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Unit Five - Appendix 5

Using Primary Sources in the Classroom

Suggested Uses

Primary sources provide students with opportunities to have a more direct encounter with past events and people. Students can be linked to the human emotions, aspirations, and values that prevailed in another time. Key to these learning opportunities is the use of such primary sources as written government documents, press releases, newspaper articles, journals, diaries, letters, songs, poetry, video and sound recordings, photos, drawings, posters, cartoons, advertisements, tables of statistics, charts, and maps. The following chart illustrates instructional approaches that primary source documents can support.

Suggested Uses of Primary Documents in the Classroom
1. Visualization: Create a visually rich classroom by setting up a mini-museum of local history to include not only artifacts, but photos, posters, letters, and other original documents. These documents may be changed as units change.
2. Focusing: At the beginning of each unit, or a SCO within a unit, reference may be made to a document as a “window” into the theme.
3. Reading and Viewing: Students may be provided a graphic organizer for the analysis of an original document.
4. Listening: Students may be provided a graphic organizer for the analysis of an original document.
5. Writing: A document may be used to prompt a writing activity; provide students with a self-checklist.
6. Finding Connections: Students can be given an opportunity to analyze two or more documents to (1) see relationships and/or differences between what they are saying, and (2) draw conclusions from this analysis.
7. Reflection: Students should be encouraged to make a journal entry, at appropriate times, as they reflect upon the feelings and values that may be evoked by certain documents.
8. Assessment: The use of documents in constructed-response questions in an assignment or an examination enhance the quality of the assessment. Students can use the documents, not only to recall previously learned knowledge, but to apply and integrate that knowledge.

Analyzing Primary Sources

As stated previously, primary sources include other resources that may not come in the form of a written document. The following suggests graphic organizers that the student may use to analyse such resources as a family heirloom, tool/implement, historical document, photo, poster, sound recording, and cartoon.

Although the questions/exercises may differ slightly from one graphic organizer to another, the underlying approach is the same: namely, 1) to identify facts relating to a specific situation, issue, or problem 2) find relationships among the facts and patterns in these relationships and 3) give an interpretation and draw a conclusion.

Analysing a Family Heirloom (Refer to assessment strategy for delineations 1.1.5 - 1.1.7)

Analysis Sheet: Family Heirloom

Question

Observations

How may the object be described?

 

For what purpose was it created?

 

What does the object tell us about the past?

 

Is there a particular point of view portrayed by the object?

 

How would you find out if it is a reliable source?

 


Analysing a Tool/Implement (Refer to teaching/learning strategy for delineation 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.1.4, 1.1.6)

Analysis Sheet: Tool/Implement

Question

Information

How is the object constructed?

 

Who constructed it?

 

Where was it kept on the owner’s property?

 

How and when was it used?

 

Who mainly used it and why?

 

What does the object and use say about living conditions/lifestyle?

 


Analysing a Photo (Refer to assessment strategy for delineations 2.5.2 - 2.5.8)

Analysis Sheet: Photo

Photo

What I see …

(Identify the Photo)

Describe the setting and time.

Identify the people and objects. How are they arranged?

What’s happening in the photo?

Was there a purpose for taking the picture? Explain.

What would be a good caption for the photo?

From this photo, I have learned that …




Analysing a Propaganda Poster (Refer to assessment strategy for delineation 3.1.2)

Analysis Sheet: Propaganda Poster

Task

Notes

Study the poster and note of all the images, colors, dates, characters, references to places, etc.

 

Describe the idea that the information seems to point to; compare it to ideas others may have.

 

Write a sentence to give the central purpose of the poster.

 

Do you think the poster would have been an effective one? Explain.

 


Analysing a Sound Recording (Refer to Teacher Notes for SCO 4.1)

Analysing a Sound Recording*

Question

Notes

Listen to the sound recording and tell who the audience is.

 

Why was the broadcast made?
How do you know?

 

Summarize what it tells you about (insert the topic).

 

Is there something the broadcaster left unanswered in this sound recording?

 

What information do you get from the recording that you would not get from a written transcript?

 

*Adapted from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408.


Analysing a Cartoon (Refer to assessment strategy for delineations 4.1.4 and 4.1.5)

Analysis Sheet: Analysing a Cartoon

Question

Response

What symbols are used in this cartoon?

 

What does each symbol represent?

 

What do the words (if any) mean?

 

What is the main message of the cartoon?

 

Why is the cartoonist trying to get this message across?

 


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