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Our Favorite Posts: Using the Primary Source Analysis Tool

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Each summer, we take time to reflect on the past school year and select a few highlights from our blog posts. In anticipation of that, we’d like to present a favorite post that Cheryl discovered last year. 

One of the best parts of my job is hearing back from teachers after they implement what they learned in a workshop or Summer Teacher Institute. The flexibility and value of the primary source analysis tool comes up frequently, and I like this post because it “rounds up”  a series of posts suggesting ways to use the tool.

What are some of your favorite strategies to support students in analyzing primary sources?

Blog Round-Up: Using the Primary Source Analysis Tool

June 26, 2012 by

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

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.

Comments (3)

  1. We are using the primary tool and loving it! The students are really digging into analyzing the photos that we are using in Social Studies 7th grade.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Kathy. We’d love to know of any discoveries your students made, or any favorite photos from the Library’s collections! (Maybe some of your students would like to leave us a comment about what they’re finding?)

  3. I find that when I have my students analyze primary sources, having students work in pairs or small groups helps them. I believe discussing the source helps students to generate thoughts and questions.

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