Revisiting the First Day

Revisiting the First Day

I was lucky enough to be part of a panel at the AHA last week that talked about formative assessment – assessment that provides an instructor with an opportunity to see what students are learning and provide them with feedback mid-stream, usually separate from the act of awarding a grade. I talked about SOCC, a structured way of teaching my students how to analyze primary sources that doubles as a formative assessment method. You can read all about the panel [here] at Inside HigherEd, and you can read more about using SOCC [in this post] and find the most up-to-date SOCC sheets [here].

In describing my approach to primary-source analysis, I talked about a first day exercise I undertake, where I share a packet of previously unseen primary sources with my students (usually visual sources), and ask them to write the story the sources tell. You can read all about how to implement this first-day exercise [here] on my blog, or [here] in James Lang’s excellent Chronicle piece on making the first day of class matter.

Key to making that first class exercise work is having primary source packets at your fingertips. They’re pretty easy to make, but they take time that many people just don’t have. So I wanted to re-share links to the packets I created a while ago, as well as new links to packets created by other professors. (If you have a packet you’d like to share with people, please let me know! I would be happy to host it for you, with credit.) Below you’ll find links to packets on the Cuban Missile Crisis, the American Revolution, the Early Medieval Period in England, Ireland, and Scotland, the French Invasion of Algiers, and the French Revolution. I hope that these are helpful to people!

[Cuban Missile Crisis Packet by Cate Denial]

[American Revolution Packet by Cate Denial]

[The Early Medieval Period in England, Ireland, and Scotland by Yvonne Seale of SUNY-Geneseo]

The next several packets, by Jennifer Sessions, are built around a set of core sources. For just the core sources, choose packet A. For the core sources PLUS an extra source that you can distribute to some small groups and not others (and thereby get into a discussion of archival practices) choose packet B or C.

[French Invasion of Algiers Packet A by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia]

[French Invasion of Algiers Packet B by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia – contains an extra source for facilitating a discussion of archival practices]

[French Invasion of Algiers Packet C by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia – contains a different extra source]

[French Revolution Packet A by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia]

[French Revolution Packet B by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia – contains an extra source on women for facilitating a discussion of archival practices]

[French Revolution Packet C by Jennifer Sessions of the University of Virginia – contains a different extra source on enslavement]

One thought on “Revisiting the First Day

  1. Thanks to all of you for sharing the packets–they are very useful to help me visualize your first-day exercise, Cate.

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