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Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes

In this five-day program for K-12 educators, Library of Congress education specialists facilitate sessions modeling strategies for using primary sources to engage students, build critical thinking skills, and construct knowledge. Participants then consider, discuss, and develop applications to their students, their classrooms, and school libraries. During the week, participants draw from among the millions of digitized primary sources in the Library’s collections to design and refine a specific primary source activity to implement in their classroom settings.* While the emphasis is on teaching strategies, participants also have opportunities to meet experts within the Library and visit the Maps; Manuscripts; Prints & Photographs and other Reading Rooms to gather information and resources to use in developing their activities.

*The Civil Rights Institute is also open to educators of any curricular area and grade level, but will focus on the exploration and design of lessons with the Library’s related collections.

In the school year, following the Institute, educators are expected to implement a primary-source based activity in their school setting and share outcomes with Institute staff and their session cohort. In order to scale the reach of the Institute, participants are also asked to and receive resources for sharing what they have learned with colleagues in their professional networks. Participants also have an option of completing additional work to pursue graduate credit from George Mason University.

After participating in the Summer Teacher Institute, participants will be able to:

  • describe the benefits of teaching with primary sources;
  • analyze a primary source using Library of Congress tools;
  • analyze primary sources in different formats;
  • analyze a set of related primary sources in order to identify multiple perspectives;
  • justify their conclusions about whether a source is primary or secondary depending upon the time or topic under study;
  • draw on a variety of primary source analysis strategies to address skill and content goals and meet the learning needs of students;
  • conduct fruitful searches for primary sources and access primary source teaching tools from and;
  • identify key considerations for selecting primary sources for instructional use;
  • facilitate a primary source analysis using Library of Congress tools.

Read testimonials from educators

Read the complete 2014 Summer Teacher Institute Syllabus (PDF, 133 KB)

Review the complete Before you Apply: Application and Participation Guidelines

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