�Reading� Artifacts and Visuals

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					                          “Reading” Artifacts and Visuals

Today’s students live in an age in which they are continually bombarded with visuals, images,
and information. While students may be receivers of these visual images, they may not
necessarily understand the meaning of what they are seeing. Teachers may support and assist
students in the process of using artifacts and visuals as tools for learning. Gleaning information
from artifacts and visuals, particularly since these may take the form of primary sources or
“documents,” becomes a critical skill for students in the area of social studies.

Effective instruction for leading students through the process of reading visual imagery involves
keeping the process simple, yet making instruction powerful by:
 providing the students with multiple opportunities to interact with artifacts and visuals
 scaffolding questions for students that will provide them the supports to critically read,
   interpret, and analyze artifacts and visuals
 providing students with multiple opportunities to discuss and write about their interactions
   with artifacts and visuals

A CD, developed by and available through the Greece Central School District Office of
Technology Integration and the Office of Social Studies contains digital images for the study of
American History. These electronic images may be used to provide students with learning
experiences in the “reading” of visual images, and are available for the following areas of study:
 Native Americans of New York State
 Three Worlds Meet in the Americas
 Colonial and Revolutionary Periods
 New Nation and Government
 The Erie Canal

Appendix A contains analysis sheets with questions that may be used to scaffold the learning
for students as they interact with various documents types including the following:
 artifacts
 cartoons
 maps
 photographs
 posters
 written documents
 sound recordings

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