Dr. David McMullen and Dr. Sherrie Pardieck work with Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources

March 29, 2011

Dr. David McMullen and Dr. Sherrie Pardieck have been working with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program since 2004.  The program is part of a consortium of universities that collaborate with the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities.  The intent is to prepare pre-service and in-service teachers to use the Library of Congress website, www.loc.gov with the teaching and learning process as they connect curriculum and technology.

Integrating curriculum with technology is an essential task for teachers as they prepare and execute classroom learning activities.  State and national standards require this technology component within the teaching and learning process.  Using the Library of Congress (LOC) website enables educators to more easily achieve this integration. With millions of digitized primary sources (original diaries, maps, photographs, films and audio clips, artifacts, etc.) available, educators and students can access and create lesson plans and WebQuests that enhance Pre-K-12 student learning. 

Primary sources are original documents, objects, films, interviews, and photographs that record a time, place, or event in history.   Through the different formats of primary sources, such as music, movies, interviews, maps, sound recordings of actual events in history, and political cartoons, using primary sources allow students to learn in-depth information about a topic or an event for meaningful learning experiences.  Students become actively involved in their learning process as they investigate real or authentic electronic images. The LOC primary sources can be used with all subject areas and can easily be incorporated into pre-k through high school classroom instruction. 

As the LOC e-primary sources have been incorporated into teacher education courses, there has been outstanding work accomplished by our pre-service teachers.  During the Spring and Fall of 2010, pre-service teachers presented their learning activities at the Illinois Association of Teacher Educators Conferences, Illinois Council for the Social Studies Conferences, and the ETE/ELH Education Advisory Board Meeting.  The following are the pre-service teachers who presented their learning activities and the titles of their presentations:

Dana Paliga, Sara Preis, Dimitri Almasi, and Justin Bigelow presented poster session using their WebQuests from their ETE 353 Language Arts K-8 Methods class, Rapunzel:  A Language Arts WebQuest Unit of Study and Primary Sources WebQuest: The Lewis and Clark Expedition. 

Christina Thurman, Josh Freehill, Dana, Paliga, Dimitri Almasi, and Katherine Bluhm presented their instructional plans for Visual Literacy: Reading and Analyzing Primary Sources from the Library of Congress Website which were created in their ETE 325 Reading Methods K-8 course. 

Mike Dicken, Lyra Johnson, Carolyn Yates, Jen Mroz, and Caitlyn Russo presented their

Interdisciplinary Primary Source WebQuests with PathFinders developed from their

ETE 371 General Secondary Methods class. 


Jessica Siefken, Megan Sangalli, and Emily Bernardi presented their instructional plans,

 Making History Come Alive:  Using Point-of-View Writing and the Library of Congress

 E-Primary Sources from their ETE 353 Language Arts K-8 Methods course.


Teaching with Primary sources has been a great program to work with as professors and pre-service teachers continue to connect curriculum and technology.  Using the LOC e-primary sources is a practical application of technology which can be infused into the curriculum to assist student learning, which supports current research in education.  By incorporating the Library of Congress e-primary sources into classroom instruction, teachers have found an outstanding way to connect technology and curriculum for authentic learning purposes and the creation of rich interdisciplinary units of study.