History of Redding > My Brother Sam is Dead > Teaching Aids > Primary Sources  

Using Primary Source Materials.

One of the great things about the Internet is its ability to transmit primary source documents right into our classrooms! Archives and museums are constantly digitizing photos, diaries, notes, manuscripts, and more. The sites below will give you a start as you begin to search for appropriate primary source materials.

The Library of Congress is the best place to start.

National Archives Digital Classroom is impressive.

Digital Vaults is a Flash powered site where kids can create posters and movies with primary sources.

Making Sense of Evidence is a learning site that helps students better understand primary sources and how to use them/how they are used.

Why Use Primary Sources?

1. By reading and analyzing primary source documents, students are able to arrive at their own conclusions based on their understanding of the documents. This empowers students as they find themselves in the roles of historians. Indeed, they will often find contradictions between the views expressed in a document and the material they have read in a textbook. This can inspire students to conduct further research into the area they are studying.

2. Use of primary source documents can enhance student understanding of a historical time period. Primary sources provide windows into the daily lives of individuals living in the past. An analysis of documents can reinforce the themes and content learned from the textbook or in class discussion.

3. Another useful strategy when using primary source documents is the use of two or more documents that represent varying viewpoints on the same issue. There are many opportunities for teachers to develop lessons using two or more documents. Any of the classroom strategies described above can be employed with multiple documents. For example, students could read newspaper articles published in the Revolutionary War period from America and Great Britain to better understand the feelings on both sides of the Atlantic.





Putnam Memorial State Park- This is where Sam Meeker was encamped during the winter of 1778-79. This is the same camp Tim describes when he attempts to free Sam from the stockade.

Keeler Tavern Museum- Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Keeler Tavern Museum has been a farmhouse, tavern, stagecoach stop, post office, hotel for travelers and a private residence. The Meeker Family Tavern was very similar and thus Keeler Tavern gives a glimpse at the way Tim, Sam, Life and Suzanne lived and worked.

Putnam's Cottage / Knapp's Tavern Museum- Putnam's Cottage is intimately connected to the Revolutionary war, having housed General Putnam and hosted General Washington for lunch. The house has long been associated with General Israel Putnam and his heroic escape from the British during the Revolutionary War. General Putnam was Sam Meeker's General in the novel.

Compo Beach- The British landed on this beach in 1777. From here they marched north through Redding where they halted for several hours before their attack on Danbury Connecticut's military depot. Tim describes their visit in the novel.





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