Thursday, December 3, 2015

Teaching Montana History: Evaluating Sources

Teaching Montana History: Evaluating Sources: I had the great pleasure of hearing Sam Wineburg, founder and Executive Director of the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), speak last ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Integrating Technology: Linking Primary Sources with Primary Sources

America's Music from Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
This is a guest post by Ruth Ferris, an elementary school librarian from Billings, Montana, and a grantee in the TPS Regional Grant Program.
It is always a pleasure when I can connect my love of books with my love of history, seasoned with technology. One favorite tool is ThingLink, which allows you to take a picture and embed links to other types of media within the picture. 
I live in Montana and most of my students are more familiar with country music than jazz music. So how do I introduce them to new experiences?  I tease them with technology and open their minds with primary sources.  The book Jazz, by Walter Dean Myers, is a beautifully illustrated collection of poems that reflect the sounds and colors of this music developed in the United States. I chose the poem “America’s Music” from the book to connect with primary sources using ThingLink. 
I first took a picture of the two-page spread with my camera phone. I used this historic note from the book to guide my search: “World War I” saw black Americans going to Europe for the first time in large numbers.  The segregated black military outfits had their own bands and introduced Europeans to jazz.  James Reese Europe took an outstanding group of musicians through France as the head of theJames Reese Europe, the army’s most famous musical ensemble.  This coincided with another major influence, the growth of the recording industry.”
I searched James Reese Europe on I found a variety of primary and secondary sources. I also searched YouTube and found a great video that combined music from the 369th Infantry Band with numerous primary sources. I kept track of my sources by creating a table that included thumbnail images and links to my choices.
I then uploaded the image of the book spread to my Thinglink account and began tagging the image with links to the sources, which included the video, a historic newspaper article, and a portrait and biography of James Reese Europe.
When I finished, I simply chose to embed the finished Thinglink onto my website. Check out the finished product (mouse over the image to access the Thinglink icons that link to the sources).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

TPS Teachers Network

TPS Teachers Network is a great platform for connecting with other people interested in using Primary Sources in the classroom.  People share resources, ideas and ask questions. 

What is the TPS Teachers Network?
The TPS Teachers Network is a social media platform that welcomes, connects, and engages teachers in a sustained conversation and ongoing professional learning within a community of peers and Library staff to improve teaching and learning using Library of Congress primary sources.

How do I join the TPS Teachers Network?
Invitation/registration link:

What happens when a new user joins the TPS Teachers Network?
1. The new user clicks on the invitation link. 
2. The new user fills in blanks with his or her name, user name, email address, password, and verify password (repeat of the password). 
3. The user completes his or her profile in the TPS Teachers Network. 
4. Once the user has completed a profile, a verification email is automatically generated and goes to the new user's email inbox. 
5. The new user opens the email from the TPS Teachers Network and either clicks on or copies the verification link into their browser, which will verify the account and allow the user to log in to the Network. 
6.Once verification is complete, the user will be asked to log in with the selected username and password. 
7. Sign-up is complete. 
8. The URL for the TPS Teachers Network from now on will be 
9. All new users who register in the TPS Teachers Network are automatically made members of the TPS Commons. They can also immediately begin joining any and all public groups.