The Primary Source Librarian

Dedicated to Excellence in Teaching with Primary Sources

Lincoln Institutes – Register Now!

A week ago I had an opportunity to present and facilitate at Librarian Days 2009, a two-day workshop organized each year by Teaching with Primary Sources–Colorado (TPS–Colorado). The TPS folks do such an amazing job! This year we based much of the event on the inquiry learning expertise of Leslie Maniotes, co-author (with Carol C. Kuhlthau and Ann K. Caspari) of Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century. Not only was Leslie delightful to work with, but her book is a valuable and important read. I highly recommend it.

Guided Inquiry

Leslie totally got the connection between primary sources and inquiry learning, and it was really fun to develop a workshop that combined both ideas. We also incorporated three 2009 events: the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the sesquicentennial of the founding of Denver, and the centennial of the Colorado Governor’s Residence. Participants enjoyed three fascinating lectures by Lincoln historians and a reception at the elegant Governor’s Residence. TPS set up a wiki (as with all wikis, a work in progress) to share Annotated Resource Sets developed by participants, along with useful links to standards, presentations, and so on. This was my first time to work with the new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner, and I continue to impressed with how perfectly they fit into inquiry lessons.

My own short presentation took attendees through a beginning lesson applying “guided inquiry” to primary source learning. As always, one question led to another, one primary source led to another, and discoveries about the past connected to today. I began with President Obama’s oft-repeated line–“This is our time”–and wondered what primary sources I could find that would paint a picture of Lincoln’s own time, especially at the moment of his first inauguration.

Then last night I watched PBS’ Bill Moyers NOW program and heard Moyers’ interview with Eric Foner, editor of Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World. Foner said, “The questions we ask about Lincoln change as our times change.” He went on to say, “You have to understand Lincoln in the context of his times.” Ha! He didn’t even attend the TPS workshop!

Our Lincoln

So it seems that even the experts are still developing new thinking about the endlessly fascinating Lincoln. Do you want to join them? The Library of Congress has scheduled a number of Lincoln Institutes for educators in the upcoming months, and they’ve just opened up registration online.

Spring Break Institutes March 3-5 and April 6-8. As the nation celebrates the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, take the opportunity to learn more about him and about the primary sources available at the Library. Participants will have the opportunity to view a Library exhibition that documents Lincoln’s life and explore Lincoln’s life through the use of photographs, maps, and documents. Participants will also have the opportunity to create inquiry-based instructional activities using resources from the Library of Congress Web site.

Summer Institute 1 July 7-10. “Advanced Session: Using Library Resources to Create Lessons.” Teachers who have attended the Library’s previous summer institutes, or who have served as American Memory Fellows, now have the opportunity to build on their skills with this advanced institute. Participants will work closely with Library specialists to improve their skills in searching the Library’s Web site, to learn more about using collections at the Library, and to develop inquiry based primary source teaching materials for use in their own classrooms. In addition to attending training sessions with Library specialists, participants will undertake intensive individual research in the Library’s collections to discover primary source documents that support their teaching goals. By the conclusion of the institute, each participant will have created the initial stages of a lesson plan or other primary source-based learning experience that they can take with them and integrate into their teaching. For previous summer institute participants or American Memory Fellows only.

Summer Institute 2 July 15-17. “Women’s History.” This institute will examine documents that trace the diverse and complex roles played by women throughout the history of the United States. Participants will meet with women’s history specialists at the Library and examine original historical materials from the Library’s collections. Library staff will also guide participants in finding and using materials related to women’s history on the Library of Congress Web site, as well as exploring different ways to integrate those materials into the classroom.

Summer Institute 3 July 29-31. “Going Global: Locating International Resources at the Library of Congress.” Interested in incorporating primary sources into world history classroom activities? Unsure where to find resources that you can use? This session will introduce participants to the international resources that can be found at the Library. Participants will have the opportunity to visit some of the international studies reading rooms, work with the specialists from those reading rooms, and create inquiry-based activities using primary sources from the online collections.

Summer Institute 4 Aug. 5-7. “Incorporating Primary Sources into the Teaching Process.” This institute will help teachers take advantage of the instructional power of primary sources. Though many teachers are familiar with the importance of primary sources, they are not sure how to use them in the classroom, how to develop inquiry-based lessons, or how to help students use them in projects. In this workshop, Library of Congress specialists will introduce participants to the unique characteristics of primary sources, while helping explore some of the millions of digitized primary sources available on the Library’s Web site. Participants will look at ways to introduce students to primary sources and how to incorporate them in inquiry based classroom activities.

    Why should you register for one of these sessions? I guarantee that you will never work harder nor have more fun, and one institute could change everything about your teaching and the pleasure you find in teaching. That’s what I think, but the Library of Congress gives a few more good reasons to register:Participants in the Library’s Teacher Institutes will:

    • Discover Library of Congress primary source materials
    • Develop strategies for using primary source digital content in teaching
    • Engage in inquiry learning in hands-on workshops
    • Learn from Library of Congress subject matter experts and education specialists
    • Network with other teachers from across the country to share ideas and experiences
    • Leave with a plan for creating a primary source-based lesson or activity to be used with their students

    Go online and register now! (Thanks to Sherry Galloway for all this information!)


One Response to “Lincoln Institutes – Register Now!”

  1. teacherninja says:

    Wow, you’re good. We were JUST discussing Guided Inquiry and the 21st C. skills in our SLM classes

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