The Teaching with Primary Sources Program

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits.

In doing so, the Library helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. Today, the Library serves the public, scholars, Members of Congress and their staff—all of whom seek information, understanding and inspiration. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s award-winning Web site www.loc.gov.

The mission of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program is to: build awareness of the Library’s educational initiatives; provide content that promotes the effective educational use of the Library’s resources; and offer access to and promote sustained use of the Library’s educational resources.

The Library achieves this mission through collaborations between the Library and the K-12 educational community across the United States. The program contributes to the quality of education by helping teachers use the Library’s digitized primary sources to engage students, develop their critical thinking skills and construct knowledge.  Learn more about the Library’s TPS program and other resources available to teachers at www.loc.gov/teachers .

Professional Development

Professional development activities under Teaching with Primary Sources progress along three program levels. K-12 educators have the option of taking workshops and courses, offered by TPS Consortium members, under all or some of these levels, depending on their interests.

Level 1 – Participants gain strategies for using primary sources to help students engage in learning, develop critical thinking skills and build content knowledge.

Participants learn:

  • What are primary sources;
  • Why teach with primary sources; and
  • How to teach with primary sources

Level 2 – Participants evaluate, create and teach topic-specific, content-informed lessons that integrate primary sources from the Library of Congress and exemplify effective instructional practices.

Participants:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of effective instructional practices with emphases on inquiry-based and student-centered learning using primary sources
  • Learn to identify exemplary learning experiences
  • Create standards-based, content-informed learning experiences integrating primary sources from the Library of Congress that exemplify effective instructional practice
  • Teach, assess and reflect on their experiences using primary sources in instruction
  • Evaluate primary source-based learning experiences
  • Investigate the effects of primary source-based instructions on student learning

Level 3 – Experienced educators advocate the use of primary sources to help disseminate the ideas, methods and products of the TPS program.

Participants:

  • Mentor colleagues on the effective instructional uses of primary sources
  • Evaluate learning experiences for widespread dissemination and use
  • Interact and collaborate with other teachers who are using Library of Congress primary sources
  • Conduct research into the effective use of primary sources in education
  • Contribute to the use of effective practices for using primary sources in instruction by leading professional development activities

Members of the TPS Educational Consortium assist in the design of the TPS program and offer TPS professional development on an ongoing basis, year round. Visit www.loc.gov/teachers/tps to view a list of current Consortium members and their respective states.

In North Carolina, contact the TPS program at Mars Hill University to schedule free professional development in your school or district.

Disclaimer: Content created and featured in partnership with the TPS program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.