Wednesday, January 2, 2008

PowerPoints with Art/Photos as Primary Sources

Happy New Year!

As teachers, we are always pressed for time. Here’s a tip with a lot of bang for the buck. It combines a great teacher created site containing excellent PowerPoints with another site that has countless ways to not only incorporate but analyze primary sources, especially photographs.

During one of the technology workshops from Year One of the Encounters and Exchanges in U.S. History grant, I was introduced to (see link below) This site was created and is meticulously maintained by Ms. Susan M. Pojer, a High School AP History teacher at the Horace Greely High School in Chappaqua, New York. This home page offers thousands of links to newspapers, writing guides, government information, online references, and more. I have found her online collection of PowerPoints extremely useful. She has titled it PowerPoint Palooza. (see link below) She has hundreds of PowerPoints already created. I have contacted her and asked for permission to use them. She graciously emailed back and simply asked to be credited as the creator. I teach at the Middle School level, so I usually edit her PowerPoints to suit my needs.

One of my favorite PowerPoints from Ms. Pojer’s collection focuses on the Italian Renaissance. I often use art and pictures in my class as teaching tools, as they are great ways to utilize primary sources. There are many methods and templates for using and analyzing primary sources. I was introduced to a new site recently by Pat Fontaine, Professor of Education at UMass Lowell, who is working with the TAH grant. offers an online primary source handbook. (see link below) The handbook has useful links for teachers just beginning to use primary sources, while also offering new ideas and templates for teachers who are already familiar with primary sources. The handbook contains lesson ideas, best practices, teaching materials, LibraryQuests, and a host of other gems. I found the most useful teaching materials on the site to be analysis worksheets including: Photograph Analysis Worksheet, Map Analysis Worksheet and Music Analysis Worksheet.
PrimarySourceLearning Handbook