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Monday, May 4, 2015

Crop It and Other Photo Analysis Tools

A teacher recently asked me for about tools for analyzing photos.

Among my favorites: Crop It

I learned about Crop It on Teachinghistory.org. This is a fabulous website that I recommend you explore at your leisure this summer. Per TeachingHistory.org, "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."

Teachers ask students to use the easily created Crop It tool (template provided) to slow down and "carefully explore their image by using the tools." Teachers "pose a question and ask students to look carefully and 'crop' to an answer. For example, ask students to:

Crop the image to the part that first caught your eye.
Think: Why did you notice this part?
Crop to show who or what this image is about.
Think: Why is this person or thing important?
Crop to a clue that shows where this takes place.
Think: What has happened at this place?" 

In "Tools for Teaching with Historic Photos" I discuss other techniques, including the ever popular Barat Thinking Triangle. Both the Library of Congress and the National Archives also have templates for analyzing photos.

p.s. Looking for a great lesson using historic photographs? Try our Women at Work Lesson Plan: Clothesline Timeline Lesson Plan (a high interest, one-two class period lesson for the end of the year).

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