Analyzing Primary Sources: Sensory Exploration


The sensory exploration graphic organizer is a great way to introduce students, especially younger ones, to primary source analysis. It also helps with vocabulary development. Encourage students to write words in each column for each sense or allow them to draw pictures. After, you may have students create a poem of their choice using the words they brainstormed; they may choose to write the poem from the point of view of someone outside the image or from a person, animal, or thing inside the image. If students drew images, have them combine their images into a pictograph to which they will add spoken word.

Below are four images teachers at the CPS Summer Literacy Institute used in conjunction with the sensory exploration graphic organizer.

Adjie and the lionsAdjie and the lions Teddy Roosevelt at circusTeddy Roosevelt at circus
Bostock's trained animals -- An affectionate bearBostock’s trained animals — An affectionate bear Society CircusSociety Circus

How might you use the sensory exploration graphic organizer?

If you implement this activity, please share the images you used and the poems the students created!

More primary source analysis strategies