Back to School Icebreaker: A Museum About Me

It’s back to school time and what better way to learn about your new students than having them bring in their own primary sources? For the first day, share with the class no more than five sources about yourself, e.g. a grocery receipt, an old photo, and a favorite book. For the second day, students will bring in the same number of sources about themselves to create a “Museum About Me.” Students will create a museum at their desk using their artifacts so students can visit each other’s museum. 

Students will then ask questions about each other’s museums using sticky notes – be sure they don’t ask the same question twice. After everyone writes down their questions, have students go back and read them silently. Students will then categorize their questions into open or closed with guiding a discussion about what makes a good question. Then, each student will answer just one of those open questions either as a short writing assignment or out loud in class.

The rest of the open questions go in their notebook to use when they need something to write about, e.g. during freewriting.

Students will enjoy learning about other students as well as sneaking in analytical thinking and question skills!

Check out the Teacher Guides and Analysis Tool at the Library of Congress for help inserting primary sources into your lesson plans.

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