Primary Source Scavenger Hunt

Recently, I asked my US History students to use the Research EduProtocol to locate a primary source on an aspect of the Gilded Age. Only four out of twenty-five or 16% of my 11th grade students did this successfully.

What I love about using EduProtocols is that they simplify learning and make the results extremely visible. In this case, the indisputable visual evidence looked like this. There was lots of red and plenty of room for improvement. EduProtocols to the rescue.

The next day, these students were asked to do a Thick Slide where they were asked to find an academic definition of a primary source.

Then they had to write a C-E-R to explain their rationale. Most quickly realized that they had not curated a primary source. I didn’t need to tell them. They now knew the area they needed to improve in.

After this, students were ready for another rep to try again. This time twelve out of twenty-six or 46% of students were able accurately curate a primary source. This was an increase of 30%, which is not bad considering that I have five students or 19% who refuse to engage in any work. Plus, an additional two students were absent.

At this point I am wondering how many reps I would need to give these students before 90% or more could accurately curate their own primary source. Of course, the reason history teachers ask their students to interpret primary sources is to move them up to strategic and extended thinking levels, also known as DOK3 & DOK4. I’m thinking that the ParaFLY EduProtocol would be the next logical step. Do you ask students to curate their own primary sources? Do you use established curators like Gilder Lehrman, the Library of Congress or Reading Like A Historian from the Stanford History Education Group? Do you do all the heavy lifting and find your own primary sources? Would adding student choice increase motivation in the interpretation of primary sources?