Teaching with Primary Sources in a Virtual Setting


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Overview and Purpose


The purpose of this course is to provide educators with different resources to effectively teach with primary sources in a virtual setting. This course will assist educators in delivering meaningful lessons and activities even while in remote or hybrid settings, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of this course, you will be creating your own virtual gallery walk. The course consists of 3 units that prepare you to complete this task. The first unit focuses on getting you aquatinted with the basic functionality of various Google platforms. The second unit focuses on designing effective learning objectives and selecting a topic for your upcoming virtual gallery walk. The final unit is where you will complete and submit your virtual gallery walk. You will be provided with an exemplar as a model, as well as a rubric to refer to. At the end of the final unit, you will complete a self reflection of the virtual gallery walk that you created.

Needs Assessment

Instructional Problem: The COVID-19 epidemic prompted schools to transition to remote instruction. Even now that certain school districts are giving students the option to return to in-person learning, a large number of students are still opting to finish out the year remotely, or at least in a hybrid setting. Social studies teachers must be able to adapt their instruction to online learning. Veteran teachers are often used to reusing their lessons year after year. Since remote learning has been put in place, this has proved difficult to do, if not impossible. Therefore, this course aims to provide social studies teachers with the knowledge and resources to create engaging, rigorous, culturally relevant, standards-based lessons and activities that can be used in a virtual setting. Even after the pandemic ends, possessing the skills that will be obtained from this course is still a benefit to social studies teachers, given that they are teaching a generation of students who have grown up with technology their entire lives.

Nature of What is Being Learned: Social studies teachers will learn how to utilize Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Forms in order to adapt their instruction of primary sources to a virtual setting. They will ultimately be creating their own virtual gallery walk.

Gathering Data: In order to assess the need for this mini-course, I conducted a survey among social studies teachers to gather data in regard to the subject. The social studies teachers who were surveyed included other teachers at my school, as well as current teachers who were my peers throughout my undergraduate degree. In total, I received 11 responses. You can find my survey synthesis ''here''.

Performance Objectives

Unit 1

  • LWBAT understand how to use various Google applications in relation to primary source activities.
  • LWBAT create a graphic organizer using Google Docs

Unit 2

  • LWBAT create learning objectives that promote higher order thinking skills and are aligned to the gallery walk activity that they will create in Unit 3.
  • SWBAT determine a historical topic for the virtual gallery walk activity they will create in Unit 3.

Unit 3

  • LWBAT create a virtual gallery walk utilizing Google Docs and/or Google Slides that promotes higher order thinking skills in relation to the content at hand.
  • LWBAT self-evaluate their virtual gallery walk utilizing the provided rubric.

Course Units

References and Resources

Garcia, Patricia. “Accessing Archives: Teaching with Primary Sources in K–12 Classrooms.” The American Archivist, vol. 80, no. 1, 2017, pp. 189–212. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26356726

Gormly, B., Seale, M., Alpert-Abrams, H., Gustavson, A., Kemp, A., Lindquist, T., & Logsdon, A. (2019). Teaching with Digital Primary Sources: Literacies, Finding and Evaluating, Citing, Ethics, and Existing Models. #DLFteach. https://doi.org/10.21428/65a6243c.6b419f2b

Hicks, Troy, and Kristen Hawley Turner. “No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can't Wait.” The English Journal, vol. 102, no. 6, 2013, pp. 58–65. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24484127

Morgan, Denise N., and Timothy V. Rasinski. “THE POWER AND POTENTIAL OF PRIMARY SOURCES.” The Reading Teacher, vol. 65, no. 8, 2012, pp. 584–594. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41853136

NYSED. K-12 Social Studies Framework. New York State Education Department. http://www.nysed.gov/curriculum-instruction/k-12-social-studies-framework.

Spindler, Matt. “Collaborative Analysis and Revision of Learning Objectives.” NACTA Journal, vol. 59, no. 2, 2015, pp. 111–115. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/nactajournal.59.2.111

Teachings in Education. (2018, January 18). Writing Lesson Objectives for Classroom Teachers [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS5wMv_ILXE

WeTeachNYC, NYC Department of Education. Social studies scope and sequence: Grades K-8. WeTeachNYC. https://www.weteachnyc.org/resources/resource/social-studies-scope-and-sequence-grades-k-8/.

WeTeachNYC, NYC Department of Education. Social studies scope and sequence: Grades 9-12. WeTeachNYC. https://www.weteachnyc.org/resources/resource/social-studies-scope-and-sequence-grades-9-12/.