TPS in Action at EIU


TPS in Action is a collaborative project designed to support current K-12 teachers as they develop a culture of teaching with primary sources within their school.  The goal is an educational community in which primary sources are an embedded part of curriculum and not a “special project” or one time occurrence.  It is the belief of TPS EIU that as educators regularly use and become comfortable with incorporating primary sources into the classroom, they model these practices and share their success with peers. As a teacher makes primary sources a regular tool in the classroom, they look to the Library of Congress website for additional resources and encourage colleagues to do the same.  Consequently, students benefit from an ever expanding range of resources available to educators to meet diverse student needs.  Materials will be shared on the TPS EIU website and shared with the national Teaching with Primary Sources consortium.


A team of 5 to 7 educators with a common interest (grade level, discipline, building, etc.) create and implement effective, inquiry based classroom activities incorporating Library of Congress digitized primary sources.  Each teacher will create one unique activity to be implemented in the classroom and then provide reflection on the teaching and learning process.  Information about incentives is available by contacting Dr. Rich at

Commitment to a project plan spanning 8-12 week with all dates finalized prior to first meeting.  (Meetings will be held on the school site at times most convenient to participating teachers.)

- A team must consist of five to seven current K-12 teachers with a common attribute.
- Each teacher must attend all sessions and meetings.
- Each teacher will create, submit, implement and reflect upon one unique activity that incorporates Library of Congress primary sources.
- All requirements must be completed within the predetermined timeframe. 
- This project involves a commitment for independent work beyond the scheduled meetings to develop, implement and reflect on the learning activity.

Each member of the team that attends all meetings and satisfactorily completes all requirements will be awarded a stipend in acknowledgment of their time, effort and support of teaching with primary sources.

Schedules must include a minimum of 8 weeks and maximum of 12 weeks to allow authentic application of primary source into curriculum. 

Refer to your curriculum plans/calendar  when considering a schedule - what are you teaching and where will primary sources enhance student learning? 

The following sessions are required and must be attended by all particpants.  All dates must be established before the first meeting. 

1) INTRODUCTION AND TRAINING (Meeting One, Week 1)  Minimum 3 hours with more time required for "newbies" to - All team members attend a workshop covering: the Library of Congress website and resources, benefits of teaching with primary sources, and expectations, requirements and development of activities that fit into curriculum during the coming months.  Activity topics will be decided upon prior to leaving this session.

2) PLANNING THE ACTION (Meeting Two, Week 3 or 4) Minimum 2 hours - All teachers meet to share and discuss completed activity plans and demonstrate activities.  At this time dates of implementation will be submitted. 

TEACHING WITH PRIMARY SOURCES IN PRACTICE (Independent Work, Weeks 4 – 11) Individual teachers are responsible for implementation of both activities and completion of reflection sheets.

3) MID-PROJECT UPDATES (Meeting Three, around Week 6) Minimum 1 hour – informal mid-project updates.  All participating teachers meet to discuss progress, success and complications or concerns.             

4) FINAL MEETING AND REFLECTION (Meeting Four, Final Week) Minimum 1 hour – Submission of final activity drafts and reflections and discussion.


>> Speak with colleagues who teach similar grade levels, content areas, building level or are part of a cohesive group and ask if they would like to collaborate.  This will be an opportunity to work together, discuss curriculum objectives and opportunities for future collaboration. 

>> Gather a group of 5-7 interested teachers.  Identify a concept, themes or activities based on individual classroom needs.  This may be as broad (such as our community) or specific (Abraham Lincoln) as the team decides.

>> Share how each educator is currently teaching with primary sources, any previous Teaching with Primary Sources professional development experience and individual levels of familiarity with the Library of Congress website.

>> Discuss possible schedules and ability to meet after school or during planning periods as a team with EIU TPS staff.  Required meetings are outlined above.

Everyone is excited and we want to participate!    Now what?               

Submit the following information for consideration.  We will contact the Team Coordinator for further discussion.  
-fax to the attention of Dr. Rich at (217)581-2518
-mail to Dr. Cindy Rich, TPS CEPS, EIU, 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920

#1     Team School(s) and address 
#2     What makes your group a team?  (The common attribute that allows you to collaborate and support one another as you teach with primary sources.)
#3     Team philosophy in regards to teaching with primary sources.
#4     Other points or comments for consideration by TPS EIU.
#5     Name and title of supportive administrator.

Identify one person as the Team Coordinator (key contact person between the group and TPS EIU)

Please provide all information for each person individually.
#1    Name and contact information
#2    Teaching Assignment
#3    Prior Teaching with Primary Sources or Library of Congress experience.
#4    Two ideas for activities (can be revised) Ex.When I teach ____ I would like to incorporate ____(primary source)...

#1     Consider topics and material within your curriculum that supports teaching with primary sources. 
#2     Check the school calendar for breaks and holidays that would impact implementation.
Submit a general 8 – 12+ week period in which your team will be able to genuinely and effectively complete TPS EIU in Action activities if you are selected. 

Please contact us at, 217-581-7857 or


Eastern logo

Contact Information

Teaching with Primary Sources
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920

Director: Cindy Rich, Ph.D.  



TPS EIU Calendar



Analysis Tools
(pdf or doc)

Support Materials 2013

Quick Start