Primary Sources for Historical Learning: Uncovering the Early 20th Century


Springfield MA Public Schools - TAH Summer Institute, July 9-13, 2012 and June 24-28, 2013


This site contains resource pages for each of our mini-sessions, organized roughly by decade. The goal is to help inspire you to use "uncoverage" rather than "coverage" to help students understand American culture from 1900-1950. Our workshops and explorations are oriented around inquiry, problem-solving, historical reading, and strengthening the skills of historical thinking, and will model how to enrich history learning through deep engagement with multimedia primary sources like photographs, film, popular songs, radio broadcasts, art, journalism, and unpublished archival manuscripts.

"Primary sources do not speak for themselves—they have to be interpreted. You do not just simply read about the past, you must investigate the past by asking questions." --WHS (see below)

Additional Resources and Reading

Thomas Andrews and Flannery Burke, "What Does it Mean to Think Historically?" AHA Perspectives January 2007
Lendol Calder, Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the History Survey, Journal of American History, March 2006.
Bruce A. Lesh, "Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?" Teaching Historical Thinking in Grades 7-12 (Stenhouse Publishers, 2011)
Nikki Mandell and Bobbie Malone, Thinking Like a Historian: Rethinking History Instruction, A Framework to Enhance and Improve Teaching and Learning (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2007)
Sam Wineburg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past (Temple University Press, 2001).
Sam Wineburg, Daisy Martin and Chauncy Monte-Sano, Reading Like a Historian: Teaching Literacy in Middle and High School History Classrooms (Teachers College Press, 2011)
Roundtable: "What Do the Common Core State Standards Mean for History Teaching and Learning?" TeachingHistory.org, October 2012
Wisconsin Historical Society "How to Read Primary Sources" - includes helpful advice about material considered offensive today - also the big color chart "What Questions Do We Ask of the Past? Thinking Like a Historian"
TeachingHistory.org - online resources and newsletter from the National History Education Clearinghouse (NHEC)
Library of Congress - Primary Source Tool (PDF version) - new in July 2012, they have launched an interactive online version
OAH Magazine of History - lots of lesson plans, discussions of how to teach topics/themes (each issue is organized around a common theme)
Teaching the JAH (Journal of American History) - using recent history scholarship articles in US History classrooms


Thanks for inviting me to be part of your summer!

--Tona Hangen, Worcester State University