March 21, 2009

A Step Away from 1918-1919: A Lesson Plan Companion for the Blog

We believe, and hope that all of you reading this blog will agree, that history comes alive through a connection with primary sources. As a public institution, the material in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) in Swem Library is available to anyone wishing to use it who agrees to follow the rules established to preserve the material while still making it available to researchers. The public does not always realize that the collections in the SCRC are open to anyone and that includes pre-college students.

In an effort to share the primary sources highlighted in this blog as well as a slice of the history of the College of William and Mary, Molly Perry, a graduate student in the Department of History who has been an apprentice in the SCRC during the 2008-2009 academic year, has created a lesson plan suitable for use with grades 8-11. In the lesson, students can practice analyzing primary sources to learn about young women arriving at the College of William and Mary to better understand the lives of people in the past and the process of research. The lesson plan available via the SCRC's wiki includes an outline of the lesson, applicable U.S. and Virginia standards, and suggested instructions for how teachers may choose to carry out the lesson. Sample topics in six topical areas are available for groups of students from the historian's task wiki page. A research sheet and conclusions sheet have also been prepared.

While the SCRC cannot boast the resources for teachers that an institution as large as the Library of Congress has compiled, Ms. Perry has also prepared lesson plans for other online SCRC materials including the Richard Manning Bucktrout Daybook and Ledger and the Manuscripts and Rare Books Grab Bag. The SCRC hopes to make more lesson plans that incorporate the unique materials in our collections available for middle and high school teachers in the future. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us.

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