NYLA Breakdown-Part Two

All right kids, whose ready to learn about teaching with historical documents? Let’s get started then.

  • When teaching kids how to analysis photos direct them to the people, the background and objects. Study those elements for clues as to what is going on and be on the look out for things that don’t seem to fit or you wouldn’t expect to find.
  • Sometimes you need to break a picture up into quadrants so you can isolate what is going on and what you are analyzing.
  • When analyzing letters have kids ask themselves the following questions:
  1. When was this letter written?
  2. Where was this letter written?
  3. Who wrote this letter?
  4. To whom is the letter written?
  5. Why was this letter written?
  6. List three pieces of information from the letter you think are important.
  7. List tow questions you might want to ask the author.
  • After exploring a series of historical documents related to a single person or family, have students create a short movie story board depicting key scenes from the person/family’s life.

For more information and inspiration on teaching with historical documents check out the the New York State Archives website (not from New York? Search around and see if your state has an archives website and what it may have to offer). Stumped on how to find and incorporate primary source documents into your teaching? The New York State Archives website even has a series of videos on how to find and teach with primary source documents.


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