Observation in Primary Source Analysis: The Sticky Notes Solution

During recent Library of Congress summer teacher institutes, teachers of all grade and ability levels discussed ways to engage students in close observation of primary sources. They agreed that close observation is crucial to deep analysis and a key component of identifying and citing evidence from a primary source. One easy technique to help students improve their observation skill is to use sticky notes.

Top Ten Tips for Facilitating an Effective Primary Source Analysis

The first time I tried facilitating a primary source activity during my post-graduate museum education studies, I only had to guide my peers’ analysis of a single artifact for five minutes. Yet so much of what I learned from this experience later proved invaluable to me when teaching with primary sources “for real.”