With school starting this week in towns and cities across the country, teachers everywhere are looking to build on lesson plans and curricula that meet new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). According to Scholastic.com, the CCSS “call for fewer but more rigorous standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics to provide students with the skills and knowledge they will need for college and career readiness.” While many teachers expect some degree of uncertainty with the standards that have gone into effect country-wide in the past few years, a number of resources are available to support implementation of these standards in the classroom, most notably the CCSS’ appendices of useful textual exemplars. Since any text can be used so long as it meets the CCSS’ standards, we hope that educators make use of the incredible primary and secondary resources available through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
But, first of all, what is the DPLA? The DPLA, launched in April 2013, provides free and easy access to millions of primary source materials ranging from historical texts and unique images depicting small-town America, to iconic portraits of US Presidents and art from centuries past. Users can search or browse using an interactive timeline, with views into specific years or decades, and an intuitive map that allows localized windows into our shared cultural heritage. Not to mention, users can save interesting finds in lists that they can share with friends, classmates, or teachers. The DPLA also provides specially curated exhibitions on topics of national interest and historic relevance, including Activism in the US, European immigration, and FDR’s New Deal, among many others.
So what does the DPLA have in the way of useful materials that may supplement your CCSS lesson plans? Here’s just a sampling of the wide assortment of texts available through the DPLA that align with many topics and themes featured in classrooms across the country. These include primary and secondary resources on a variety of topics:
- American Indians
- Coral reefs
- Letters (and more) from the Civil War
- Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech and video news clips of King and the Civil Rights Movement
- National Parks
- Personal diaries dating from 1830 to the 1960s
- Select speeches by Abraham Lincoln
- The American Revolution
- The Declaration of Independence
- History of science
- The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution
- World War I (“The Great War”)
Find any relevant resources in the DPLA to supplement your coursework? Have any other plans to use the DPLA in the classroom this year? Let us know in the comments below, or start a new thread over in our forums.