Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Website Review: Teacher's Guides for Using Primary Sources

TEACHER’S GUIDES FOR USING PRIMARY SOURCES from the Library of Congress are an engaging way to help learners analyze historical documents and other materials.
Ten guides are currently available for analyzing primary sources including motion pictures, political cartoons, books and other printed text, newspapers, sheet music and song sheets, manuscripts, oral histories, sound recordings, maps, and photographs and prints. A general guide to primary sources is also available.
Each one-page guide encourages students to observe, reflect, and question. In addition, ideas are provided for further investigation.
A Primary Source Analysis Tool is also available. This online tool allows students to enter notes that can be downloaded, printed, and/or emailed.
Librarians will find these one-page handouts and easy-to-use tools to be useful when addressing standards related to the analysis of primary source documents and informational reading.
While many teachers are familiar with these tools, the Analyzing Newspapers guide is new. Use this guide with the Chronicling America collection available at
To explore these Teacher’s Guides, go to

Book Review: Animal Planet Animals: A Visual Encyclopedia

ANIMAL PLANET ANIMALS: A VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA provides a visually stunning look at animals from around the world.
After an introduction and table of contents, the book describes how to use the book. This page should be helpful for young readers who might easily be overwhelmed by the size and scope of the text.
The reference book is organized by animal kingdom. After an overview that explores general information about animals, chapters examine mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, and other invertebrates. Within each category, a few pages introduce the animal type followed by an examination of small groups of animals and close-ups featuring specific examples. For instance, a two-page spread on bears is followed by a close-up examination of the Giant Panda. The book concludes with a glossary, a couple pages about traits humans share with other creatures, and an index.
While the book is logically organized and would be particularly useful to children working on projects related to specific animal kingdoms, it might be overwhelming for youth accustomed to an encyclopedia organized in alphabetical order. The book’s consistent presentation of feature elements such as animal facts and feeding habit make the book easy to digest.
The visual layout of the book includes color coded chapters with endless high-quality photos that will appeal to readers who enjoy browsing animal books. However, the hundreds of information-rich pages may be overwhelming for student researchers seeking specific facts for class projects.
With more than 2500 animals and over 1000 photographs, librarians will find this amazing reference book to be popular across grade levels.
Published by Liberty Street/ Time Inc. Books on September 22, 2015. Review copy courtesy of the publisher.