Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Using Primary Sources: On the right track... NYT is doing something similar to build Visual Thinking Skills!

Have you seen the New York Times new feature? It's called  What’s Going On in This Picture? 

It has people look at a photo, guess what's going on, and comment. Then NYT posts what it really is and they all discuss how the lack of captions or background knowledge hurts our overall understanding of the picture. They call it Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS

It looks something like this:

Funnily enough, on May 7th, my Google Classroom Assignment was: What Happened to Tara? 

The students are shown a picture of my daughter and are given a list of questions to help them Observe, Reflect, and Question. This is to help them think critically about what they see and what the picture may be. These questions are from the Library of Congress Primary Sources Analysis Tool. If you have not used this tool with students, I highly recommend you try it. I actually learned about it 3 years ago, but still go to it as a great way to break down being thoughtful and giving students a framework to break down details and look at sources (visual and otherwise) through different lenses. I also think the inclusion of my daughter gave them the motivation to look closely. 

Then I am planning on sharing an old advertisement I found on the LOC Primary Sources site, to connect to their current curriculum unit on advertising! Can't wait to see what they come up with! 

What happened to Tara?

Think about the following (Observe, Reflect, and Question):
Where does your eye go first?
What are the key details?
What do you notice first?
Find something small but interesting. 
What do you notice that you didn’t expect? 
What do you notice that you can’t explain? 
What do you notice that you didn’t earlier?

Why do you think she is dressed like this?
What do you think was happening when she got ready?
What would you do differently? 

What do you wonder about... who? • what? • when? • where? • why? • how?

Be creative! I can't wait to read more!

They were given a choice:
Look at the picture. Write your own story, Powtoon, or Slides eBook - what happened to Tara? 

Then I listed out the Observe, Reflect, and Question prompts, and gave them time to work on it. I now have some of their work! 

These are students who made Slides:


This great story beginning...garlic bread trees?? This kid may know me...

And finally, maybe this student knows me too well? =)

The Powtoons are taking a bit longer, but I'll post them if they finish soon! 

Next week: Book Fair! Ahhhhh!!!

Then I am planning on sharing an old advertisement I found on the LOC Primary Sources site, to connect to their current curriculum unit on advertising! Can't wait to see what they come up with! Don't forget, try it out with primary grades too!

Source: Ramsey & Brother. [Advertisement. 18]. 1800. Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed May 17, 2017.)

Thanks for reading!
Want more info on the Primary Sources? Let me know in the comments! 

I would love to hear how it's going and would love to hear your wonderful ideas also! 

Keep reading!

Mrs. Thakkar

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