This post is by Teresa St. Angelo, the 2016-2017 Library of Congress Teacher in Residence.
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, some young students might immerse themselves in the eye-catching images often associated with the holiday in the U.S.: shamrocks, green clothing, and the occasional pot of gold. This is a perfect opportunity to introduce students to a corner of the actual country of Ireland through primary sources.
Start with the class as a whole group, and give each student a copy of this photochrom print of Glendalough. County Wicklow, Ireland.
Provide students time to look at the image and make their own observations. After a short period of personal observation, pair students to discuss all they saw in the image. While students are talking with their partners, the teacher can walk around the room, listen in, and pose questions to pairs of students.
What did you notice first? What did you notice that you didn’t expect?
Give students time with their partners, and then gather them as a whole group to share details or items they saw in the image. On large chart paper, the teacher or students can record responses.
Next, give students time to make reflections, using background knowledge or details from the image to support their answer. If the students are not familiar with making reflections, the teacher can model by offering examples, such as “I see a mountain. I know that is a mountain because my family drove to the mountains and it looked just the way it did in the picture.” The teacher can guide them with questions such as, how do you know that is a house, a lake, a castle.
When students have completed making reflections, support them in comparing this image to their neighborhood. Asking questions and requiring students to supply details and background knowledge to support the answers will help them realize the image is not their neighborhood.
Where is it? Tell the students it is from County Wicklow, Ireland.
Give students a copy of this map of Ireland. Allow time for students to interact with the map. Let them talk about all they see, and then direct them to try to find County Wicklow with a partner.
Once again the teacher can walk around the room and drive student inquiry by asking questions. Students can continue their conversations and observations together, using the map, until all partners have found Wicklow.
Once County Wicklow has been identified, gather students as a whole group and ask them to share items or details they saw on the map. Students or the teacher can record answers on large chart paper. Have students make reflections or think about why the map was made. You can use the Library’s analysis tool for analyzing maps for use with your class.
Finally, encourage students to wonder: What more do they want to know either about the image or the map?
Explore this gallery for more images of Ireland.
Leave a comment to let us know what your students discovered!