Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is it okay to adapt primary sources for different learners? How?

As students progress through grade levels, standards consistently ask students to analyze primary sources to understand the past.  Unfortunately, the content assigned to 5th grade is typically early American history, and the content assigned to 6th grade is typically early cultures of the Western Hemisphere up through nations and cultures within the present.  Teachers frequently find themselves wondering, "How do I support students in their use of primary sources when they are either too complex or they contain difficult language that reflects eras in the past?"  This leads teachers to wonder if it is appropriate to modify a primary source so that its content is accessible for the learners engaging in the content. While our intent is to stay true to history, it IS acceptable to adapt a primary source while maintaining the historic message and perspective communicated within the source.  For a deeper explanation, take a look at this post from titled Adapting Documents for the Classroom: Equity and Access

Go ahead...adapt a primary source...make historical thinking happen!

Added May 28, 2013 (Article: DESCRIBE - A Strategy for Making Text-Based Primary Sources More Accessible, from the Library of Congress)

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