Do Places Matter in the Classroom? Yes They Do!

Learning about the Devil's Den at Gettysburg National Park (March 2019) 

As educators one of the most important things we can do for our students is give them a connection to place.  By incorporating contemporary and historic sites during instruction, we are not only supporting our students in connecting to the world around us but we are also helping them to understand how places create the tapestry of the world we live in.  As you teach, feel free to access resources that have been on this blog ( ust search place and you will have them pop up!) before or the ones listed below- and feel free to reach out for ideas, collective brainstorming, and a little bit of fun too!

Ways to Use Primary Sources and Technology: 


Thinking ABOUT sheets: 

Thinking About ( Social Studies) 
Thinking About ( LOC Sheet )
Thinking About ( Preservation )

Links to Teaching with Historic Places Resources:

Teaching with Historic Places ( NPS )
Colorado Encyclopedia
Rocky Mountain PBS Colorado Experience Resources/Lessons
Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation COMPASS
Postcard Resources

How to Get Students More Involved: 

The Preserve America Youth Summit 
NPS Junior Ranger Program - Web Ranger


Happy 15th Birthday Library of Congress!

15 Years of Colorado Dreamin’
Happy Birthday TLD!

We are excited to share resources from 15 years of collaboration with Teaching With Primary Sources - We love this program and here's our gift to you! Happy Birthday TPS Western Region!  

Top 15

15: The Library Gives the Gift of Learning and The Teaching With Primary Sources Project Launches

Using Inquiry in the Classroom with the Stripling Inquiry Model


14: Hispanic Experience in the classroom ( Spanish and English Constitution )

TECHNOLOGY: Using Adobe to annotate

PRIMARY SOURCE: Colorado Constitution

13: Exploring the West:  Oxbow Print



12: Western History Association Teacher Scholar Collaboration

PRIMARY SOURCE: Use your primary sources and connect with the Redd Award

11: Abe LIncoln Resources - Anniversary, Roosevelt, WHHA

STRATEGY: 4 - Fold

10: Western Region Project and TPS Teachers Network

9: Training Pre-service Teachers Through TPS

STRATEGY: Question Writer

8: Using Media in the Classroom: Rocky Mountain PBS

STRATEGY: Lateral Reading

7: Using Historic Places in the Classroom

STRATEGY: See, Think, Wonder

PRIMARY SOURCE: Habs Collection LOC.gov

6: Ludlow Anniversary Workshop

TECHNOLOGY: Using Voicethread resources to discuss historic places

PRIMARY SOURCE: Ludlow Workshop Resources

5: Using Primary and Secondary Secondary Sources in the Classroom - Colorado Encyclopedia

STRATEGY: Sentence, Phrase, Word

PRIMARY SOURCE: Colorado Encyclopedia

4: Summer STEAM Institute

3: Using Music in the Classroom ( Yankee Doodle )

STRATEGY: LIsten Hear!

2: Case Studies Using Primary Sources  STEM ( People and STEM )

STRATEGY: Save the Last Word for Me (viewing) - identify 3 artifacts, draw a conclusion, explain why, discuss using STLWFM

1: Using Visual Images in the Classroom : We need a good birthday print from the LOC.

STRATEGY: Caption Writer



Picture Books and Primary Sources: Colonial Resources for Literacy

We are pleased to be joining CCIRA in their annual conference to present about using picture books and primary sources with this focus being on colonial America and the study of those who established our country.

Students have great success in working with primary sources and connecting them to literature, and picture books provide just that - a connection! Every student loves a good book that they can read and connect to in some way and in our classrooms we use them as a foundation for inquiry and investigation using resources from the Library of Congress, Gilder Lehrman, national historic sites from across the country, and other resources available online and virtually.

Thanks for joining us ! If you weren't able to be present- check out some of the resources available below and try out some of these in your classroom. Let us know how it goes- and if you need help just send on an email. We will get back to you quickly- or as soon as we have our nose out of our books.

Presentation from CCIRA

Colonial Book List

Primary Sources and Picture Books

Resources for using Critical Thinking: (DICE)

STAR Grant Information on other picture book and Primary Source Resources from 2017

Picture Books and Primary Sources: Additional Resources

Top 10 Ways to Use Picture Books and Primary Sources

Picture Books and Primary Sources Reference Sheet TPS Summer Institute

National Museum of Forest Service History Collaboration

Picture Books and Primary Sources ARS and Mini ARS


Technology Chopped Champions!

One of our favorite television shows is Chopped on the Food Network.  What an experience to open a basket with four unknown ingredients in it that you must use to create a winning dish!  What if you took that same model to a technology competition?  Well, one of the Geeky Teachers did just that!  She joined the VSTE Chopped Championship at the recent Virginia State Technology for Education Conference.   

Requirements included an application proving that your were a power user.  Teams were selected and met head to head in one room full of judges and other technology integrators and teachers watching ans supporting the competition.  
  • Four secret instructional technology resources were revealed that must be used in the creation of a lesson that ingnites student learning before time runs out.  
  • Each team had to roll two dice to determine their lesson goals.  We got project based learning and productivity.  The other teams rolled for their challenges.  
  • The room had two wireless active panel white boards courtesy of Promethean that the people in the room could watch while the teams were taken to another room to complete their challenge. 
  • Part way through the work, one team member was given 5 minutes to run back into the audience room to ask for help (think phone a friend).  They fired suggestions and when the time was up, the team member had to run back to give the suggestions.  
  • After 30 minutes, each team was given 5 minutes to explain their lesson plan.  
  • The room voted in real time using a google form.  
  • There were judges there who asked questions and were on hand in case of a tie breaker.  
Take Aways:
We accomplished almost a complete lesson in 30 minutes using this format (they kept the documents but we created a personalized learning pathway for students to use as a menu of options for their own voice and choice in learning!  
This could be used as a brainstorming model for training presentations, lessons or new ideas.  I found myself thinking of how our whole team could host a Chopped Championship and within an hour we could whittle down to what we really need in a presentation or lesson.  

Short, powerful, effective!  Brainstorming on steroids!  Loved it!  AND this may be the one and only time that I can be referred to as a State Champion of Anything!  


NCSS 2018 STEAM, Breakouts and Educator Information with Primary Sources!

We are excited to be at NCSS 2018 in Chicago presenting with the Teaching with Primary Sources Metro Denver Group!  We are having a wonderful time sharing ideas, primary sources and ways to engage students!  Using the 1893 Chicago World's Fair as our backdrop for resouces, we hosted an all day clinic for teachers interested in ways to use Primary Sources to teach the STEAM subjects!  Think you can't teach engineering with a primary source?  Think again!  Check out the resources, lesson plans, ideas and fun linked in our  NCSS 2018 Primarily Speaking Primary Source Strategies to Support Literacy and STEAM Agenda

Join us at the Library of Congress Poster Sessions focused on ways to incorporate primary sources and museum collections in all curriculum areas!  Ask about the QR code business cards and how we use them in the classroom!  They rock!

Breakout of the Ordinary and Join two geeks to explore how exemplary primary sources can be paired with literature and other resources to create engaging and hands-on inquiry-based digital breakouts for your students. Step by step directions and ideas are included in our presentation Breakout of the Ordinary with Digital Breakouts!