Image that include logos for Philadelphia Writing Project and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium, which PhilWP is a member of. Logos are flanked by cropped photo of mural, lithograph of Octavius Catto, and publication of National Woman Suffrage Association. Sources for images listed at bottom of page.

Teaching with Primary Sources Webinar Series

PhilWP + TPS

For the past three years (2018-2020), Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) teacher consultants have integrated sources and strategies from the Library of Congress's Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program into our Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) on Writing and Literacy. This year, we also sponsored an Advanced Institute on Writing, Learning, and Leading to expand our leadership capacity around teaching with primary sources. Our work was supported by TPS Eastern Region grants.

During the 2020-21 school year, PhilWP teacher consultants (TCs) who participated in an ISI and/or Advanced Institute are designing and facilitating webinars for a wider teacher audience. We are broadly interested in writing, inquiry, reflection, and justice-oriented action in our classrooms and communities. Our goal for the webinar series is to deepen and document our knowledge base (including our questions!) related to teaching with primary sources.

Our Beliefs About Teaching with Primary Sources

  • Members of communities create and share texts across generations for a range of purposes and audiences. In school, we should explore with students how, why, and when those texts were created and also contribute our own texts to what is an ongoing conversation.

  • Reading and rewriting texts (“the word”) is bound up with “reading the world” (Freire, 1983). In school, we should learn alongside students to critically examine and remake our communities as agentive participants.

  • Digital technologies have opened up opportunities to explore texts from our past that otherwise would have only been available in libraries and archives. In school, we should position students as constructors of knowledge who can learn with these texts as they construct knowledge and engage in inquiries.

  • Collecting, curating, and digitizing the texts available to us was likely shaped by settler colonialism, racism, sexism, and ableism and may not fully represent the range of experiences of members of our communities and their ancestors. In school, we should ensure that students engage with texts created by all of our ancestors (particularly Black, Indigenous, and people of color), texts that show the full range of humanity, including in resistance, joy, and self-determination.

  • Young people are already actively participating in ongoing, intergenerational dialogue through which they remember, reestablish, and reimagine what makes communities just and joyful. In school, we should recognize students' experiences, expertise, and agency outside of school.

Primary Sources Used in Promotional Materials

All of the digitized images used to promote this webinar series are available through the Library of Congress.

Octavius V. Catto: photographed by Messrs. Broadbent & Phillips, Philadelphia ; S. Fox. [c1871].
A map of Philadelphia and parts adjacent. [1753].
This "History of Chinatown" mural, by four artists "Arturo Ho, Giz, N. Phung, and H. Tran" covers a building wall on the upper edge of the Chinatown neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rioters stoning a trolley car, Philadelphia. [1910].
Destruction by fire of Pennsylvania Hall, the new building of the Abolition Society, on the night of the 17th May. [1838].
Portrait of Marian Anderson. [1940].
"Mother" Jones and her army of striking textile workers starting out for their descent on New York The textile workers of Philadelphia say they intend to show the people of the country their condition by marching through all the important cities / / Peirce & Jones, photographers, 906 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. [1903].
Declaration and protest of the women of the United States by the National woman suffrage association. July 4th, 1876.
Philadelphia Writing Project logo, with outline of downtown Philadelphia skyline
National Writing Project logo with squiggly "W"
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education logo with shield
Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium Member logo