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Library of Congress TPS

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Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS)

Library of Congress TPS Consortium Member

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program at the Collaborative for Educational Services offers free or low cost workshops and support to K-12 teachers throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and nationally via online courses. Workshop participants learn to work with and practice strategies for using Library of Congress online resources to engage students, teach inquiry through the use of primary sources, and help students achieve challenging literacy standards. We are pleased to work in partnership with UMass Amherst Department of History, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Boston Public Schools.

Screen Shot of Video showcasing Teacher Resources at Library of CongressThe Library of Congress offers millions of digitized primary sources that can provide deeply powerful encounters with the past for students at all grade levels and abilities. To view a 3.5 minute video showcasing the wide range of resources available free, online from the Library of Congress click here.

Mission of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program

  • Build awareness of the Library’s educational initiatives
  • Provide content that promotes the effective educational use of the Library’s resources
  • Offer access to and promote sustained use of the Library’s educational resources


The Library achieves this mission through collaborations between the Library and the K-12 educational community across the United States. The program contributes to the quality of education by helping teachers use the Library’s digitized primary sources to engage students, develop their critical thinking skills and construct knowledge. Learn more about the Library’s TPS program and resources available to teachers at

Screenshot of Professional Development videos on Library of Congress website

Professional Development Videos and Modules

Gain an introduction to the many resources of the Library of Congress through these online professional development modules. Library of Congress Eastern Region at Waynesburg University

The Library of Congress offers a wealth of professional development videos for educators on topics ranging from working with maps to using inquiry in the classroom. For further information visit the Library of Congress professional development videos page.


TPS Teachers Network Logo

Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Teachers Network

Teachers with experience working with primary sources are welcome to join this network. Create a password and profile, then explore resources, discuss issues, and enjoy! To read testimonials or watch an overview video of the network's offerings visit the site. Included within the network are a variety of groups, including three groups facilitated by Rich Cairn, Emerging America Director:

  • Disability History
  • Teaching English Language Learners
  • Culturally Relevant Pedagogy

1915 political cartoon. Wall labeled "Literacy Test" stands between family of immigrants and Uncle Sam.

Accessing Inquiry for ALL Learners through Primary Sources

Register for TPS Courses and Workshops

  • Support development of accessible, primary source-focused curriculum for ALL Learners
  • Apply Universal Design for Learner and brain-based research
  • Gain and apply practical classroom strategies
  • Integrate Disability History/History of Immigration and foreign language communities through common topics: war, citizenship, employment, civil rights, and struggles for equality
  • Earn graduate credit for courses with specific content to support instruction for:
    • English Learners
    • Students with Disabilities

TPS workshops are offered at three levels:

Introductory Workshops

Participants in Level 1 Introductory workshops learn:

  • What are primary sources;
  • Why teach with primary sources; and
  • How to teach with primary sources.

Advanced Workshops- Lesson Study

Participants in Level 2 Advanced-Lesson Study workshops learn to evaluate, create and teach topic-specific, content-informed lessons that integrate primary sources from the Library of Congress and exemplify effective instructional practices.

 Use Library of Congress teacher resources such as the Primary Source Analysis Tool to help students learn through inquiry.


  • Gain a thorough understanding of effective instructional practices with emphases on inquiry-based and student-centered learning using primary sources
  • Learn to identify exemplary inquiry-based learning experiences
  • Create standards-based, content-informed learning experiences integrating primary sources from the Library of Congress that exemplify effective instructional practice
  • Teach, assess and reflect on their experiences using primary sources in instruction
  • Evaluate primary source-based learning experiences
  • Investigate the effects of primary source-based instruction on student learning


“Training of Trainers”

Select teacher-leaders gain professional development skills and tools to lead workshops in your district and enter the pool of Emerging TPS trainers

Photo of teachers at a session, smiling

Teaching with Primary Sources at CES: FAQs

In 2010, Emerging America was selected to become part of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Program. Using the millions of primary sources available digitally on the Library’s website, TPS workshops help teachers use primary sources to teach the inquiry and critical thinking skills that are central to state and national Social Studies, Science, and English Language Arts.

How much do workshops cost?

Workshops of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Program at the Collaborative for Educational Services are free or low cost to K-12 teachers.

Who can participate?

TPS workshops are open to K-12 teachers throughout Massachusetts and nationally through online courses, and though local partners. We encourage participation of elementary teachers, as well as middle and high school teachers of all subjects. We welcome and offer workshops specifically for school librarians, technology teachers, and school administrators.

Can I get PDPs or graduate credits for attending these workshops?

Yes. PDPs are offered for completing the workshop and one or more written assignments. Most workshops are available for graduate credit through Westfield State University (History). There is a fee to register those credits. 

What extra work must I complete to earn graduate credit?

Assignments are identical whether you take the course for PDPs or graduate credit.

Peter Carroll at a table with Teachers, in discussion

What are the required assignments? Do I have to use primary sources from the Library of Congress?

In order to earn PDPs, graduate credit, and/or incentives for any Emerging America workshop, participants must complete a lesson plan or other teaching design using primary sources from the Library of Congress. Of course, teachers may also include appropriate primary sources from other sources.

What form do I use to create my lesson?

We provide a template digitally (preferred) and in hard copy. Ask your instructor if you prefer to use your district or other template.

How do I sign up?

To register for workshops or courses, go to the Collaborative’s Emerging America History and Social Studies Upcoming Events web page. Register online. If necessary, you can usually download and print a registration form. If a course is listed as full, and you wish to get on the waiting list, then you must use the print registration form. Graduate credit registration is typically required on the first day of class. 

2015 August NEH Group by Sojourner Truth Statue

What should I bring to the workshop?

Bring a laptop, iPad, or other device. All workshops require written work. Bring the necessary passwords and usernames to access your email and Google Apps. (A Gmail or school Google-based account tends to work best.) Wear comfortable clothes. Bring a sweater in case it gets chilly, even in summer.

Will you come to my district?

Yes! Absolutely. We are always eager to set up in-district training. Depending on the scope, subject, and other factors, we may require fees–or not. Please ask. We may ask if we can open enrollment to teachers from other districts.

Upcoming Workshops

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