom experiences. Each guide includes hands-on classroom projects, discussion prompts, and examples of ways to use the guides with Common Core Standards and National Core Arts Standards.
Igniting Inquiry: Using Compelling Arts-based Primary Sources to Inspire Student Writing Across Disciplines
This guide centers on using arts-based primary sources from the Library of Congress's digital collection to spark student writing. The prompts and downloadable classroom projects included within this guide are suitable for use in classrooms across subject areas, disciplines, and levels.
Cross-Pollination: Botanical Illustrations
This guide focuses on the ways in which K-12 educators can use botanical illustrations from the Library of Congress's digital collection to promote a meaningful understanding of the natural world.
The City as a Primary Source: Connecting Historical Primary Sources and the City
Cities contain innumerable primary source materials that can be employed to investigate history, culture, and identity in the classroom. This guide examines the city of Philadelphia — its layout and geography, architecture, and the art it inspires — as a primary source, using resources from the Library of Congress.
A is for Everything: How Typography Shapes our Language and Culture
How do type and design shape language and visual culture? This guide traces the histories, connections, meanings, and narratives of our diverse cultural experiences, using type specimens and ephemera from the Library of Congress digital collections. This guide is suitable for use in classrooms across subject areas, from art and design to social studies, science and technology.
Pictures Worth Reading: A Teacher's Guide to Comics
This guide offers an overview of how to incorporate comics and graphic novels into the K-12 classroom, using resources from the Library of Congress. The guide includes historical context and visual storytelling techniques to better understand this art form. This content connects to history, social science, literacy and more.
How to Use the Guides
Our teacher resource guides explore the teaching tools that the TPS-UArts program utilizes to enhance K-12 curriculum.
Draw on students’ prior knowledge of the topic and ask students to closely observe each primary source.
Who created it?
When was it created?
What do you notice first?
Help students see key details.
What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
Encourage students to think about their personal responses to the image.
What feelings and thoughts does the image trigger in you?
What questions does it raise?
Encourage students to speculate about each image, its creator, and its context.
What was happening during this time period?
What was the creator’s purpose in making this image/object/material?
What does the creator do to get his or her point across?
Who was this primary source’s audience?
What biases or stereotypes do you notice?
Ask if this source agrees with other primary sources, or with what the students already know.
Ask students to test their assumptions about the past.
Ask students to find other primary or secondary sources that offer support or contradiction.
Have students summarize what they’ve learned.
Ask for reasons and specific evidence to support their conclusions.
Help students identify questions for further investigation and develop strategies for how they might answer them.
TPS Teachers Network
The TPS Teachers Network brings together teachers with a shared interest in improving instructional practice and impacting student learning through Library of Congress primary sources. The network provides tools to connect, communicate, and collaborate with peers and primary source experts online by employing social media tools and activities such as posting, commenting, discussion forums, and media and bookmark sharing, all in a private network. The vision for the TPS Teachers Network social media platform is to engage teachers in a conversation with and among peers, experts, and Library staff and enable connections in an intuitive, easy to use, uncluttered, and friendly social media environment. The network intends to create a personalized experience in which teachers can curate their own primary source content and discover relevant strategies for their own teaching goals within a respectful, protected, professional space.
View recent webinars from TPS-UArts and our content experts and contributors.
Igniting Inquiry: Using compelling arts-based primary resources to inspire student writing across disciplines.
Presented by Teaching with Primary Sources at the University of the Arts.
This webinar took place on October 22, 2020.
Presented by TPS-UArts contributor Dr. Jenny Neff, Associate Professor of Music Education, UArts; NAfME; and Waynesburg University - TPS Eastern Region.
This webinar took place on January 27, 2021.
Header image citation:
Catesby, Mark, Edmund C Hartopp, and James Frothingham Hunnewell. Histoire naturelle de la Caroline, la Floride, & les isles Bahama. The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands[. . .]. London: Printed at the expence of the author, and sold by W. Innys and R. Manby ... by Mr. Hauksbee, at the Royal Society House, and by the author, at Mr. Bacon's in Hoxton, -43, 1731. Pdf. View primary source
Content created and featured in partnership with the Teaching with Primary Sources program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.