Primary source images are great resources for integrating language arts with social studies. The activities below were designed around the grade 2 Common Core State Standards for writing. These second-grade writing prompts and activity ideas build on the K-1 writing prompts and activities.
1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because,and,also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
Give this picture a title and describe why you chose that title. Do you like this picture? Why or why not?
What story does this picture tell? Would you give the story a thumbs up or a thumbs down? Why?
Image Review: Think about this picture as a story and write a review of it, just like a book review. Be sure to include your recommendation for “reading” this story or not.
2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
What is this topic or story that this picture tells? Why do you think that? What details in the picture support your thinking?
What is this topic or story that this picture tells? Is this picture happy or sad? What details in the picture support your thinking?
What is this topic or story that this picture tells? Is this picture old or new? What details in the picture support your thinking?
List all of the _________ that you see. What makes them different or the same? How do they relate to the picture’s topic or story?
3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
What do you think the people in this picture are saying? Tell their story in the order that it happened.
What do you think the objects in this picture are thinking? Tell their story in the order that it happened.
If you could talk to someone/something in this picture, what would you say? Why did you choose to say that?
Tell a story of what happened before this picture was taken.
Tell a story of what happens next in this picture.
Imagine you are in this picture. Tell how you came into this picture, what happened while you were in it, and how or why you left.
In this picture, what if ___________? Tell the story in the order that it happened.
Production and Distribution of Writing
4. (begins in grade 3)
5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
Provide students with feedback (teacher or peer) on one of the prompts.
6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
Publish images and student responses on a blog or using slide presentation software.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
Give student pairs or groups a starting point on a map and a series of cardinal directions, challenging them to identify a specific end location. Then have students create their own cardinal direction challenges.
Choose a theme from a Social Science 3.0 unit. For an idea on how to implement the activity see the Library of Congress Professional Development Builder: Connecting with Primary Sources module found in the Teachers section of the Library website.
8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Ask students to describe how a picture relates to their own lives.
Ask students to describe how a picture relates to a theme or unit that you teach.