Multiple Perspectives on the Past

Historical Thinking Skill: Multiple Perspectives

Writing Skill: Using evidence in an explanation

Consider the many different experiences of school-aged children during a single period in history. Although many local children shared the experience of attending a school, children all over New England (and beyond) experienced home, community, and school in a wide variety of ways.


This can be done individually with each student having  this document, which has all the photos with captions, or in small groups with printed sets of the photos.

Note: All of these photographs were taken in roughly the same time period: 1910-15

Students examine the photos, taking 2-3 minutes to look at each photograph silently, using the photograph analysis guide.

Students sort the photos into categories of their own choosing that offer different perspectives on children’s lives at the turn of the century. They do not have to use all the photos. Categories could include: “school,” “African American children,” “work,” “city school,” “rural school,” or “recess/play.”

Label categories with a sticky note.

Share categories and explain why each image fits into the category. Students should be sure to use evidence from the photographs in their explanations. In small groups or as a class, choose at least two categories and consider what perspective the children in each category might have about work or school.