Saturday, November 8, 2014

What does this Picture Say?

Pictures are portals to the past.  That brief snapshot of time.  I recently came across the blog
History in Photos   The blog features pictures from many locations and time periods.

When I look at the photos I see:

  • Writing prompts
  • Inquiry Questions
  • Language Experiences
  • Scaffolding
  • Vocabulary
  • History
  • Social Studies
What do you see?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vault FBI - New Source of Primary Sources

Years ago before I even knew there was a name for primary sources I had an intriguing conversation with a friend.  He had lived a colorful life and wondered what the FBI records showed.  He told me that he requested a copy of his file under the Freedom of Information Act.  He said it was an interesting read.

Now flash forward.  This morning I was reading Wired-MT a library list serve.  The tag line read "Vault FBI".  So I checked it out.     

Ah what intrigue can you and your students discover?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Museum Mystery

Ruth recently came across this site and shared it.  It has some fun ideas that you can refine to fit your classroom and curriculum.  It is always fun to find a website that will work in so many areas.  Thanks Ruth.

This looks like a cool site that combines museums, artifacts, and writing.  I can see using this and creating your own mystery using primary sources.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Put primary sources in your students’ hands

     The Library of Congress is offering a free resource called a Student Discovery Set.  These sets combine historical artifacts and documents on a wide range of topics.  There are 6 sets available and are a free download to iBooks.
Interactive tools allow students to zoom, draw/highlight and conduct open-ended primary source analysis.  Teaching resources are also available for each set.
     Topics covered are:

extract from the U.S. ConstitutionThe Constitution

The drafts and debates that brought the Constitution and the Bill of Rights into being, including notes by the documents’ framers.

Migrant pea pickerThe Dust Bowl

Songs, maps, and iconic photographs document the daily ordeals of rural migrant families during a disastrous decade.

Langston HughesThe Harlem Renaissance

Discover some of the innovative thinkers and creative works that contributed to the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Immigrants looking out over waterImmigration

The immigrant experience in America from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in primary sources.

Betsy Ross sewing the U.S. flagSymbols of the United States

Watch six well-known symbols of the U.S. change over the centuries. Especially for early grades.

planet earth with the moon and starsUnderstanding the Cosmos

Astronomers’ depictions of the universe, from before Copernicus to after photography.

To get these resources click on the link:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

QR Codes Adding Layers to Learning

Last week I attended a wonderful Woman's History Conference in Helena, MT.  The wonderful team at the Montana Historical Society put it on.  I always look forward to attending.  Follow Martha's Blog - Teaching Montana History or Listserve and she will let you know about other wonderful events.

There were many wonderful speakers and topics.  I am excited about incorporating what I learned into my classroom.  Montana is celebrating our 100th anniversary of women getting the vote this year.  An awesome milestone!

Part of the conference explored the exhibits at the Montana Historical Society.  We were given a paper to complete a scavenger hunt in the Montana Homeland Gallery.  This is a permanent exhibit created in the 1980's.  

Questions & Reflections
  •  Find at least three places where women's history is included in the exhibit?
  •  How does the material enrich the narrative or change the exhibit's overall interpretation?
  •  Find at least three "missed opportunities" -- places where women could have been included but  wasn't.
  • Would adding women here simply enrich the current storyline or would it require a change in interpretation.   
This event got me thinking.  I was amazed when I realized that women were not a focus in most of the exhibits.  They were mentioned in some or off handedly referred to.  I had been through the exhibit several times before and had never noticed this glaring omission.  As an educator I am troubled when our texts and educational experiences neglect to tell the story of half the population.  

The next day our group was divided up and we again went through the gallery.  This time there were 5 stations.  At each station was a reading that connected to the individual event.  A reading from a woman who told the story.  We each had a page with questions to help us process the information.  It was powerful to hear those stories read aloud.  It gave the rest of the exhibit so much more depth.

I have pondered how the audio component could be added to the exhibit without lots of work or starting over from scratch. I have been thinking about this because the original exercise we did was powerful.  I tried to think how other people could also experience it.

As I pondered I did some experimented.   I opened an account (free in Audioboo)  I recorded one of the readings - Crow Women and their Lodges.  It took me several tries but it worked.  When you scan the QR Code it will take you to the recording I made from an excerpt of Frank Linderman's Pretty Shield.  

How did I attach the audio recording to the QR code?  First I recorded the reading.  Then opened my account found my recording. Clicked on edit.  On the page it shows a button for creating a QR code.  I created the QR code then saved the sheet as a pdf document.  Scan the QR code and then click the triangle to play.

Other free recording apps that would also work.
Croak It (free in itunes)
Eurl voice (android)
Vocaroo (itunes)

I am sure there are many other recording apps that you could use.

Scan the QR Code to hear the recording I made.  Let me know what you think.

- Cross posted with

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tour Stop National Archives

Where can you find primary sources?  How do you use them in the classroom?  How can I use them when I don’t have time to research them?

These are questions that most of us have asked on a regular basis.  I hope that we will all share the resources we find with each other.  I think this is one way we can support each other and give our students greater opportunities.

Government agencies are great sources of primary sources.  Many of them are being digitized for public use.  The Docs Teach is our first stop of our tour of the National Archives.

History Can Be Delicious an exhibit at the National Archives .   Is about Uncle Sam and the American Diet.  This activity looks at the American Diet and what food guidelines have changed over time.

In Docs Teach the National Archives have developed templates that teachers can use to develop classroom activities.  This is a great place to explore when you are looking at a specific topic.  Look to see if something has already been created that would meet your needs.  Perhaps looking at what others have created will inspire you to add to the growing collection of activities.   Registration is free.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

State Resources at the Library of Congress

Have you used Pinterest as a source for educational material?  The other day I did a key word search "Teaching with Primary Sources"  I found some interesting things.  One was an interactive map from the Library of Congress for locating Primary Source Sets from individual states.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Remembering the R.M.S. Titanic

Want to pair a historical event with fiction?  Lauren Tarshis is the author of a YA book "I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic".

Think about how excited your students will be when they start to dig into the primary sources connected to the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic.  The Library of Congress has put together a great collection of primary sources for you to use in your classroom.   The National Archives also has records you might want to investigate.

National Archives - Tag It Tuesday

National Archives Marked 100th Anniversary

Pieces of History

Letters from a Lost Liner

Building of the Titanic

Remembering the Titanic

Chronicling America

Senate Investigation

A web page that Lauren Tarshis recommends

Books to Explore

The Titanic - An Interactive History Adventure by Bob Temple

Titanicat - Marty Crisp

Eva and Little Kitty on the Titanic -  Sidsel Carnahan

White Star: A Dog on the Titanic  - Marty Crisp

Polar The Titanic Bear - Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

Magic Tree House - Tonight On the Titanic - Mary Pope Osborn

Magic Tree House Research Guide - Titanic

T is for Titanic - Debbie and Michael Shoulders

Monday, April 21, 2014

The US House of Representatives

The US House of Representatives maintains a website with historical data about its members. .  One of the tabs - is education here you will find lesson plans.  There are biographical sketches about members.

Have you ever heard of Senator Hiram Revels a Republican from Mississippi?  I had never heard of him.  After reading about him.  I asked myself why don't we feature information like this in our text books?

Hiram Revels of Mississippi and Joseph Rainey of South Carolina arrived on capital hill in 1870.  They held seats that a decade earlier were held by slave owners.  Senator Revels was the first African American senator to be elected, prior to Mississippi being re-admitted to the United States. 

There are lots of areas to explore.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

What is Crop It?

Crop It - is a 4 step hands on learning routine.  Teachers can ask a question and students use paper cropping tools to explore a visual primary source. Crop Is was developed by Rhonda Bondie.  Teaching featured this lesson.

Step One:  Choose An Image
Ask students to choose an image from the collection that either
  • connects to an experience that you have had
  • relates to something you know a lot about
  • and/or leaves you with questions

Step Two:  Explore the Image
  • Pass out Crop It tools
  • Invite students to explore the image
  • Pose a question and have students Crop to the answer

  1. What first caught your eye?  Think - Why did you notice this part?
  2. Who or what is this image about?  Think - Why is this person or thing important?
  3. Where does this take place? Think - What happened at this place?

Step Three:  Identify the Evidence

Details or evidence that might give us information

Problem or

Step Four:  Close the Lesson
  • Ask students what they learned about the topic.
  • Ask them to reflect on what they learned about looking at the sources.
  • When might someone use this process?

Common Pitfalls
  • Asking too many questions at step two.
  • Allowing students to share to soon.

Library of Congress

LOC Prints and Photographs

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Agenda for April 1 & 2 2014

Tuesday April 1, 2014

    Introduction to NING - get on (join)   How to post etc.
    Blog - post comment                         (Drop Box - use for themselves, PLC’s, teaching partner)

9:00 - 10:00  Tour MSU-B library and explanation of resources available.

Work time   /   Post lessons to NING

11:30 - 12:30  Lunch   (can be a working lunch or networking)  Arrange for rides for tours

12:30  Leave for Public Library

1:00 - 2:00  Tour of Public Library

Travel to Western Heritage Center

2:30 - 3:30  Tour Western Heritage Center

Return to MSU-B  Create a post on one thing of value from their exploration.

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Explore MT Historical Webpage - WebQuest (scavenger hunt)  than additional exploration time

BLM History Mystery Kit
            Introduction to the Kits
Game (those that need additional time to finish lessons or post lessons can take this time instead of playing the game)

Work time to post all lessons…… needed

11:30 - 12:30     Lunch

Share lessons and thoughts
Panel Discussion

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Exploring the MHS Website

The Montana Historical Society is magical to me.  There are so many treasures waiting to be discovered.  I am glad so many have been digitized.  But what does that mean to teachers and students?

The answer I think is dependent on what you are teaching.  When I travel some place new I always take a roadmap with me.  It helps me have a general idea of how to get where I want to go.  

Now when you talk with friends you will learn that I can get lost anywhere even with a map.  Lost is relative.  I usually get where I'm going I just take more detours than the average bear.
What does this have to do with primary sources you ask?  Well I know that unless you investigate the Montana Historical Society website you may not discover all the treasures.

This activity is another variation to the "Jigsaw Strategy."  I have created 24 Task Cards.  I would like everyone to complete two of the following three task cards  #6 - Professional Development (Primary Sources);  #12- Mapping Montana A-Z Lesson Plan; #13 Using Digital Newspapers in the Classroom.  Then choose 2 other cards to explore.

When you are done please return to this post and leave a comment about 2 of the sections you explored.  Please include the card # and write a short reflection about the resource you investigated.  This will allow others to peruse the list later and explore other sections in a more leisurely manner.

I have also put all the task cards on the website   On the MHS Treasure Hunt page, are buttons that will take you to each Task Card.  All the links are live.

The Montana Historical website is rich in content but it can be a bit cumbersome to navigate. 
This Treasure Hunt is intended to provide opportunities to explore and mine this rich vein of gold.  I believe the MHS is the true Mother Lode.

May your gold pan always have color.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Questions We Still Have:

As we continue to work with the Library of Congress and bringing primary sources into our classrooms, we find that we may occasionally have a question.  I gathered the questions that were posted at our last training and will include all of them here.  If you have an answer please post it in a comment.......hopefully we will be able to help each other as we continue our journey.

1.  Can my essential question change or be modified as the lesson or unit  progresses?
2.  Where can we find files about the Pictograph Caves in Library of Congress?
3.  Still struggling with photo analysis for Kindergarten.  Any helpful hints?
4.  Still want flash capability on an iPad?  (Is there an app out there?)
5.  Trying to find examples of music from Titanic time period (not the movie).
6.  What is a good balance between teachers and librarians for presenting primary source lessons & info?
7.  Can we get an analysis tool in Google drive format?
8.  How do we load images to pan? zoom?
9.  When must we share lessons?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Welcome to "Seeing Things From A Different Perspective".  This blog is our portal to keeping our conversations going as we search and discover new and exciting ideas for bringing Primary Sources into our classroom and our teaching.  As we continue our journey, it is important that we remember that all of the workshop participants we have shared time with are also resources for us.  This blog will be a place where we can post our lessons, talk about our experiences, ask questions, and provide support for each other.  Hopefully, this blog will also become a great resource for you.
     "May the "sources" be with you."