Using primary sources will give your lesson depth and help your students develop valuable critical thinking skills. Graphic organizers are a great tool for guiding students through primary source analysis.  

DASH Graphic Organizer for use with text sources:

Student Copy                         

Teacher’s Guide to DASH  

Image Analysis Graphic Organizer:

Student Copy                         

Teacher’s Guide to Image Analysis:  The Teacher’s Guides can also be used by students who miss the lesson in class or need extra cues when working independently.

Other Graphic Organizers and Analysis Worksheets:

National Archives:  The National Archives has developed a number of source specific analysis worksheets.  

Document Analysis Worksheet

Image analysis worksheet

Worksheet for analyzing multiple related images

Lesson Plans and Best Practices:

Cropping Tools: Lesson plan from on how to analyze images using “cropping tools” Excellent lesson that combines good critical thinking with kinesthetic learning

Think Aloud:  Excellent guide for doing a think aloud on a primary source from

Primary Source Adaptation:  Guide for adapting primary sources to make them more accessible for students including examples for middle and high school students

Read Aloud/Think About:  Best practices lesson from on using read aloud/think aloud 

Class Discussion:  Best practices lesson from on leading a class discussion based on documents

Engaging Strategy:  Strategy for engaging students with primary sources through written comments

Connection Stategy:   Strategy for helping students make connections with text based sources 

Other useful links for students:

Learner Game:  Online game on analyzing sources

Primary Sources Introduction:  Introduction to primary sources for students