Exploring Untold Stories: Analyzing Family Primary Sources (Upcoming Event!)

 This post was written by Contributing Author Madeline Ruggiero, Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College.

  This workshop takes a granular look at a portion of  a book chapter written by the speaker Madeline Rugiero entitled, “Untold Stories: An Introduction to Primary Sources,” to be released later this year in the book, The Community College Library Reference and Instruction, . This session focuses on a student centered assignment created to motivate and engage students to be active learners. Students are asked to locate and analyze family primary sources such as a document, letter, artifact, photo, or oral history/ interview.  

      Students form groups of three in an information literacy class and interact with the National Archives online worksheet on how to analyze primary sources. Groups formulate dialogues as they answer the worksheet questions and examine and discuss their materials. This worksheet activity is harnessed to enhance learning by widening students’ perspectives as they engage with their family sources. Group conversations and interactions with other students are encouraged for new ways of viewing and questioning their original materials and to promote collaboration.   

     To help teach students to understand historical thinking Madeline created a guide which provides students with open source information on how to analyze a story and verify historical events. This guide called “Queens History as World History,” contains links to information that reflect the different cultures within our diverse student body.   

      Participants will be placed into breakout rooms for ten minutes where they will discuss how to integrate primary sources to engage students. The National Archives worksheet and Queens guide will be used as a catalyst for ideas. By connecting students to valuable content that engages them in the learning process, instructors can create an assignment that allows students to make informed connections with history and/or their own lives.  

Queens History As World History  


Apply Historical Thinking Principles to Researching Family and Neighborhood Cultural Histories  

This guide is developed to allow students to be discerning users of and contributors to digital archives. Links are created to a combination of freely available globally and culturally relevant digital collections. These sources can be used as a catalyst to create assignments that encourage students to critically engage with digital archival materials, both as users and possible contributors. 

Madeline Ruggiero is an Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College. She has a Masters degree in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook and a Masters of Library Science degree from Pratt Institute. She is a first generation Italian American college graduate.  

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