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How to Use Digitial Historic Newspapers in the Common Core Classroom

joe_phelan Posted by joe_phelan in ISTE Conference 2013 on Jun 19, 2013 12:18:24 PM

Staff from EDSITEment, Joe Phelan, and Kelly Granito, will be demonstrating how to use the free historic newspaper database, Chronicing America, to find primary sources for Common Core classrooms.

Wednesday, 6/26/2013,  8:30am–9:30am, SACC 005


Purpose & Objectives

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to the historic digital newspaper database, Chronicling America, and to offer them the information necessary to employ a wide array of teaching techniques. Participants in this workshop will be able to work the digital newspaper repository into well-crafted lesson plans and activities at the instructional, guided practice, and assessment phases, and will thus be able to build in students' 21st century skills as outlined by the Common Core State Standards (particularly evidence-based reasoning, close reading, critical analysis and argument evaluation).



  • Leveraging Chronicling America as a Classroom Source:  (10 minutes)
    Presenters and group members introduce themselves and presenters direct group to the EDSITEment Chronicling America mini-site, give a brief history of Chronicling America features, and view part of short introductory video, “What is Chronicling America?”
  • Searching Historic Digital Newspaper Sources: (10 minutes)
    Presenters will direct group to navigate to the Chronicling America digital newspaper search page of over 5 million pages of digital newspapers where they will outline “Tips and Techniques” for browsing and searching and highlight special challenges presented by searching historic primary source content, particularly historical vocabulary differences.
  • Common Core Standards and Chronicling America (10 minutes)

Presenters unpack Common Core Standards for ELA, specifically, working with careful reading and critical analysis of primary sources, and illustrate the opportunities Chronicling America represents for gathering and evaluating information, document analysis, comparison and contrast, and critical thinking.

Researching and Constructing a Classroom Activity with Chronicling America (20 minutes, respectively)
Led by presenters, the group will search a predefined topic from Chronicling America and locate, clip, download, and save the articles each deems relevant.

Facilitated by the presenters, the group will develop a targeted activity that aligns with CCSS and is based on their chosen articles using downloaded images and word processing software.

Reflections on Utilizing Chronicling America to meet the CCSS (10 minutes)
Group discussion and feedback of issues with Common Core and Chronicling America


Supporting Research

The National Digital Newspaper Project, created through a partnership of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress is a unique, free resource that gathers the nation's regional newspapers from 1836-1922 (searchable from 1690-present) in searchable and downloadable database form and offers a comprehensive look at America in history.


Presenter Background

Dr. Joseph Phelan is the history and social studies specialist with the National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment website and is responsible for the site's award-winning history and social studies content. He is also an Assistant Professor of History and Government, University of Maryland University College. Dr. Phelan has helped conduct NEH focus groups with teachers on the use of Chronicling America in the classroom, presented on Chronicling America at history and social studies conventions and has presented to Chronicling America grantees (those responsible for the database) on in Chronicling America in the classroom. He has been instrumental in the formulation of NEH's Chronicling America National History Day awards for 2013 and 2014.


Kelly Granito is a candidate for the M.A. in American Studies at George Washington University and holds a B.A. in Secondary Education (a field in which she has taught for four years), from Western Michigan University. As an NEH intern working on the EDSITEment website, Kelly has helped to spearhead the CCSS history initiative, which includes optimizing Chronicling America resources in the classroom for EDSITEment