Thursday, June 5, 2014

Common Core IRL: Life in Colonial America (Primary Sources)

This month, my librarian buddies and I are focusing on another installment of our Common Core IRL series.  I have truly enjoyed putting these posts together and collaborating with my fellow educator/librarian/bloggers.

Normally, as part of this series, I concentrate on students in the primary grades and how teachers can adapt a topic to younger students, and what books might be effective while integrating with the Common Core State Standards.  Imagine my surprise when I really could not find the right informational text books for student in Kindergarten to Second grade. What I was able to find was often culturally insensitive and particularly portrayed Native Americans in a negative light.

What can a teacher or librarian do if they are unable to find books about a topic? Aside for letting publishers know that we need more books for a particular topic, we can also focus on other sources of information.  One area that the CCSS stresses is the use of primary sources. Here are a few to explore: 

If you have not discovered the Library of Congress website for educators, you need to check it out and plan to spend some time exploring the features and materials available for educators.

One section to check out is the section for Teaching Using Primary Sources.

When you have finished exploring the section on Primary Sources, click on any of the Primary Source Sets to explore actual materials.  Since this month's Common Core IRL is on Colonial America, I went to the section on Jamestown.

Jamestown Primary Sources
From there you can check out the Teacher's Guide for Jamestown.

Another section that relates directly to our topic this month is Colonial Settlement (1492-1763), which of course then led me to a link to PBS's Colonial House.

As you can see, there is a wealth of resources that you can utilize in creating lessons or exploring life in Colonial America including images, video, and more.

Once you have explored the Library of Congress site, you may want to head over to the Smithsonian's Educator site.

One feature on the Smithsonian site is a drop down menu that allows you to indicate a standard, grade and subject as related to the Common Core State Standards.  You can enter in a curricular area and grade level and it will pull up the standards and resources related to that topic and grade.

You can also search by topic.  When I searched for Colonial America, I was able to locate Elementary School Lesson Plans, Primary Source Materials, and High School DBQ's.

Other Sources to Explore:

Digital History Website

America's Story from America's Library Website

The Newberry/Chicago's Independent Research Library

Though there are many more websites to explore, I wanted to just give you a taste of what is out there.

Check out these great posts this week for more Colonial Resources:
Thank you to Mary Ann Scheuer at Great Kid Books, Amy Koester at The Show Me Librarian, and Cathy Potter and Louise Capizzo at The Nonfiction Detectives for all of their work to pull the various resources together.  I am honored to collaborate with such a great team of librarians.