Beyond the Textbook: Equity, Engagement & Primary Sources in the Classroom – October 1, 2022 – PACSCL

PA K-12 teachers get 7 ACT48 hours for attending Beyond the Textbook, a free conference about using primary sources in the classroom.

About this event

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The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) is proud to announce Beyond the Textbook: Equity, Engagement, and Primary Sources in the Classroom, a free conference to support K-12 educators in collaboration with archivists and librarians, focused on integrating primary sources to support diversity in the classroom.

The conference will take place from 9 – 5:30 on October 1, 2022 at LaSalle University’s Connelly Library in Philadelphia.

Attendees will receive morning snacks and lunch and are welcome to stay for a closing reception.

PACSCL is an Approved ACT48 Provider!

Pennsylvania teachers will receive 7 hours of ACT48 credit for attending Beyond the Textbook! A free conference, free lunch, and a fabulous keynote speaker!

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Keynote Speaker

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, is an urban historian and TikTok star, who has made appearances on several national radio and TV shows, including the Today show.  Mr. Thomas will be discussing his efforts to democratize American history and spark hope in urban communities through an understanding of place-based history.  His work emphasizes our collective past and lifts the stories of those who are often relegated to the footnotes of history.  See examples of his work here:

Watch a Today Show clip about Thomas’ work at

Watch Thomas’ TikTok videos about Chicago history at

Mr. Thomas is also working with Netflix on a Chicago-based series, bringing historical fiction to the small screen.

Conference Schedule

9:00 – 9:30: Registration and coffee

9:30 – 10:30: Introduction & Keynote

Introduction, Dr. Heather Willever-Farr, LaSalle University

Keynote, Sherman “Dilla” Thomas, Urban Historian

10:30 -10:45 Break

10:45 -11:45 : Session 1

Speed Dating with Archivists

Robin Landes, Kenneth J. Miller, and Saida Elbahlouli (Former IB Student), Prince William County Schools / Gar-Field High School

11:45 – 1:00: Lunch and Learn, with virtual sessions

The Importance of Teaching with Physical Primary Sources in Social Studies

Yıldız Deveci Bozkuş &Tolgahan Ayantaş, Ankara University, Turkey

Hands-On History: Primary Sources and Special Collections in the Classroom

Dr. Dana Sheridan, Cotsen Education & Outreach Coordinator, Princeton University

1:00 – 2:00: Session 2

La Salle Art Museum/History Hunters Youth Reporter Program

Rachel Corma & Miranda Clark-Binder

2:15 – 3:00: Lightning talks

Digitized Wartime Correspondence: Out of the Archives, Into the Classroom

Chloe Gerson, Brandeis University

Social History for Every Classroom: An LGBTQ+ Primary Source Collection for Middle School Classrooms

Jubilee Marshall, New York University

Creating an Archive: Developing Primary Source Literacy Skills in a 3rd Grade Classroom

Marissa Vassari and Marina Lombardo, Rockefeller Archives Center and Pocantico Hills Central School

3:00 – 3:30: Session 3

Stories of Trauma and Resilience told through the Narratives of Hip-Hop

Dr. Trent McLaurin, LaSalle University

3:45-4:45: Session 4

Can You Hear Me Now? Strategies for Discovering Primary Sources

Dr. Heather Willever-Farr, LaSalle University; Beth Lander, PACSCL; Kayla Van Osten, Widener University

4:45-5:30: Wrap-up/Reception

Parking and Public Transit

To reach LaSalle University by car, go to

LaSalle University is a three block walk from the Olney Transportation Center. Pedestrians should walk west on W. Olney Street and enter Connelly from 20th street. You can also take the #18 or #26 bus from Olney Transportation Center to Connelly Library.