The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is dedicated to offering trustworthy resources that support K-12 teachers’ digital classrooms. Over the coming weeks GHS will be working diligently to provide educators and parents valuable tools and information to meet the needs of students during the Covid-19 school closures. The “Digital Resources for Georgia’s Students” blog series will explore GHS’s extensive catalog of online resources for learning Georgia and American history and offer strategies for using them at home or in a digital classroom.
Social studies education is essential to students of all ages because examining the past through primary sources helps students develop vital historical thinking skills. Historical thinking skills, even in early grades, include things like making observations, generating and investigating questions, developing knowledge, explaining connections, and recognizing bias.
GHS helps support student skill development by providing standards-based, hands-on learning resources for primary source exploration. Each of the following resources or set of resources is aimed at supporting skill development in young children.
Resources for Historical Inquiry in Elementary Grades
The “Finding My Voice” primary source activities are inquiry-based and suitable for elementary students as young as second grade. The resources include a teacher guide, primary source sets, and elementary-friendly strategies to help teach the context necessary for students to explore the process of developing points of view, exercising civic rights, and examining how the women’s suffrage movement inspired later developments like the Civil Rights Movement. Read more about this resource and how it has been used in classrooms in Georgia here.
Resources for Featured Historical Figures in Georgia History
Use the GHS Featured Historical Figures coloring pages and corresponding resources to engage students in learning about the stories of individuals from Georgia’s past who have had a significant impact on our state’s history.
General James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s most famous founding father:
- General James Edward Oglethorpe coloring page
- Primary Source: Portrait of James Edward Oglethorpe by Raiford J. Wood, MS 1360-600
- Secondary sources: Get to Know Oglethorpe videos, children’s book James Oglethorpe: Not for Self, but for Others by Terry Maloof, a brief biography of General James Oglethorpe, and the Landing of Oglethorpe and the Colonists Georgia historical marker
Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America
- Juliette Gordon Low coloring page
- Primary Source: Juliette Gordon Low Badge Match-Up activity featuring Low’s personal Girl Scout badges
- Secondary Sources: Today in Georgia History segment Juliette Gordon Low, children’s book Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey, a brief biography of Juliette Gordon Low and historical markers the Birthplace of Juliette Low and the First Girl Scout Headquarters in America
Jackie Robinson, American baseball player and civil rights leader
- Jackie Robinson coloring page
- Primary Source: Front cover of Jackie Robinson comic book., ca. 1951, Library of Congress
- Secondary Sources: Today in Georgia History segment Jackie Robinson, children’s books Who Was Jackie Robinson? by John O’Brien and Gail Herman and Jackie Robinson by Rodney S. Pate and Sally M. Walker, a brief biography of Jackie Robinson, and the Birthplace of Jackie Robinson historical marker
A Simple Strategy for Exploring Primary Sources
A simple activity for assessing primary sources with young students, whether in school or at home, is the Primary Source Analysis Tool from the Library of Congress. Students simply “observe, reflect, and question.” I like to refer to it as (especially for younger children) “see, think, and wonder.”
Students make observations, reflect on what they see and connect it to prior knowledge then generate questions they have about the source. Once students identify questions they have about a source or related historical topic they can explore age-appropriate secondary sources such as books, websites, or historical markers to try and answers their own questions!