Understanding Historical Images: Strategies To Help Students Unpack History

Posted by Kristy Beaudry McCain on Sep 8, 2015 4:08:17 AM

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Educational Sources

In history we don’t was to rely on a single source. For credibility reasons, we want to consult multiple sources of information. Historians gather and analyze numerous pieces of information. Educators should teacher students about the importance of viewing a multitude of data, including written pieces, pictures, images, letters, diaries, and online texts.

In this blog we will be focusing on images, historical pictures and portraits. Included in this blog are images from the online book Building Stories by Isabel Hill.

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Captivating and unusual images that adorn buildings, from musical instruments to a pencil, and a big wheel with wings will invite children to look closely at buildings in their own neighborhoods and to want to learn more about them.
Picture Books, Shapes, Sizes & Colors
Interest Age:
Ages 3-5, Ages 6-8, Ages 9-12
English (US)

Sharing Images

Here is a procedure that educators can use when sharing images with students.

  • Post an image in the classroom or find one in a text to share with the learners.
  • Have students analyze the image for a minute or two.
  • Facilitate a classroom discussion:
  • Ask the students- What do you notice in the image? What happened in the image?
  • Discuss the following:
  1. Image details
  2. Location
  3. Setting
  4. Evidence in the image
  5. Persons involved
  6. Climate
  7. Time period
  8. Perspective (Who created this image? Why?)
  9. Accuracy of the image
  10. Other important information
  11. Give credit to the illustrator, artist, photographer or author

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Connections To The Common Core

When studying history, students are taught to:

  • Analyze historical information, images and documents
  • Consider source information (primary, secondary, reliability)
  • Cite textual evidence
  • Develop claims and arguments
  • Identify the author's perspective and the text genre

Online Books and Instructional Guides

nonfiction books

Students can benefit from reading these online books that teach about historical concepts. Online books offer a great opportunity to enrich student’s vocabulary and content knowledge. Educators and parents can utilize helpful teacher’s guides to help with planning instructional lessons. These content-rich planning guides include engaging ideas to assist with instruction in close reading. Big Universe offers thousands of titles in many different languages on a multitude of topics. Find these informational and engaging texts at Big Universe.

This two-part book program offers activities to supplement standard U.S. history classroom textbooks. Lessons can stand-alone or coordinate with any text. Activity pages include basic concepts, graphs, maps, vocabulary comprehension, and nonfiction informational excerpts that help make meaningful connections with historical concepts, facts, and ideas. Reproducible Books include table of contents and answer keys.
Games & Activities, History, Reference & Study Aids
6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade, 10th Grade, 11th Grade, 12th Grade
The reproducible lessons in this series focus on practical vocabulary terms, skills, and concepts in relevant situational settings. Struggling students learn over 3,000 high-utility words in 28 self-contained thematic lessons. Additionally, each lesson activates prior knowledge and continually reinforces fundamental language arts skills and concepts. These reproducible books include teacher notes and tips, answer keys, reference guides, lessons, unit reviews, and more.
Games & Activities, Geography, History, Reference & Study Aids
Interest Age:
Ages 9-12, Ages 13+

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Common Core, Big Universe News, Literacy

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