Reflecting on Your Practice
- How do you decide which primary sources to use?
- What factors do you believe are important as you introduce primary sources to your students for the first time?
- What student groupings, teaching methods, and graphic organizers might you use to support student focus and success?
- How do you judge students' success when they use primary sources?
- Consider how your class might differ from Ms. Waffle's. What are some ways you could adapt the lesson to suit your students?
Taking It Back to Your Classroom
- Ask students to bring in primary sources from home -- letters, photographs, and diaries of their ancestors -- or primary sources found in books or on the Internet. Ask students to share the sources and discuss what can be learned about the past from them.
- Have students analyze a primary source, asking questions such as, Who wrote the source? Why? When? Where? and What were the consequences? Then have students analyze another primary source about the same event that provides a different point of view. Ask students to compare the sources, suggest reasons for the different points of view, discuss the credibility of each source, and reflect on how they might determine which point of view best represents the event.
- Ask students to choose a topic of interest and find primary sources related to that topic. Ask them what each source can teach them about the topic. Discuss whether the authors of the sources have different points of view about the topic and why they might hold those views.
- Ask students to interview a family member or older friend and record their reaction to some recent historic event or aspect of culture. Explain that such firsthand accounts become the primary sources of the future.
- Introduce several types of graphic organizers to your students over time. Then select several primary sources and ask students to use the graphic organizers to represent the main points of each source.
- After working in pairs or groups to analyze and interpret primary sources, ask students to reflect on how this method is helpful to their learning.
For related print materials and Web sites, see Resources.