A way to spur inquiry and close observation is by examining one quarter of the primary source at a time.This six-minute exercise gives students a chance to focus in on particular details of the source. Having students write notes about each quadrant helps students to generate ideas and text fragments they can use in their writing; the partial view makes it easier for students to make notes without self-criticism.
The Library of Congress teacher Primary Source Analysis Tool helps students learn the skills of inquiry. The Library of Congress Teachers page suggests prompts to analyze: maps, film, oral histories, newspapers, political cartoons, books and other printed texts, sheet music, photographs and prints, manuscripts, and sound recordings. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/guides.html
Using familiar imagery of trains, young students can begin to make foundational connections to geography and history using primary sources. Kindergarten students will make a first exploration of local history through early railroad maps from the Library of Congress. This lesson addresses Kindergarten Common Core State Standards and several Massachusetts Social Studies standards and skills. centered around maps. The culminating activity has students create and modify their own town maps to include symbols, cardinal directions, labels, a key, etc.
“…establish justice…” “…promote the general welfare….” “…secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”
By connecting the goals of the federal government to primary source visual representations, this simple civics lesson will help students to remember and think more deeply about the goals set out by the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
Since arriving in North America in the 15th century, Africans in the United States were forced to navigate the social, economic, and physical limitations placed upon their lives by the institutions of slavery and the racist ideology that justified it. The following primary source set shows several ways that different communities responded to the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade (and subsequent yearly celebrations of the event) and the Emancipation Proclamation. These two events fundamentally challenged and changed the institutional practices of slavery.
A large, discipline-specific vocabulary is a distinct challenge for Students with Disabilities and other diverse learners in History and Social Science. Concepts like "citizen" or "rights" are complex, culturally fluid, and difficult to picture. While the vast number of specific or historical technical terms like "longitude," "veto," "cuneiform," and "carpetbagger" require depth of context and background experience.
This worksheet from Teaching Tolerance presents four quick, basic ideas to support active learning. Building on inspiration from Herbert Kohl, this tip sheet outlines uses of writing, drawing, images, and small groups to engage students. Any of these strategies could be used to assess student understanding.
Strategies described and illustrated include:
From Social Justice Books: A Teaching for Change Project, this powerful site offers more than 60 curated lists of literature and history books on social justice and multicultural points of view for children, young adults, and educators. Book lists are organized by topic areas–including Changemakers, Disabilities, Immigration (and specific immigrant groups), Organizing, and Voting Rights!
A "Gallery Walk" prompts students to write responses to an image, and build upon one another's comments anonymously as they write their responses. This strategy offers a silent form of classroom discussion. Click here to watch a video from Facing History where high school students respond to images of monuments and memorials as part of a larger project. (8:08 mins)
*** Before watching the video, you can download the "Viewing Guide" below.
Incorporating visual and performing arts into instruction helps students to relate personally to academic subject matter, broadens the range of modes of expression, and empowers student voice. Philadelphia's University of the Arts has posted many guides to using the arts in instruction with primary sources.
Selected guides - go to the University of the Arts website for more: