Primary sources are a valuable addition to any history classroom. Using them with elementary students presents some unique challenges.
Tips for Using Primary Sources in the Elementary Grades
1.Activate prior knowledge.
Help students understand primary sources by activating prior knowledge. See Activating Prior Knowledge for ideas.
2. Start with images.
Teach students to look for details and ask questions aboutthe images they see.
3. Add text sources that complement an image.
Students who have already built understanding by analyzing an image are more likely to understand the text.
4. Modify text-based sources.
Modify documents by selecting excerpts, adding vocabulary banks, adding puncuation, and replacing words with easier to understand synonyms. For more information on modifying sources see Adapting Primary Sources.