Modifications and Extensions

Often lessons are right for one level of your students, but you may feel that some children could benefit from some adaptations. The following suggestions are for use with primary source based lessons. --Rebecca Zimmerman, SALEM in History Master Teacher, 2005



v    In delivery of lessons…

     *Provide paraphrasing or “interpretation” of the text alongside the original language

     *Supplement vocabulary – provide a word bank, preteach vocab, insert footnotes

      *Isolate the material – mask or highlight particular sections

      *Change the background material’s reading level

      *Scaffold onto previous experiences, either the students’ or previous lessons

      *Read with a partner – think, pair, share

      *Use graphic organizers, templates, models


v    In activities for students…

      *Work in groups or pairs – jigsaw activities, become the “expert”

      *Provide alternate assessments – oral delivery, reduce amount of items to be completed (every other question) – boil it down to the essentials!

      *Break up material – have students sequence using index cards, timelines, etc.

      *Relate to sensory observations – but always link back to argument questions (it’s not just about observation)

      *Use technology – provide students with alphasmarts or computers for writing


v     Have a look at lower level material and lessons.
How can you adapt easier material yet challenge students at your grade level cognitively?
Up the ante. Encourage critical observation. (Ask your students, “What’s left out of this material? Why?”)


v    Ideas for independent learners or groups…

      *Develop illustrated timelines

      *Stage a tableaux

      * Write a drama, or a scene of what happened before the event, or what will happen after (works particularly well with pictures or photos)

      *Explore other contexts – contemporary music, art, political cartoons, drama, poetry, themes (ex. Social reform, fashion, military, etc) that relate to the primary source in some way

     * Advertise – write a news show, ad copy, poster, news article, editorial

      *Create a book or study group

     * Student created worksheet, test, picture book (include bibliography)

      *Re-create the primary source – students put their own spin on an object, ad etc.

      *Utilize technology – create a power point, annotated hotlist, webquest, imovie

      *Immortalize it – create a “museum” catalog entry, or a monument to commemorate the primary source or event


created by Rebecca Zimmerman (2005)