A teacher at Mary Fay Pendleton School in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District is one of only 25 educators selected to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute this month.
The teacher, Elizabeth Lewellen, was selected from a nationwide pool of more than 300 applications to attend the institute July 17 to 21 in Washington D.C.
Each year, the Library of Congress provides the opportunity for a group of K-12 educators to attend one of its five teacher institutes.
During the five-day program, participants work with education specialists and subject-matter experts to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring some of the millions of digitized historical artifacts and documents available on the library's website.
Primary sources are the raw materials of
history—original documents and objects that were created at the time
period under study. They are different from secondary sources—accounts
or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand
experience. Students working with primary sources become engaged
learners while building critical-thinking skills and constructing new
knowledge. Teachers working in the library's collections will explore
the largest online collection of historical artifacts with access to
millions of unique primary sources for use in instruction.
The week of July 17 to 21 is a special session for educators who teach about science, technology or engineering. Activities draw on subject-related treasures of the library, with an emphasis on such topics as the nature of science, scientific and engineering practices, interdependence of science, technology and engineering, the historical context of discovery and invention, and more.
Educators attending the teacher institutes participate in and develop primary-source-based teaching strategies that they can take back to their school districts, apply in the classroom, and share with colleagues. Teaching with primary sources is a powerful way to help students ask engaged, probing questions, develop critical-thinking skills and construct knowledge. All educators may freely access classroom materials, teaching tools, and strategies for teaching with primary sources from the library's site for teachers.
Applicants to the Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institutes reflect the diversity of the world of K-12 education. Participants in a teacher institute session typically include school library media specialists and school administrators, in addition to classroom teachers. Those selected come from many different states, representing large metropolitan school districts and smaller, rural school districts. The expertise provided by the Library of Congress during the institutes can benefit every level of K-12 education.
The Library of Congress is the world's largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.