For the most part, it is probably most useful for folks teaching American history (rather than local history/Montana history). Its website has three main sections:
- Primary Source Picks. Recent “picks” have included antislavery and women rights activist Sojourner Truth, actress Lillian Russell, and the Civil War Battle of Chattanooga.
- Tech Tips & Tutorials. This section is my favorite: it includes entries as varied as tips on oral history tips for students and Civil War era photographic techniques, including how photographers faked photos long before photoshop.
- Teaching and Learning. This section offers sample project ideas and connected primary sources. I confess that most of these did not excite me—I’d be really interested to hear about it if you find one that works well in your classroom since I’m always looking for good models to copy.
As an aside, I wonder a little if I’ve become too Common Core obsessed. (Please do let me know if you find the information I’m providing on Common Core useful and relevant or if you’d rather I write about something else for a while.) I think the reason I’m so interested is because these standards do seem to get at much of what we really want students to be doing—especially when they work with primary sources, be they text or images. For example:
- Determining what the text/image says explicitly and making logical inferences from it
- Citing specific evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text/image.
- Assessing how point of view or purpose shapes content and style
- Analyzing how two or more texts/images address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches creators take.
P.S. Interested in reading even more on teaching with primary sources? Check out one of these earlier posts: “Teaching with Primary Sources,” “More on Teaching with Primary Sources,” or “National Archives Resources for Teaching with Primary Sources.” Or scroll down the blog until you see the heading “Labels” on the right hand side of the page, and click on the label “teaching with primary sources” for a list of all the relevant posted articles.