Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Primary Source Questions Online Course

When studying primary sources, questions can act as both a magnifying glass and a telescope: They help us to see more clearly what is in front of us and then inspire us to look beyond. Learning how to ask questions is an essential skill that can transform the way students approach primary source learning. Join us for Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Primary Source Questions: a new, free online course made possible by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program

  • Dates: June 7-July 6, 2022
  • Registration deadline: June 1

Registration is now open


Learn how to combine the Question Formulation Technique with Library of Congress primary sources to drive student-centered, inquiry-based primary source learning. Participants walk away with a peer reviewed lesson plan, a new community of educators, and pathways to extend their learning.

  • Audience: K-12 educators and instructional leaders who hope to use primary sources in their work
  • Commitment: This online course runs for four weeks and requires approximately three to four hours of work per week (12-16 hours total). Coursework includes weekly readings, videos, active practice, and discussion board posts, and concludes with writing and submitting an original lesson plan. While there are no required live (synchronous) elements, this course is paced; a new session opens each week to enhance active peer-to-peer discussion and collaboration. Participants who complete course requirements will receive a certificate of completion for 12 clock hours.

Course schedule

Orientation & Session 1: June 7-June 14

Examine the connection between questioning, agency, and more equitable, democratic participation and learn the Question Formulation Technique (QFT).

Session 2: June 14-June 21

  • Define a primary source, reflect on the role of primary sources in your classroom, and explore QFT-primary source lesson plans created and implemented by classroom teachers around the US and Canada.

Session 3: June 21-June 28

  • Practice navigating the Library of Congress collection, learn how to design, assess, and revise an effective primary source Question Focus (QFocus), and begin building your own QFT-primary source lesson plan.

Session 4: June 28-July 6 (plus a seven-day grace period)

  • Explore ways to integrate student questions into the next instructional steps and learn additional tailoring strategies to customize the QFT for your students.

Registration is now open

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