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'Iolani School Archives: Building Community & Place-based Learning

The ‘Iolani School Archives collects, organizes, preserves and provides access to historical records of ‘Iolani School.

Above steps by the National Archives

Teaching with Primary Sources

*Also see the Teaching and Primary Sources box in the Links tab of this guide.

                Content disclaimer

Building Community & Place-based Learning

K-1 Faculty!

As you continue your lessons related to building community for our youngest members, please consider this activity as a means of integrating primary source materials and place-based learning. It introduces students to a primary source photograph while promoting teamwork and observation.
The following is primarily intended to compliment your existing teaching units.


Grade: K-1; can be modified for other grades.


Location: Classroom (Archives visit not needed) / Adaptable for Distance Learning.
(See attachments below.)



  • Sheet protectors a.k.a. document sleeves
  • dry-erase markers, 1 for each student, half red and half green
  • photograph copies, half the number of students




  • Select photograph(s) from below. Recommendation: do not exceed 3 images.
  • Make enough copies for half the number of student in the class (1 for every 2 students)
  • Place photograph copies inside sheet protectors




  • Divide the students into pairs (groups of 2).
  • Give pairs a photograph copy that has already been inserted into a sheet protector.
  • Give each pair a red and a green dry-erase marker.
  • Explain to the students that they will be working with their partner to find similarities and differences in the students and classrooms in the photograph as compared to their own. In each pair, the student with the green marker will circle the things that are the same; the student with the red marker will circle the things that are different.
  • Allow time for the students to work as a pair.
  • Call attention back as a group
  • Display/Project the photograph in front of the class and invite each pair to share something they found with the whole class.
    Encourage discussion.
    • OBSERVE - I see ___
    • REFLECT - I think ___
    • QUESTION - I wonder ___
  • If more than one photograph was used, repeat for each image.
    Recommendation: do not exceed 3 images.


Photographs from the 'Iolani School Archives:

Ala Wai Campus (current campus) - Photographs of kindergarten boys and girls in school year 1985/86.

Nu'uanu Campus: Boys in classrooms at a previous campus of 'Iolani School.


Alternative Activity - Group Flash Analysis:

With the above or other photographs.

  • Display/Project the photograph in front of the class. Ask:
    What do you see in the photograph?
    • people
    • clothing
    • activities
    • technology
    • landscape
    • buildings
  • Encourage discussion.
    • OBSERVE - I see ___
    • REFLECT - I think ___
    • QUESTION - I wonder ___


Photograph Based Questions - Examining Primary Sources:

  • What do you see? / What do you notice?
  • What is the same as ___ (now, your classroom, etc.)?
  • What is different?
  • What seems important?
  • What seems unusual?
  • What do you think is happening in the photo?
  • What questions do you have about this photo?
  • What questions do you have for the person who took the photo?

Important Questions

(Click to enlarge.)

(Click to enlarge.)