Saturday, March 2, 2013

Primary Sources & Anchor Charts

So here's my take...

This year I have been making great efforts to get my Va. Studies students to use their 
Historical Thinking Skills 
(Sourcing, Contextualizing, Close Reading, & Cross Checking). 

Below is our Historical Thinking Skills board that we refer to many times throughout the year when we take a look at a primary source.

I have really seen how the use of primary sources have helped my students learn how to think critically and to engage with the content in more meaningful ways.

Recently my class began its investigation into how Virginian ideas contributed to the formation of our new government. Students need to know about the ideas of James Madison, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, & George Washington.

To understand these men's ideas students must investigate the Constitution 
& work with this primary source!

A picture book is always a great place to start. The text is arranged to break down the components of the constitution in easy to understand parts.

As we read the text we are pausing to use our historical thinking skills, have partner discussions, and then create an anchor chart of our learning. 

As you can see, the primary source document is right there for students to interact and get familiar with (I also have copies for students to get their hands on too...with a magnify glass!)

Click here for a Copy
Click here for a Copy
As we go along creating our anchor chart, students are recording the information in a graphic organizer that will go into their notebooks.

Here is another primary source image I love to use when investigating the Constitution. The painting by Howard Christy in 1940 can be found at

At the site you can scroll over the delegates and it displays their name. It is another excellent way for students to dive deeper into a primary source.

At the site there is a synopsis of the painting that you can use for great discussions.

I posed the question, 
Do you think all 55 delegates are represented? Explain your reasoning.

If you have any primary source documents you use for the Constitution, I would LOVE to hear from you!!!

Happy Learning!


Donna said...

I didn't realize you're a Virginia Studies teacher until I saw your Pinterest board! Yay! I have a great website bookmarked on my school computer, but I'm definitely not there today.

HokIe Teach

Andrea McEvoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea McEvoy said...

Hi Donna! I am so glad to find another Va teacher! I just became a follower at your blog. I would love to see whatever resources you have...thanks for sharing!


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