Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup


History/Social Studies

Big Ideas in Literacy

Selecting Sources

Since teachers are most often provided with only a textbook, the task of trying to select sources is typically very challenging. Therefore, the first practical hurdle to designing class investigations is usually identifying sources that can be used. While Unit 8 will offer specific resources and guidelines for doing this, following are some considerations for choosing appropriate sources for students.

Regardless of how many sources (and what kind of sources) are used in a class investigation, they should do the following:

  • Represent a range of author perspectives
  • Offer ideas and information that help students answer the essential question of the investigation
  • Include information that helps students consider how reliable the source is, and
  • Match a range of student reading levels as best possible.

Reflect: Think about the texts you use in your courses. How do they reflect the reading levels of your students? How do they reflect the above considerations? What changes in text selection might you make to address these criteria?

Explore: Check out the sources used in this Rosa Parks Inquiry of the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955–1956. 

Reflect: What different perspectives do you notice in these sources? In what ways might the different sources help students think about the essential question that has been presented? What in these sources helps students answer the essential question? What do you notice about the way these sources are cited?