Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 1

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1 Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 1

2 Introduction Dear Educator, Teaching with Stuff: Documents in the Classroom includes a primary source activity designed to inspire inquiry-based learning and help teach students how to analyze and interpret written documents. Students will gain a better understanding of historical documents as cultural artifacts that can reflect the views of particular times and places. The contents of this guide are based on Social Studies TEKS for upper elementary, middle, and high school, but can easily be modified for lower grades depending on your individual classroom needs. For additional resources and information on ITC exhibits and tours, please visit If you have any questions or would like more information on materials, resources and services for students and educators, please do not hesitate to contact us. Respectfully, The Institute of Texan Cultures Department of Education and Interpretation Table of Contents Introduction... 2 Tips for Teaching with Historical Documents in the Classroom... 3 Document Analysis Activity Instructions... 4 Document Analysis Activity... 5 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies... 7 Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 2

3 Tips for Teaching with Historical Documents in the Classroom 1. Familiarize yourself with the various online databases dedicated to preserving and presenting historical documents in digital form, as well as current tools to help your students analyze and interpret them. The National Archives have an excellent collection of historical documents available for your use in the classroom, and DocsTeach features thousands of primary source documents categorized by historical era. Many university libraries also maintain archives featuring written documents specific to their respective states or regions. The UTSA Digital Collections, for example, features a searchable database of written documents, photographs, and oral histories related to San Antonio and Texas history. 2. Use historical documents to help your students make important real-world connections to social studies concepts. Consider the goals you have for your students and structure your analysis activities based upon those goals. Connect historical documents to topics and time periods you are currently studying to enhance your students understanding. 3. Inspire inquiry-based learning. Allow students to discover the importance of stories told through historical documents. Encourage them to examine a document and consider how it may have been designed and constructed, what its original purpose was, and who may have written or used it. Ask open-ended questions, and also encourage students to create questions of their own to investigate. 4. Model careful analysis skills and examine an historical document in a general sense before diving into the actual content. What kind of document are you looking at? What material is it made of? Note any unique characteristics of the document, such as markings or other special qualities. Use the questions outlined above and in the activity instructions below to get your students thinking about documents. Modeling proper investigative techniques with your students will enable them to better internalize the analysis process and establish a routine for completing activities on their own. 5. Compare and contrast historical documents with present-day documents. Have students compare and contrast historical documents with present-day documents to explore changes in language, writing style, or typography, or have students examine the actual content of the documents to gain insights on how culture or political or social views may have changed over time. 6. Visit a museum, library, archives, or local historical society to enhance learning. Consider visiting a nearby museum or library archives to help your students make connections to what they are learning in the classroom. In addition to providing your students with real-life documents and maps to examine, museums and libraries can also provide you with added context and background information not available anywhere else. Museums and library archives can also give students insights into how historic maps and other documents are preserved. Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 3

4 Document Analysis Activity Instructions In this activity, students will fine-tune critical thinking skills in primary source interpretation by analyzing historical written documents. Before you begin, you ll need to gather the following materials: o o o Whiteboard or flip chart paper and markers for brainstorming Printed or digital copies of historical documents relating to a specific topic or theme Enough copies of the Document Analysis Activity handout to distribute to your students Directions: 1. Identify the time period, topic, or theme you d like to explore or enhance using documents. You may wish to explore a topic your students are currently reading about in their textbooks what information does a particular document add to the students understanding of a particular event, theme, time period, or cultural group? How might a document contradict information they may have read about? 2. Tell students they will be observing and analyzing an historical document to identify its purpose, message, and audience. Historical documents are great primary (and sometimes secondary) sources that can illustrate abstract concepts and help students make connections to their textbook readings. 3. As a class, take some time to review the most common elements of historical documents. Use the whiteboard or flip chart paper to create a list. Why is it important that these elements be included on a document? How are documents used to convey particular types of information today? 4. Display an historical document for your students to examine as a class. Model proper investigative techniques to prepare your students to examine the documents on their own. Use the following prompts to engage your students in a class discussion: o Observe and Describe: What do you notice first about the document? What is its size and shape? How is it different than other documents you have seen, or what looks strange or unfamiliar? What is the document is it a diary, letter, report, advertisement, or something else? o Analyze and Interpret: Why do you think the document was made, and who was the creator s intended audience? Do we know who made the document, where it was made, or when it was made? If there are no dates on the document, what clues are there that tell us when it might have been made? How do you think the document was made? Discuss the function of the document and its context where does the document fit in the past? o Question: Encourage students to ask questions about the document. What do you wonder about it? 5. Distribute copies of documents or have older students locate their own using the Internet. Distribute the Document Analysis Activity worksheet to your students. 6. Have students complete the worksheet individually, in pairs, or in small groups. Monitor progress and provide assistance as needed. 7. As a class, review student responses. What specific features of their documents stood out to them? What is the significance of their documents? Have students come up with one or two questions they have about their documents. How might they go about answering those questions? Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 4

5 Name: Document Analysis Activity Date: Directions: Complete the questions below using the document you examined in class. Use additional sheets of paper if needed. Step 1. Make Observations and Collect Data 1. What kind of document is it? Is it a newspaper, letter, advertisement, telegram, passport, report, patent, or another type of document? 2. What physical qualities do you see on the document? Indicate whether or not your document is handwritten or typed, has any kind of special notations or stamps, or interesting letterhead. 3. What is the date of your document? Who is the creator or author of your document? Can you tell where the document was produced? Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 5

6 Step 2. Analyze and Make Sense of the Data 1. Why do you think this document was created, and for what audience was the document written? How do you know? 2. What information does the document add to your textbook or other book s account of a particular event or time period in history? In other words, where does the document fit into the past? 3. Does the information in the document support or contradict what you have read about the topic? Explain. 4. Write two questions to the author or creator of the document that are left unanswered. Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 6

7 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies Social Studies, Grade 4. (b) Knowledge and skills. (21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States and Texas; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify different points of view about an issue, topic, historical event, or current event; and (E) use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs. (22) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication; (C) express ideas orally based on research and experiences; (D) create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies; and (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation Social Studies, Grade 5. (b) Knowledge and skills. (24) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; documents; and artifacts to acquire information about the United States; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information in outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify different points of view about an issue, topic, or current event; and (E) identify the historical context of an event. (25) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication; (C) express ideas orally based on research and experiences; (D) create written and visual material such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies; and (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation Social Studies, Grade 6. (b) Knowledge and skills. (21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software; interviews; biographies; oral, print, and visual material; and artifacts to acquire information about various world cultures; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify different points of view about an issue or current topic; (E) identify the elements of frame of reference that influenced participants in an event; and (F) use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs. (22) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) incorporate main and supporting ideas in verbal and written communication based on research; (C) express ideas orally based on research and experiences; (D) create written and visual material Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 7

8 such as journal entries, reports, graphic organizers, outlines, and bibliographies based on research; (E) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation; and (F) use proper citations to avoid plagiarism Social Studies, Grade 7. (b) Knowledge and skills. (21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about Texas; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference that influenced the participants; (E) support a point of view on a social studies issue or event; (F) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material; (G) evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author; and (H) use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs. (22) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and proper citation of sources; (C) transfer information from one medium to another, including written to visual and statistical to written or visual, using computer software as appropriate; and (D) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information Social Studies, Grade 8. (b) Knowledge and skills. (29) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired through established research methodologies from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) differentiate between, locate, and use valid primary and secondary sources such as computer software, databases, media and news services, biographies, interviews, and artifacts to acquire information about the United States; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (C) organize and interpret information from outlines, reports, databases, and visuals, including graphs, charts, timelines, and maps; (D) identify points of view from the historical context surrounding an event and the frame of reference which influenced the participants; (E) support a point of view on a social studies issue or event; (F) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material; (G) evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author; (H) use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs; (I) create thematic maps, graphs, charts, models, and databases representing various aspects of the United States; and (J) pose and answer questions about geographic distributions and patterns shown on maps, graphs, charts, models, and databases. (30) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and proper citation of sources; (C) transfer information from one medium to another, including written to visual and statistical to written or visual, using computer software as appropriate; and (D) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information United States History Studies Since 1877 (One Credit). (b) Knowledge and skills. (29) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) use a variety of both primary and secondary valid sources to acquire information and to analyze and answer historical questions; (B) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 8

9 identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing and contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations, making predictions, drawing inferences, and drawing conclusions; (C) understand how historians interpret the past (historiography) and how their interpretations of history may change over time; (D) use the process of historical inquiry to research, interpret, and use multiple types of sources of evidence; (E) evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author, including points of view, frames of reference, and historical context; (F) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material; (G) identify and support with historical evidence a point of view on a social studies issue or event; and (H) use appropriate skills to analyze and interpret social studies information such as maps, graphs, presentations, speeches, lectures, and political cartoons. (30) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information; (B) use correct social studies terminology to explain historical concepts; and (C) use different forms of media to convey information, including written to visual and statistical to written or visual, using available computer software as appropriate. (31) Social studies skills. The student uses geographic tools to collect, analyze, and interpret data. The student is expected to: (A) create thematic maps, graphs, and charts representing various aspects of the United States; and (B) pose and answer questions about geographic distributions and patterns shown on maps, graphs, charts, and available databases World History Studies (One Credit). (b) Knowledge and skills. (29) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) identify methods used by archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, and geographers to analyze evidence; (B) explain how historians, when examining sources, analyze frame of reference, historical context, and point of view to interpret historical events; (C) explain the differences between primary and secondary sources and examine those sources to analyze frame of reference, historical context, and point of view; (D) evaluate the validity of a source based on language, corroboration with other sources, and information about the author; (E) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material; (F) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, drawing inferences and conclusions, and developing connections between historical events over time; (G) construct a thesis on a social studies issue or event supported by evidence; and (H) use appropriate reading and mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs. (30) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation; (C) interpret and create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information; and (D) transfer information from one medium to another World Geography Studies (One Credit). (b) Knowledge and skills. (21) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) analyze and evaluate the validity and utility of multiple sources of geographic information such as primary and secondary sources, aerial photographs, and maps; (B) locate places of contemporary geopolitical significance on a map; and (C) create and interpret different types of maps to answer geographic questions, infer relationships, and analyze change. (22) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) design and draw appropriate graphics such as maps, diagrams, tables, and graphs to communicate geographic features, distributions, and relationships; (B) generate summaries, generalizations, and thesis statements supported by evidence; (C) use geographic terminology correctly; (D) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation; and (E) create original work using proper citations and understanding and avoiding plagiarism. Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 9

10 United States Government (One Credit). (b) Knowledge and skills. (20) Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to: (A) analyze information by sequencing, categorizing, identifying cause-and-effect relationships, comparing, contrasting, finding the main idea, summarizing, making generalizations and predictions, and drawing inferences and conclusions; (D) analyze and evaluate the validity of information, arguments, and counterarguments from primary and secondary sources for bias, propaganda, point of view, and frame of reference; (F) use appropriate mathematical skills to interpret social studies information such as maps and graphs. (21) Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to: (A) use social studies terminology correctly; (B) use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation; (C) transfer information from one medium to another, including written to visual and statistical to written or visual, using computer software as appropriate; and (D) create written, oral, and visual presentations of social studies information. Institute of Texan Cultures 2016 Written Document Analysis 10

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