Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Amazing Historical Photographs for World History--Provides Visual Context For ELLs

Visuals are a must with any student--especially ELLs.  History is a subject where photographs and historical videos can add context with ease to a lesson.  They are a must for any class with ELLs because they assist the students in attaching images to what the teacher is saying.  Heavy lecture without the footage or pictures can turn a 55 minute class into a 4 hour one for those students, and, to make matters worse, ELLs will understand very little due to being inundated with language that is for the most part inaccessible to them.

Below are two links with amazing photos that would easily supplement any lesson on world history.   A word of caution though is needed here.  Some shots from WWII and the Vietnam War might be a bit graphic for some students so get parent approval before showing them in class.

Some ideas for using these photos are:


1.  Man's footstep on the moon:  Write a reflective journal entry as the astronaut.  Address what it must have felt like to stand on another world.

OR  What do you think alien life forms will think about when they see the photograph of a human family on the moon?

2.   Howard Carter examining the tomb of King Tut.  Describe the contents of the tomb.  Why is this discovery important?  What do you think Howard Carter is thinking?


1.  Photograph #4 shows a mob lynching of 2 young black men before the Civil Rights Movement.  If To Kill A Mockingbird is the novel students are working on, this might a photo to underscore the message of the time--racial prejudice in its ugliest form. 

Question:  Think about the ending of the book.  How could a jury convict an innocent man?  Using the photo and your knowledge of the book, explain how this was a common event of the time.  Address the ugliest of prejudice against anyone and why it must be stopped.

2.  Photograph #14 shows people running from a napalm attack.  The young girl survived and still remembers that day. 

Question:  Was the use of this type of weapon justifiable?  Should the use of biological warfare ever be used in the future?

I hope your students have the opportunity to explore the past with this material.  It attaches a human face to the events and therefore makes it easier to remember.



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