Integrating Tech: Let’s Recap & Primary Source Analysis

Using Recap for Primary Source Analysis

This is a guest post from veteran teacher Heather Klos, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher and the Social Studies department chair at Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas.

Primary sources are one of the most valuable tools we have as social studies teachers.  What better way to incorporate primary sources for the 21st century learner than through the use of technology.  This year I discovered Recap and realized quickly that this could be a powerful tool in the analysis process for my students.  Recap requires video response and provides on-the-spot self-assessment. I have used Recap for formative assessment several times but my favorite way to use Recap is for primary source analysis.

When using Recap for analysis purposes I provide my students with excerpts from key documents, photographs, political cartoons and/or paintings.  I generally have the students work with these provided primary sources in small groups using stations and guided questions to spark initial thinking and help students categorize their learning.  Once students have worked through the questions, stations, or discussion they are asked to sign in to their Recap account where they will find questions about the primary sources they have used in class.

I always require students to read aloud on the Recap the primary source before analyzing so that I can see if there are certain keywords or phrases that they struggle with when reading.  Once they have read the document they are asked to analyze the document or to respond to a higher-level question stem I provide.

Teachers are able to view the completed videos and comment back and forth with the students over their response.  You can use the comments to extend learning or reteach concepts.  Moreover, I love being able to watch my students work through their thought processes on video, which often allows me to specifically pinpoint where they struggled to grasp the concept.

Using a tool my students are familiar with, such as video response, provides a level of comfort when they are using text from primary source documents.  Students are able to find a way to relate to the message in found within the text.