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TPS EIU Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Teaching with Primary Sources EIU Celebrates a Milestone

January 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources at Eastern Illinois University (TPS EIU). For the past decade, TPS EIU has strived to create a culture of teaching with primary sources in east central Illinois K-12 schools. TPS EIU is a program that provides educators with access to original materials in the digital archives at the Library of Congress which help them engage learners. EIU is one of 28 Library of Congress TPS Educational Consortium members from 17 states.

TPS EIU offers professional development at regional K-12 schools through presentations and workshops to support educators in their use of primary sources to engage their students in critical thinking. According to the Library of Congress, “The term ‘primary sources’ refers to the original, raw materials of history created by authors, artists and observers of their age and preserved in the vast – and not digitized – archives of the Library of Congress.” These original documents are undisturbed by interpretations, opinions and analysis.

Regardless of subject, grade or specialty, primary sources can be used by all educators. “Teachers are busy and want professional development that is both relevant and useful. Luckily, the Library of Congress offers over 39 million digitized resources so there is something related to most any topic you can think of,” said Dr. Cindy Rich, Project Director of TPS EIU.

Lesson plans created using the digitized resources are tools for teachers, and they are adaptable to a teacher’s objectives. “Workshops held at schools are created based upon conversations with a school representative discussing their needs and how Library of Congress educational resources and Teaching with Primary Sources can support teaching and learning goals,” said Rich. Connections with local schools are made stronger through these interactions, and communication is fostered between EIU and local educators, especially EIU alumni. “TPS helps remind them that EIU continues to be there for them even after they leave campus,” said Rich.