During the 2020-2021 school year, the Michigan Council for the Social Studies partnered with The Library of Congress on a Teaching with Primary Sources Midwest grant, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the project leaders. We thank the many teachers who created the the inquiry-driven units that are in alignment with the C3 Framework and make use of primary sources in critical and creative ways.
With a shift towards disciplinary, digital, and critical literacies, we find that historical documents and artifacts — as well as images, social media posts, and videos created with contemporary technologies — all serve as primary sources. The Digitally Writing New Histories project was designed with principles of best practice for professional learning in that it is timely, inquiry-based, connected to relevant curricular reforms. We invited 20 Michigan educators to engage in the kinds of practices that we would, in turn, expect them to enact in their own classrooms.
This professional learning experience took place entirely online during evening sessions, through Zoom video conferencing, throughout the entire 2020-21 academic year. In addition to the countless number of digitized artifacts available through the Library of Congress website, we invited teachers to examine artifacts through virtual visits to local museums and learn how to use digital writing tools. Moreover, we were able to virtually visit with many Michigan-based museums, including:
- Arab American National Museum
- The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
- Detroit Historical Museum
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- Hartwick Pines Logging Museum
- Holocaust Memorial Center
- Michigan History Center
We again thank the teachers who worked on this project throughout the entire year, and for their efforts in producing these units.
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