Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thinking Like a Historian: Using Digital Newspapers in the Classroom

What is so great about digital newspapers?  Well these newspapers are historic - primary sources.  Yes I see the glimmer of light coming on.  The Common Core Standards are big on using primary sources.  Chronicling America http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ is a partnership between the Library of Congress and states to digitize historic newspapers.

I have been involved with creating a unit to use Montana newspapers that have been digitized.  You can work with the newspapers online, but I found that it is easier to print the newspapers for use in the classroom.  The lesson is available at the Montana Historical Society web-page http://mhs.mt.gov/

They have the lesson available as a pdf document http://mhs.mt.gov/education/ThinkingLessonPlan.pdf 

It is also available on the Library of Congress National Digital Newspaper program site under  educational extras  http://www.loc.gov/ndnp/extras/

Martha Kohl maintains the Montana History List serve http://mhs.mt.gov/education/subscribeMHHElistserv.asp       I recommend subscribing to this great list serve.  She sends out great resources for teachers and individuals interested in Montana history.  She also maintains a blog called -  Teaching Montana History  http://teachingmontanahistory.blogspot.com/

One of my favorite pieces of the Thinking Like a Historian lesson is the "Bingo" pages.  Students partner up each having a sheet of their own.  Looking at the newspaper they must look to find answers to questions in the blocks on the sheet.  Every 10 minutes the will move to a different newspaper and continue to work collecting information and discussing it with their partner.  These conversations are rich and provide valuable background when coming back together as a class and discussing their experience.

You can use Chronicling America to study the newspapers of other states.  I have to admit I am kind of biased towards the ones published here in Montana.  It is such a treasure of resources - may your search mining many golden nuggets.