Primary Sources Banner 2011

April  /  May 2012

The Challenge of Using Primary Sources in the Classroom
"Primary source integration mostly occurs in social studies subject areas for grades five or higher."-- David Ensminger and Michelle L. Fry
Ensminger, D. C. and Fry, M. L. "A Conceptual Framework for Primary Source Practices." The Educational Forum. November/December 2011, Volume 76: 118-128.


Are primary sources difficult for you to find or to effectively use in your classroom?  If so, you are in the majority of teachers according to Ensminger and Fry.  Digitized sources are now widely available from institutions such as libraries and historical archives, but locating the primary sources that will create an opportunity for constructive discussions or the development of critical thinking skills can be a challenge.  As Ensminger and  Fry write,


Primary sources can assist in visualization of the past, promote empathy, provide vicarious experiences of history, encourage civic engagement, and encourage the development of literacy skills related to information and communication technologies.
If you are looking for primary sources that will connect historical events in Alabama to pivotal events in the United States, the Alabama Department of Archives and History website is a perfect resource for your research or for lesson plans. These lessons, designed by teachers, are engaging and effectively use primary sources.  This month, five NEW lesson plans on the topics of the home front during the Civil War, prohibition, the sinking of the Lusitania, and civil disobedience as demonstrated by the Montgomery Bus Boycott are featured.  Remember to preview all of the lessons to make sure that they are age-and grade-appropriate for your students. 


We would like to get your comments and suggestions about the lesson plans.  A Feedback button is located at the bottom of the lesson plan index for your convenience.
History at Home Activity for May:  Papel Picados

Cinco De Mayo Papel Picados    


Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on May 5th, by making a papel picado!  The instructions for creating this craft can be obtained by clicking here.


Professional Development Opportunities
The Alabama Humanities Foundation provides the SUPER Teacher program for 4th-12th grade public and private teachers, school librarians, and administrators.  Institute titles for 2012 are:
The deadline for receiving applications is May 18, 2012.  For application forms and additional information, click here.         


 About Us

 We tell the story of the people of Alabama by preserving records and artifacts of historical value and promoting a better understanding of Alabama history.


Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
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