Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
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Classroom Profile | Lesson Background

Read this information to better understand the lesson shown in the video.

Content: Primary Sources
Examining primary sources -- such as original photographs, maps, letters, diaries, journals, and legal documents, as well as electronic versions of these articles -- helps students understand that history is about the lives of real people. However, because most primary sources were not written for students living in the twenty-first century, you will need to guide students as they analyze and interpret the artifacts. Start with short selections or excerpts. Identify unusual vocabulary in advance, or ask students to list unfamiliar words as they come across them. Above all, use primary sources as a basis for student research to raise questions about larger social and historical issues.

Image of a students writing.Primary sources are a bridge between the present and the past. They provide students with an opportunity to interpret original, unedited data for themselves, rather than passively accepting the interpretations of others. Using primary sources also encourages students to look at history from multiple perspectives and place historical events not just in chronological order but in a social context. Finally, students come to realize the value of supporting historical interpretation with physical evidence.

Teaching Strategy: Working Together To Organize and Translate Primary Sources
Students can work together to derive meaning from primary sources. In this video lesson, students work in small groups to find information related to categories supplied by the teacher. Working together helps students decode the often archaic language in primary sources, discover the multiple, sometimes changing meanings of words, and in the process, improve their reading comprehension skills.

Students can record their findings in a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer is a visual representation of information that shows, at a glance, how key concepts are related. Some graphic organizers, like timelines, illustrate the chronological order of events over time. Others, like Venn diagrams, compare and contrast. Some graphic organizers, like concept maps, are useful tools for brainstorming. Recording information in a graphic organizer helps students focus on important points and clarify relationships. It also helps students retain what they learn. In this lesson, students use a type of graphic organizer to categorize their findings, cite supporting evidence for their claims, and later, compare historical and current business practices. See Resources for more information on graphic organizers.

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