Library Digital Content Access

Introduction of primary sources: A Personal Primary Source Shoebox (Lesson 5)

Created By: Debbie Hohulin, Gibson City Melvin Sibley Elementary School (Gibson City, IL)
Grade Level: 1st
Content Area: Social Studies, Language Arts, Fine Arts, Technology
Database Integration: Students will learn about the TDC database, and use it for a final project.

Background information for the teacher:

Main page to access TDC database.

Students can learn to recognize primary resources in their own lives by creating personal archives. The following activity is adapted from Using Archival Materials by Ellen Chesnut on the website: and I have adapted it even more.


The children will need to bring most of these materials to class before the day of the lesson. I would have already shown them my box and the things I have in it to give them ideas.

From home: A decorated shoe box with lid. Photographs of self and family. Favorite small toy that will fit in the shoebox. A letter or card sent to them that shows their home address or draw a map of where you live. A wrapper from your favorite candy. Anything else that they would want in the shoebox.

In class: play-doh, piper cleaners, self-portrait page, pencils.



Students will learn to recognize primary sources in their own lives by creating these personal primary resource shoeboxes. They will continue to be exposed to the terms: artifacts, letters, photographs, etc. as primary sources and the idea that websites, like the TDC are places they can go to find them.


Changes for next lesson:

Lesson Plans in this Unit: