Start off with the pre-built episodes. It might make sense to kick things off with the "What Are Primary Sources?" episode. Teachers will definitely want to check out the teacher's guide beforehand, because it has a lot of helpful supports that can be used to scaffold and extend instruction. The guides include essential questions, curricular connections to National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, historical background, citations for the primary sources, additional material suggestions for teachers, and more.
When it comes time for students to do the activities, they should have no trouble following along themselves and working independently (or in pairs). Take note that there are toggles for turning off or on the on-screen text and audio for the narration as well as allowing the user to click past the audio. Make sure students are aware of these options and use them if needed.
For teachers who really take to the platform, there's a way to make your own episodes by going through the interactive Getting Started guide. You can delve deep into history, connecting students with people or events from the past, or you can create episodes based on current events. Include photos, videos, maps, charts, and other types of resources, and design end-of-lesson activities to get students to connect closely with the material. Your episodes can then be shared with your students instantly.Continue reading Show less
KidCitizen gets students to analyze primary source photographs from the Library of Congress. Students are meant to think critically about -- and interact with -- the photographs to deepen their understanding of the images, what they represent, and how they apply to the past and present. Along the way, students answer questions like "Why did Congress pass child labor laws to protect children long ago?" by studying photographs, collecting images and words in a journal, and then applying what they've gathered and learned during interactive activities.
There are about six pre-built episodes, with several more labeled "Coming Soon" -- although it's unclear when. The episodes dig into what primary sources are while exploring topics like community helpers, child labor, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. flag. There's some light interactivity: clicking on clues in images, sorting photos into categories, and making posters. Students build visual literacy, critical thinking skills, and historical familiarity throughout. Beyond the included episodes, teachers have access to an editor where they can modify episodes or build their own, creating brand-new material relevant to their curriculum.
KidCitizen helps students connect with material, making it -- as well as historical inquiry and the use of primary sources -- approachable. The pre-built episodes drive students to study primary sources that they can relate to, emphasizing attention to detail, curiosity, and drawing informed conclusions about the source subjects. Students also collect clues about the sources in a journal, all the while thinking about what it is they're seeing. They then use/demonstrate what they've learned in an activity at the end of each episode. These activities aren't too sophisticated, lacking some engagement, feedback, creativity, and higher-order thinking, but they teach attention to detail and history fairly well. KidCitizen is also trying -- and mostly succeeding -- at adapting these historical inquiry skills for the K-5 target audience (where they're often not addressed). And while the content is currently limited, teachers can create episodes in any topic on any level, so it's also fairly open-ended for other learning possibilities.
Key Standards Supported
Speaking & Listening
Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about the topics and texts under discussion.
Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Pose and respond to specific questions to clarify or follow up on information, and make comments that contribute to the discussion and link to the remarks of others.
Review the key ideas expressed and explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others.
Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions.
Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
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