Fourth grade Frenchtown teacher Kathy Gaul responded: “I think for those of us that teach lower than middle school grades, it is quite a challenge. Many primary source documents are too wordy and complicated for our kids. I have found photos to be the most engaging primary source for my 4th graders. Even when I am super excited about something, telling them ‘This is the actual whatever!!’, they aren’t that impressed. I don’t think they have lived long enough to have much of a perspective on history.”
I’m always glad to hear what resonates with students. So in honor of Kathy’s email, I’d like to share with you two new tools I’ve discovered for teaching with historic photographs.
- Crop It. Crop It is a four-step hands-on learning routine where teachers pose questions and students use paper cropping tools to deeply explore a visual primary source.
- Primary Source Thinking Triangle Activity. According to the creator, “This activity requires students to use higher level thinking skills as they interact with a primary source image. The thinking triangle also gives students practice in the visual equivalent of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) reading anchor standard 2.” I was incredibly taken by this simple tool for pushing students to look deeply at images and the Thinking Triangle is a new contender for my favorite primary source analysis tool. (If one of you would volunteer to try it with your class and let me know how it goes, I’d be VERY appreciative.)
- Making Sense of Documents and Scholars in Action (with links to training for analyzing photos)
- Picturing the Past--A New IEFA Lesson Plan from MHS
- Online Sources for Historical Photographs
- More Sources for Historic Photograph