The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, provides research for the U.S. Congress. Part of its job is to support the development of U.S. citizens. In keeping with this mission, the Library has free classroom resources, and they are amazing! If you are looking for ways to teach students how to use primary sources, this is the place for you.
You’ll find some great stuff in the Classroom Materials section. Below, we’ve listed some highlights:
1. Lesson Plans
With more than 100 teacher-created lesson plans, an educator can get lost for hours on the Library site! Arranged by subject, teachers will find sources related to social studies and history, literature, the arts, and science. All topics are aligned to Common Core and state standards and linked to the Library’s digital collection.
2. Primary Source Sets
This section links students and teachers to almost 40 sets of primary sources from the Library’s collection. Topics include The Constitution, The Harlem Renaissance, Japanese American Internment, and found poetry. Each set has a teacher’s guide. Through the Analysis Tool and Guides, you’ll find a graphic organizer to aid student interaction with the materials. Also, you’ll find guides for using different kinds of primary sources.
3. Presentations and Activities
For many of these resources, you’ll need Adobe Flash Player. Organized by theme, the presentations include materials from the Library’s collection. Activities give students the chance to explore a more specific topic by themselves or with your help.
4. Collection Connections
Here, you’ll find hundreds of the Library’s primary source collections. They are listed alphabetically and summarized. There are also links to teacher resources.
5. Student Discovery Sets
Available on iTunes for free, these ebooks let students read about topics such as the Industrial Revolution, weather forecasting, and scientific data. Each set includes resources for teachers.
Also, you can find a Professional Development Builder with 15 modules that engages teachers in learning about primary sources. They range between 45 and 180 minutes and include all necessary materials. In addition, the site has short videos highlighting the Library’s resources. These clips also share strategies for using primary sources in the classroom.
Interested in learning more? You can explore the educator resources that the Library of Congress offers here.