Can I use primary sources with elementary students?
Posted November 24, 2014on:
Of course! It’s all about finding the right resources, starting small, and creating connections. Photos are an ideal starting place. For example, children can relate to pictures of other children their age and want to talk about what they see. I love this 1920 photo of children on a teeter totter!
The Library of Congress Teachers’ Page has several “ready to use” primary source sets that will help busy teachers looking for ideas. Children’s Lives at the Turn of the Century has photos of children at work and play, “1904 Baby Parade” (movie) and an image of a game depicting cities.
Many State Memory Collections have teachers guides that will work in classrooms everywhere. The Field Trip to the Pumpkin Patch and Families Then and Now from Minnesota Reflections are two examples that could be paired with the primary source sets or used alone. Visit your State’s Memory Project!
Kindergarten Historians: Primary Sources in an Early Elementary Classroom from the Teachers Page Blog explains how students were hooked by two old movies.
Picture books or early reader chapter books and primary sources complement each other well. Kate DiCamillo: Stories Connect Us, also a blog post, includes book titles and related primary sources. There are some ideas for connecting primary sources with picture books in Primary Sources–Enriching the Study of Historical Fiction (Internet@Schools, Nov. 2014)
A great way to gather an arsenal of ideas is to subscribe to the Teacher’s Page blog. Weekly updates are full of ideas! Subscribe by RSS or email!
Making Learning Interactive (The New Media Center, Column, Internet @ Schools, March/April 2015)