By Troutner, Joanne
Teacher Librarian , Vol. 28, No. 2
Primary Source Materials
The Internet is an excellent place to introduce students to using primary source materials. Using primary source material also provides practice for students in achieving the information literacy standards:, "The student who is information literate evaluates information critically and competently." (American Library Association, 1998) as well as "The student who is information literature uses information accurately and creatively" (American Library Association). Social studies teachers and teacher librarians will also find that students are much more engaged in their learning when dealing with primary source material and analyzing it. Begin by using at least one of these first three sites to help students as they begin work.
Spy letters of the American Revolution: Interpreting primary sources
In this Teachers' Lounge option the uQUsers will finds questions to help in evaluating the information both text and images. The materials here are designed to help the teacher introduce the use of primary source materials.
Library of Congress on using primary sources in the classroom
This site includes excellent tips for introducing students to using objects, images, audio, statistics, and the community at large. Includes projects and In addition to information evaluation ideas, project ideas are also included.
You be the historian
Students take on the role of historians as they visit the house of Thomas and Elizabeth Springer. Students make predictions about the life style of these people based on artifacts found in the 200-year-old house.
After students are introduced to some of the necessary tools for using primary source material, teachers will want to move to actual sites containing materials.
Spy letters of the American Revolution
Here are stories of spy networks, Benedict Arnold, female spies, maps of spy letter routes, digitized pictures of the actual letters and the text.
Images of American political history
Students interpret the information found at this site through links to the stories, maps, and timelines help studentsinterpret the information found at this site. Users will find over 500 public domain pictures. The images can be searched via time period or through one of four special topics-maps of growth, population and elections; images of toleration, abolition, suffrage, and civil rights; the Capitol and related buildings; and the Presidents. Each image includes a thumbnail, a description, the credits, and a full size version of the image.
Another interesting database of primary source material is found at this site. Here are newspaper ads for beauty and hygiene, radio, television, transportation and World War II. Searching can be done by keyword, names and dates. In addition, the user can browse the ads by category. Browsing is done by time period and then ad title. Each ad is represented by a thumbnail with the publication information, date, and ad number and can be accessed in 72dpi size and 150 dpi size.
George Rarey's journal of the 379th fighter squadron (WWII)
This site is a treasure-trove of primary source information. This wonderful artist chronicles his life starting with the draft and through his last cartoon drawing on June 21, 1944 before being killed in action on June 26, 1944. This site also houses a nice collection of WWII airplane nose art for exploration. …