The ART of TEACHING with Primary Sources

The Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING has incorporated Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) into its core professional development. As a member of the Library of Congress TPS Consortium, Cotsen and its partner, UCLA Lab School, are investigating the use of primary sources in the context of inquiry teaching and learning particularly in elementary schools.

We explore the use of primary sources across the curriculum to launch student investigations, to provide content knowledge, and for students to share their questions and understandings in presentations and project work.

Cotsen Mentors and fellows visit UCLA Lab School to investigate how they might use some of the tenets of inquiry to encourage curiosity, conversations, critical thinking and questioning in their classrooms. Teachers observe in lab school classrooms and learn to identify primary sources that enhance their curriculum and provide their students with meaningful learning experiences.

We are developing strategies for on-going communication and support networks, including the Cotsen/UCLA Lab School TPS Inquiry Group in the TPS Teachers Network.We are also building on-going relationships with Cotsen Mentors so that they can provide their Cotsen Fellows with continuing support in the use of inquiry and primary sources.

UCLA Lab School

Part of UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, UCLA Lab School is an innovative school for children ages 4-12. We encourage children’s natural love of learning while also helping them develop a disciplined approach to their work. At the same time, our classrooms and meeting spaces serve as a laboratory for exploring innovative ideas about teaching, learning, and child development. We share the results of our studies through collaborations with educators from other schools, through conferences, workshops and site visits, and in print publications and other media. Through this mix of strategies, UCLA Lab School teaching practices and research outcomes have been widely shared with schools across the globe.

Library of Congress

Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) is the Library of Congress’ premier educational program, focused on helping educators enhance students’ critical thinking and analysis skills and content knowledge using the Library’s collections of millions of digitized primary sources.

The TPS program seeks to:

  • Provide online and in-person primary source-based professional development programs nationwide;
  • Enhance the ability of educators to design student-centered primary source-based learning experiences that use effective instructional practices;
  • Increase standards-based learning experiences that improve student ability to critically analyze primary sources; and
  • Build patronage of the Library’s digitized resources to expand the community of educators dedicated to the improvement of education through the use of primary sources
To join the Cotsen/UCLA Lab School TPS Inquiry Group