Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Using Primary Sources

I have to preface this post by saying that my ESOL teacher, Anna, is FABULOUS and I will dearly miss her when I move to my new school. She doesn't just pull my students for reading groups or pop-in and stand around when she is in the classroom. She knows what it means to collaborate and team-teach, and she makes my job so much easier. Last year she taught my entire social studies and science curriculum because she was my class coverage during that time so I could do one-on-one with my Literacy Lessons students.

This post is one of her fabulous lessons. I did NOTHING but stand around and take pictures.

OK. With that disclaimer out of the way - ONWARD!

Primary sources.

Do you use them?

Because you should.

Like tomorrow.

Remember my post about the RAN student-led research? If not go read up. I'll wait for you here... Done? Well, the best part of the RAN lesson was that it free'd me up to go deeper with the learning on Abraham Lincoln. That's exactly what we did today.

Anna searched for and printed some great primary sources for Abraham Lincoln. She put one on each student's desk and invited the kids to circulate around the room investigating these images. We have done activities with primary sources before so all she had to do was remind them to look at them as a historian would.

Very intense

Found something hiding in the background

After they had a few minutes to check out each picture, Anna asked each student to sit down at the desk of a picture that really interested them. It was a bit like musical chairs. If the seat is taken, find another picture. I was surprised that there was no fighting, arguing, or squabbling over who got which photo. When everyone had their own primary source, they were asked to take notes using these three prompts:

  1. I see...
  2. I think...
  3. I wonder...?
Sometimes I am amazed at the details they can find using this chart.

Rockstar Anna herself, helping a little nugget come up with some I wonder questions

After everyone has at least one statement in each column, phase 3 can commence. The students were now asked to find someone who they thought had a similar primary source, sit down with them, and compare and contrast their images. I took this video of two students telling me about what they had discovered. I think I had my finger covering the microphone in the middle so the sound is a little muffled.

She kept comparing the pictures to wedding photos because they discovered that the people in her photo were also in the large group in his photo. They were convinced that the photos were taken on the same day. She said it was like when the photographer at a wedding takes group photos and then photos of smaller groups of important people. Smart cookie!

We ran out of time, but in an ideal world each pair would then find another pair with a similar set of photos and discuss. I can't wait to show you what we are working on for Friday afternoon.... Let's just say these kids are a bit too young to start growing their own facial hair so we are speeding the process up! Confused? You should

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful activity. I was able to modify for a kinder class with Dr. Martin Luther King. Thanks for the idea.