This week, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring TPS Teachers Network – a social network that strives to bring social studies and language arts teachers together in discussion about using primary sources in the classroom. Funded by the Library of Congress, TPS primarily acts as a professional learning forum where teachers, researchers, and educational professionals can come together to share ideas, provide feedback, and support one another in their use of primary sources.
Let me just say this now before I continue — if you are a social studies or language arts teacher, you need to connect with this network!
Explore Primary Sources
First of all, TPS is directly linked to the Library of Congress primary source repository, which not only grants access to thousands of primary sources, but connects teachers with lesson plans and analysis tools for students.
An additional digital library that TPS connected me with is America in Class from the National Humanities Center. This resource provides primary and secondary sources for classroom use, and a series of webinars for teachers that discuss strategies on how to use them.
Connect with Professionals Across the Country
The TPS Teachers Network is not only useful in the resources it offers. Through the TPS commons, I’ve become connected with teaching professionals across the country, and been able to take part in various discussions about trends in teaching.
For example, TPS Tech Talk is a group that discusses the use of digital learning tools, social media, and other forms of technology as a way for students to engage with primary sources. The forum links to educational news articles and teacher blogs to showcase the most recent advances in digital literacy. One link brought me to an article by Ingrid Lunden which introduced me to Kahoot! — an educational quiz app that is now being used by over 50% of students in the United States.
Follow TPS on Social Media
As I delved into the multitude of TPS resources and chats, I noted that many members’ posts were marked by a MNTR badge. Looking deeper into the site informed me that this symbol indicates a TPS Teachers Network Mentor status for users. Essentially users who sport this badge regularly contribute to posts and share ideas and resources on social media. I’ve found that the best means of learning from these mentors is by following them on twitter. The top mentors to look out for are: Mary Johnson, Kile Clabaugh, and Taylor Kendal.
And follow me on twitter! @Robo_Krop5767