Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Textbook Editor
Robert Brosseau
U.S. History
Time Frame:
2-3 days
Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972
Presidential Duties and Responsibilities
Analyzing Primary Sources

Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:
  • Combined classwork & homework assignment, students will be creating an individual textbook page to describe the administration of President Truman.  Their job will be to choose which primary source images to include and to use the remaining exhibits of the library to describe the rest of his tenure.

  • to give students practice using primary sources
  • to force students to make choices and then explain those choices regarding what is most important during a specific historical time period.  

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • Common Core:  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH 11-12.1, 2 , 3, 6, 7 , 8, and 10.
  • Common Core:  CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL 11-12.1 and 2. 

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Technology Required:
  • Computer Lab or individual computers to create textbook page(s)
  • Internet access to Truman Library Student Research files

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • *note* this is to be done before teaching anything about the Truman administration, but after teaching all of WWII. 
  • Teacher handout printed copy of instructions.  E-mail copy of same to students (or post on class website if you have one).  Instructions include an example of submitted work.  Task:

-       Students are to create a textbook page (max of 2) of how they would teach the Truman administration in their own personal textbook. 

-       Page is to include two images from the Truman Library photograph database.

-       Remainder of the page(s) is to be written paragraphs describing both the images and the rest of the administration.  

  • Teacher needs to demonstrate

-       First, a brief overview of the main events of the administration.  The Online Exhibit of the Presidential Years works well for this (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hst/index.html)

-       Second, how to navigate the Library website and various methods for searching the photograph database (by date, by subject matter, etc.).   

  • Students look through the photos to choose two they would like to put in their page; upload the file and paste into their page.  Website reference required.
  • Students write the remainder of their text.
  • Students need to include an additional page explaining in their own words why they chose to use the images they did. 
  • Optional - Upon submission (both electronic and hard copy), students present their pages to the class to first show which pictures they chose and second to explain to their peers why they believed those pictures best explained the Truman administration.  

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • Completion grade – does the student complete the assignment and report back adequately.
  • Quiz grade – allow students to use their personally created textbook page as an “Open Book” aid on their next quiz/test.  That also provides incentive and the number of correct answers on your Truman questions provides the assessment of whether students learned the material.