I recently checked out the new Library of Congress Common Core Resource Center, following the suggestion of the December 12 AASL Advocacy Tip of the Day. It had been some time since I visited the Library of Congress’ website, so I was curious to see what was new and how the CCSS were connected to the resources on teaching with primary sources. Plus, in the state where I teach, school library licensure candidates are required to address some aspect of “American Civic Culture” in their lesson planning, so I’m always looking for resources to support this standard.
The resources seem mostly suited to browsing, though there are some basic search features from which to begin. Choose from drop-drop menus for grade level and a variety of standards:
- AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner (listed as “AASL” and paired with the NETS standards – National Educational Technology Standards)
- Common Core State Standards for ELA
- Common Core State Standards for ELA in History/Social Studies
- National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Language Arts
- National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (NCSS) and National Standards for Civics and Government (NSCG)
You can also search by state curriculum. In attempting a few searches, I found results for grades K-12, but the resources really seem more appropriate for intermediate grades and up. As an example, the “Kwout” screen capture below shows the broad list of materials for these sixth grade CCSS ELA standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6 Reading Standards for Literature
- Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
The lesson plans include topics of the Japanese American internment experience, the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression in relation to the novel Jacob Have I Loved, and the immigrant experience as presented through themes of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The other resources include historical context, primary sources, and ideas for teaching such topics as folklife in different states and women pioneers. Some of the presentations offer guidance in searching for more resources, including key words to use. For instance, a section from Women Pioneers in American Memory suggests, “Search on frontier life, pioneer life, and overland journeys to find more writings by these pioneer women.”
So in thinking about this site to support the integration of primary sources into teaching the CCSS, I’d say that the resources are as rich as the opportunities for librarians. Put simply, there’s a lot of stuff here, and I think librarians are well-positioned to facilitate the connections between these perhaps overwhelming offerings, and teachers and curriculum needs.
But another really useful feature of this site that I didn’t know about is the professional development section, featuring Supporting Inquiry with Primary Sources, an online module for independent study, and the Professional Development Builder, which librarians can use to teach Barbara’s Stripling’s inquiry model, as incorporated into the site’s teacher resources. If you have the chance to lead or suggest inquiry-related professional development sessions for spring, give these a try!