Teaching with Primary Sources

Teaching Reading Strategies Using Primary Sources

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Student Page

students studying shapes on a blackboard





Look at the picture. Where do you think these people are? Who are the people in the photograph? What are some clues that led you to your conclusions? This is a picture of a kindergarten teacher teaching her students about shapes. How is this photograph like your classroom? Have you ever learned about shapes? Can you draw any of the shapes in the photograph?

During this lesson we will be looking at pictures of kindergarten classrooms from the past.We will analyze them to see how those classrooms are the same as ours and how they are different than ours.

After completing this lesson you should be able to tell others the similarities and differences between kindergarten classrooms from the past and our classroom.

You will get a partner and you and your partner will choose a copy of a photograph of a kindergarten classroom from the past. You and your partner will talk about the way that kindergarten classroom is like ours and how it is different from ours. I will be walking around and I may ask you the following questions:

  • How are the students in the picture like the students in your classroom? How can you prove it?
  • How are the students in the picture different than the students in your classroom? How can you prove it?
  • What part/time of the day is it? How can you tell? What are the clues?
  • Would you like to learn/be in the classroom shown in your picture? Why or why not?
  • Are any of the students in the pictures like you? How?
  • Why do you think the students are ...playing with blocks, marching around the room, sleeping at their desk, reading in a group, drawing shapes, pointing at the board?
  • What are some sounds that you would hear in this classroom?
  • Would you like to go to school in the classroom pictured in your photograph? Why or why not?

You will be talking to your teacher about your photographs and you will be talking to your partner about your photograph. One day you will fill in a recording sheet about the similarities and differences between our classroom and the classroom in your photograph.

Recording Sheet

Click on Mrs. Brady to go on the Internet and see other pictures of classrooms from the past. You can talk to your partner, other friends or your family about these photographs if you want to.

Mrs. Brady




At the end of this lesson all of the students will get together in a large group and analyze a picture of a kindergarten classroom from the past that you have never seen! You will help your teacher fill in a Venn Diagram that will be hung up in the room for everyone to see. Your teacher will be keeping track to see if everyone talks about the photograph. Your teacher will also make sure that all of you complete a recording sheet.

There will also be copies of Venn Diagrams and photographs in the Discovery Center. You may want to go there at free time and analyze a new photograph and fill in the Venn Diagram by yourself or with a partner.



Governors State University - Teaching with Primary Sources Partner
Sue Brady
Nathan Hale School
Last Updated on February 21, 2009