From Teaching California: This inquiry set is the first time that students are introduced to the vocabulary term and concept of primary sources (in comparison to secondary sources). As the framework text details, primary sources shape students’ own lives, heritages, and family identities, and they can serve as an entry point for students’ broader learning about the richness of source material.
While the Teaching California set incorporates photographs and documents that help to illustrate the ways that families remember their pasts, this corresponding Theme draws upon the wealth of home movies digitized by California Revealed to show some of the different ways that families have documented themselves using amateur motion picture equipment. The home movies collected here span the 20th century and offer a uniquely intimate view of family life.
Teachers might ask students to consider who made these home movies, what kinds of activities they were interested in showing, what these kinds of family documents can tell us about their historical moment, and how home movies have changed with the advent of digital media. While some of these materials may be more appropriate for older grade levels than the corresponding Teaching California Inquiry Set, we hope this sampling will be of interest to any California educators looking to incorporate primary source materials into their teaching of state and local history.