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NCHE Session V – Graphic organizers and primary sources

The finish line is in sight. Last session. Great day so far. Met a ton of new people and have had the chance to re-connect with old friends.

Deb Brown and Amanda Jesse, an old friend and a new friend, from the Shawnee Mission, Kansas district are sharing a wide variety of great graphic organizers to help kids make sense of history stuff. Some really nice stuff here.

Primary sources belong to everyone. Not just the smart kids.

I like that. They also stress the idea that they want

kids to read like a detective and write like an investigative reporter.

They call their graphic organizers “pathway strategies” and shared eight different types for a variety of primary / secondary sources. I included a basic overview of each, at least an idea of what the acronym stands for.

POSERS  – visuals, photos, paintings

  • People
  • Objects
  • Setting – place and/or time
  • Engagement / Action
  • Relationships
  • Summary

They suggest using a cheap magnifying glass for kids up to 8th grade and maybe even high school.

We want kids to think of themselves as detectives. What better way to do that than to give them a magnifying glass?

They used a photo from 1878 highlighting a buffalo skin dealer and John Gast’s Manifest Destiny painting.

MUSEUMS – artifacts and objects

  • Materials
  • Used by
  • Setting
  • Exact Description
  • Used for
  • Modern equivalent
  • Significance / Story of the artifact

They demonstrated the process using the artifact below excavated at the Jamestown site. Any guesses?

LUKCAS – Charts and graphs

  • Label
  • Units
  • Key
  • Content
  • Assumptions or attitudes
  • Summary


  • Title
  • Orientation
  • Author
  • Date
  • Scale
  • Key
  • Insets / Index

SOAPS grades 4-6 / APPARTS middle school and high school – Documents


  • Source
  • Occasion
  • Audience
  • Purpose
  • Speaker


  • Author
  • Place and Time
  • Prior Knowledge
  • Audience
  • Reason
  • The Main Idea
  • Significance

SPRITES – Events

  • Settings
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Intellectual
  • Technology
  • Economic
  • Summary

TACOS – cartoons

  • Time
  • Action
  • Caption
  • Objects
  • Summary

Some awesome stuff! And a great way to end a very long day.

(The artifact from Jamestown? A luxury item used by the rich to clean out earwax and pick their teeth.)

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I would like to say that this is very good site for graphic organizers …They have very good ideas for kids …I bookmark this site …Thanks for this….

    April 7, 2012

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  1. Ford Institute and Best Practices: Part II – Graphic Organizers & VoiceThread | History Tech

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