Education News for September 2020

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

This primary source represents a photo of a hand-colored lantern slide of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, produced by Edward Van Altena.  Lantern slides operate as a transparent slide projected onto a surface, allowing the photographs to be seen by small groups and larger audiences. 
This source meets the 4.06 and 8.18 Tennessee social studies standards.  For more primary sources representing this era of history, be sure to visit our website.

Digital Breakout - 5th Grade

The Tennessee State Library and Archives created a series of digital breakouts for classrooms utilizing primary sources from our collection. In this month's featured digital breakout, you will investigate various primary sources that explore the American Civil War in Tennessee. Click on the image above for the elementary (K-5) breakout and the image below for the middle/high school breakout. To explore additional breakouts, visit our Primary Sources page, click on the era you are teaching, and look for the blue box in the upper right hand corner. Be on the lookout for more breakouts in the upcoming weeks!  Contact with questions or comments. 

Transcription Project

As many teachers know, historic handwriting can be difficult to read. When the quarantine period began back in March, a team from the Tennessee State Library and Archives took the opportunity to start transcribing historic documents from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries featured in our education collection in the Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA)
Since March, Library & Archives staff members transcribed nearly 175 documents! In the coming weeks, our Digital Work group will be working to upload all of those transcribed documents to TeVA. To find the transcription for a handwritten document, scroll to the object information located below the digitized image and look for the phrase "Transcription Link".  To see an example of this team's work, check out this letter from John Coffee to his wife Mary on January 20, 1815, about the Battle of New Orleans.

2020 Student Mock Election

The Secretary of State's office is conducting a Student Mock Election this fall for the Presidential Election. This office is also running the annual Civics Essay Contest, where students can earn scholarship money. Eligible students aged sixteen and older can work as a Poll Official in their county on Election Day and then submit an essay on their experience and the importance of performing our civic duty.
Please go to the website, Student Civic Engagement Resources, to find lesson plans and activities as well as information on how to sign up to participate in the Student Mock Election 2020.
If you have any questions regarding the Student Mock Election or essay contest, please contact Brad Parker at (615) 532-0824 or

Tennessee Electronic Library

The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) is a hidden gem - providing access to World Book encyclopedias, scholarly journals, the archives to the Tennessean and so much more!
Are you curious about your family's past, interested in where you came from, or looking to see how the U.S. Census questions changed over time? HeritageQuest, our featured TEL resource of the month, houses a collection of genealogical and historical sources, with coverage dating back to the 1700s.  You can also search U.S. Census records, full-text family and local history books, Freedman's Bank records and more.  Find HeritageQuest under the Genealogy resources.

Discover Tennessee History

Discover Tennessee History is excited to launch a webinar series for the 2020-2021 school year.  On the second Tuesday of each month, one of the Discover Tennessee partner organizations will offer a one-hour session exploring a Tennessee history topic. It will include related primary sources and educational resources your students can use.  The first webinar is on September 8!  To see a list of upcoming sessions, visit our website.  There is no cost to participate in this webinar series, but you must register for each webinar individually.

2020 United States Census

This primary source represents a geographical, statistical, and historical map of Tennessee in 1822.  
The 2020 Census is the first U.S. Census to offer options to respond online or by phone and the paper form from previous censuses.  For more information, please go to the official census website.
Visit this website, United States Census Bureau's Statistics in Schools Program for classroom activities, updated classroom maps with census statistics, videos for K-12 students and more.  

This Month in Tennessee History...

September 18, 1864 - Hood's Tennessee campaign begins (also called The Franklin-Nashville Campaign), American Civil War.
September 14, 1886  - George K. Anderson of Memphis, TN patents the typewriter ribbon.
September 6, 1916 -   The 1st supermarket, the "Piggly Wiggly" is opened by Clarence Saunders in Memphis.
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