Common Core standards have been adopted in Pennsylvania and 44 other states as well as three U.S. territories. This is great news for history teachers - and other teachers who love history. The standards include reading and writing standards especially for social studies and history. These standards stress student ability to interpret and use textual evidence from informational and non-fiction sources.
Recently I read two blogs in Education Weekly that discuss these standards and made me think about how important the primary sources we have at HSP could be for helping students master the desired literacy skills.
In the first blog, Catherine Gewertz provides a glimpse of what the new assessments for Common Core may look like. One of the examples is a constructed-response item for 11th graders that is based upon excerpts of an 1872 speech by Susan B. Anthony and a 1690 treatise by John Locke. Within a language arts lesson, documents from our Digital Library could be used for a similar exercises with content that matches a classroom's content needs.
In the other blog, Sara Mead discusses how language arts and history teachers can use historical fiction with the Common Core standards. Analysis of a work of fiction using evidence from primary sources will lead students to a more nuanced understanding of both the writing of fiction and realities of the past.
In fact, perhaps we at HSP could work on developing sources to go with some commonly used historical fiction. What do you think? Would you use this sort of help? And if so, for which books?