Friday, July 5, 2013

Primary Sources: The Perfect Fit for Informational Texts in the Common Core

I've been focusing a lot lately on informational texts as we move towards the Common Core adoption that is pretty much going into full swing next month, and with good reason. The informational text / literature split is very important moving forward, and failure to give it its proper due and focus heavily on it might actually cost you your job a few years down the road, it IS essential.

At the beginning, I focused a lot on resources. Where can I find informational texts? Are there resources out there for how I can use them properly in my classroom? I've already done some posts about this (see: Informational Text Free Digital Resources and The Informational Text Revolution).

Now, I'm starting to think about the connection to other subject areas (another major key in the CCSS). I've always considered myself a social studies teacher. Yes, I'm an elementary school teacher who teaches, and does a pretty darn good job of teaching, all subject areas. BUT, social studies, especially history, has always been my primary passion, and as my instruction in social studies has evolved to the point of students doing multiple research based projects, presentations, and doing some deep, relevant, technology and personally driven learning about history, geography, sociology, and economics, I've thought about how this all fits the CCSS.

I'm going as far as to say that implementing the CCSS in social studies might be the most exciting part of the CCSS adoption for me personally... well, it's actually pretty close between that and the changes it demands of math instruction from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.

Social studies instruction is already built for informational text. Honestly, I think most of us in the elementary grades might not go deep enough with our instruction, or with student expectations when doing research, but that's not really the point here.

The point here is simple: Primary sources. The more I've been thinking on this subject and studying it, the more I am convinced that 5th grade students can read and analyze primary sources, and it's exciting. Some of the primary examples I've seen of implementing the CCSS in 5th grade involve reading and analyzing the Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, and other great primary sources.

So with that in mind, I'm going to just throw some information and resources out there that I think can benefit all of us. I'll be listing a quick description of each of these multiple links:

These first links are to research articles, and other descriptions of the importance of primary sources within the CCSS:

Finally, I'm going to end with some resources that can be used with students, or can get you thinking more about using primary sources in your classroom:
  • Teaching With Documents, Lesson Plans : From the National Archives website, there's some decent lessons here that really help when developing your own lessons. A good place to start.
  • Using Primary Sources in the Classroom : A great pdf document from the Library of Congress that lists some great lesson ideas and some examples.
  • Primary Sources for the Classroom : A pdf document from the state of Tennessee that might be my favorite of everything I've listed here. There's some stuff I want my students to read and take to heart as they start researching.
  • Library of Congress Common Core Teacher Resource Center : If you don't know about this, wake up! This huge listing of resources can't be ignored. I've been referring to it often. It's growing daily, and there are tons upon tons of great things there, not just for primary sources, for ALL the Common Core.
  • Evaluating Sources : Another pdf document, this one is helpful and I think your smarter 5th graders could handle without too many problems.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to hear any feedback you have on my new common core math materials site.

    Thank you for your time!

    I hope you find it worth your time.


All comments on this blog will be moderated, please stay on topic and refrain from using profanity. Spam will simply be ignored.