Blog Round-Up: Using the Primary Source Analysis Tool

What’s a good way to get started with primary sources?  Try using the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool, a graphic organizer that helps K-12 students closely examine primary sources and record their ideas in a way that builds understanding.  Want some suggestions on how to incorporate the analysis tool into classroom activities?  Here’s a round-up of blog posts to help you.

Primary Source Analysis Tool

Primary Source Analysis Tool

The Library’s Primary Source Analysis Tool: Helping K-12 Students Start Analyzing Primary Sources walks you through the basic steps of using the Primary Source Analysis Tool with students.

Looking Harder: Inspiring Close Observation offers tips on helping your students improve their observation skills while making connections to the primary source.

Primary Source Analysis Tool: Using the “Reflect” Column to Develop Critical Thinking  examines one of the most exciting parts of the analysis process: having students share what they think is happening in the primary source, and guiding them in providing evidence for their thinking.

Selecting Questions to Increase Student Engagement goes into some depth about how to use the Library’s Teacher’s Guides to ask questions that will help your students practice higher-order thinking.

Pair of students use a Primary Source Analysis Tool to analyze a document

Pair of students use a Primary Source Analysis Tool to analyze a document

Primary Source Analysis Tool: Forming Meaningful Questions explores how to help your students improve their own questioning skills – or, in some cases, help them begin to ask questions.

Primary Source Analysis Tool: What’s Next? Further Investigation takes a look at strategies for moving forward after analyzing a primary source.

Don’t miss Top Ten Tips for Facilitating an Effective Primary Source Analysis – a list based on Summer Institute teachers’ most frequently cited tips for facilitating an effective primary source analysis.

If you’ve used the Primary Source Analysis Tool in your classroom, we’d love to hear any advice you have for other teachers – related to anything from classroom management to materials to encouraging your students.


    June 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    the good way for beginning learning the primary resource is to use aduio-visual tools for all ages groupes and you can to use ppt with both the music and clipes with ppt

  2. Melissa
    January 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I think this is a great resource to help introduce students to primary sources and how to analyze them. So many times students are asked to analyze something, but they aren’t given the tools or background knowledge on how to properly complete an analysis. I think this resource will help students learn how to properly analyze a source, which they can use for the rest of their life.

  3. Diane C.
    November 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Last year, I started using the Primary Source Analysis Tool for manuscripts, photographs, and motion pictures for 8th grade library lessons that connect with topics they are learning in their Social Studies class. I allow students a few minutes to view the primary source and get their initial impressions, which are generally quite simplistic. Then, we use the Primary Source Analysis Tool and their experience with the primary source completely changes. They become more engaged with and interested in the primary source because the analysis tool helps focus their observation skills, enhances their analysis, and promotes their inquiry.

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