Monday, March 28, 2016

Groovy Primary and Secondary Sources

The theme of our spring book fair is Feelin' Groovy Book Fair.  The 1960s decorations are based on a time period that my students know very little about.  To teach some of our standards related to sources of information and to make the book fair more relevant to my students, I created a groovy primary and secondary sources lesson for my fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students.

Here are a few of the Georgia Standards of Excellence that the lesson taught or reinforced.

Fourth grade:
  • ELAGSE4RI6: Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.
  • Social Studies Information Processing Skills: Identify and use primary and secondary sources.
 Fifth grade:
  • ELAGSE5RI6: Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
  • ELAGSE5RI7: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate and answer to a question or to solve a problem efficiently. 
  • SS5H8: The student will describe the importance of key people, events, and developments between 1950 - 1975.
Sixth grade:
  • ELAGSE6RI6: Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.
  • L6-8RHSS9: Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
To prepare, I created five stations.  Each station contained a different primary or secondary source to teach students more about the 1960s.  Here are the five stations and how I located materials for each.
  • Photographs: I printed iconic 1960s photographs and mounted them along with a caption on triboards.  I also printed lots of pictures that showed students the popular clothes and hairstyles from that era.
  • Library books: I pulled all of the books in our collection about important events from the 1960s, such as the Vietnam War and the first moon landing.  I also included biographies about people who were famous during this time period, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Neil Armstrong.
  • Artifacts and documents: I included here copies of print advertisements, documents such as the text of Robert Kennedy's speech when he announced his presidential candidacy, and fun items such as my mom's 1967 yearbook.
  • Television: I created a short video with television commercials and short clips of shows from the 1960s and loaded the video onto the desktop of each computer in the media center.
  • Music recording: A listening station with headphones allowed students to listen to a CD of music from the 1960s without disturbing other groups nearby.  I also included at this station copies of the lyrics of the songs so that students could follow along while listening.
For each station, I created a sign to show students what they were analyzing.  I also included questions from the Library of Congress primary sources website.

When students came in to the media center for the lesson, I asked if they knew the theme of our upcoming book fair.  When they identified the theme correctly, we discussed what they already knew about the 1960s.  I explained to students that when they want to learn more about a time period in history, they can get information from primary sources or secondary sources.  After explaining these two terms, we discussed examples and also advantages and disadvantages of each.

Students were given directions to determine whether each station contained primary or secondary sources, discuss the questions on the station sign, and learn at least one fact about the 1960s.  Then I split students into five groups.  Each group was directed to a station.  After five minutes, the timer alerted students to move to the next station.

After students had explored each station, we gathered as a whole group again.  I asked students to decide whether the materials at each station were primary or secondary sources.  Then students were encouraged to share what they learned about the time period from the materials.


Click below to download the station signs I created for this lesson.

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