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DPLA Primary Source Sets

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-4-20-43-pmJust in time for instructional planning, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) reminds us that their 100 Primary Source Sets were designed  to help students develop critical thinking skills by exploring topics in history, literature, and culture.

If you work with middle or high school learners, you’re going to love these sets created by the teachers from the DPLA’s Education Advisory Committee

Curating digital materials from libraries, archives and museums across the country with topic overviews and teaching guides, these sets present valuable teacher tools.  The sets are searchable by subject, time period and how recently they were added to the collection.

Sure, your US and World History teachers will love these sets and you’ll find resources to support studies of social movements, ethic groups and minorities and law and government.  But DPLA’s Primary Source Sets make even deeper interdisciplinary connections.

In addition to the sets directly relating to theme or time period are primary source sets connected to popularly studied literary titles, like Sherman Alexie’s 2007 award-winning, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  Indiana high school teacher Susan Ketcham’s primary source set includes two short, but poignant excerpted interviews with Alexie discussing his Spokane roots, as well as photographs, paintings, documents and this Teaching Guide: Exploring The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The literary connected primary source sets also include:

While art is integrated throughout the primary source sets, your art and music colleagues may be particularly interested these sets and their connections to history and culture:

And there’s something for your science friends as well. These sets allow learners to explore the social impacts of medical and technological challenges and innovations:

As its back to school announcement notes, we may no longer need to specifically remember and individually visit every single primary source silo we love. DPLA is working to share its bounty–to allow it to sit beside and be discovered among other worthy OER content on such large portals as PBS LearningMedia, OER CommonsAmazon Inspire and the Learning Registry’s Open Node.

You may also be interested in DPLA’s impressive selection of apps and its openebooks project (a collaboration with First BookNYPL  and Baker & Taylor), free for children from in-need households.

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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