Exploring Local History Using Primary
Source Documents
An Activity for Intermediate and Above English Learners

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Local History Resources:

Local historical societies are usually happy to provide pictures and information to
teachers for use in the classroom. The following websites have resources to create
timeline lessons for other regions in the state:

Your Changing Town
this lesson has students discuss the reasons why cities change over time and asks them to investigate how their own town has changed. If possible, invite a guest speaker to talk about what the town used to be like. If that is not feasible, locate some old pictures of the town to show the class. Students will conclude by drawing pictures of themselves in their town, both past and present. Standard 3.1.3

Eagle's Eye View of the History of Apple Valley
Description: This virtual museum is an overview of Apple Valley from prehistoric times to today. The site is a classroom project and features student writing and research. It is a work in progress as students each year continue to explore their community. Standard 3.
Comments: This is a great model of how to work with students in creating a website.

How Big Were Their Footprints? A Study of Loma Linda History
Description: This virtual museum will take you on a tour of Southern California history from Native Peoples through the late nineteenth century. You will explore the "footprints" left by people who inhabited the area near the modern city of Loma Linda. Standards 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3, 4.2.1, and 4.2.3
Comments: This page was written especially for third grade students and English Learners.

Los Angeles Almanac - History
Description: This rich, well-researched site overviews of the Los Angeles area from ancient times to 2000. The section on headline history provides a brief timeline of Los Angeles history. The section on historic sites and structures is a list of buildings with addresses and their historic significance. After that there is an incredible list of references to events and eras from Native American settlement to the Rose Parade. Standards 3.2 all, 3.3 all, and 3.5.1
Comments: There is interesting, hard-to-find information here put together by Los Angeles Almanac Editor Gary Thornton.

Historical Images of Sacramento

Description: Here is a set of historical drawings of Sacramento from around 1850 showing Sutter's Fort, streets and buildings, and mining. They provide a fascinating look at historical California just before and after statehood. Standards 3.3.3, 4.3.1 and 4.3.3
Comments: There is no commentary to accompany this set of prints but they can be projected for whole class presentations.
Resource Type: Photos or Pictures

Local History of Monterey
Description: Here is a rich resource of readable historical information about the Monterey area from the time of 18th century colonists to the late 19th century. Standards 3.3 all, 4.2.2, 4.2.3, 4.2.4, 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.2.7, 4.2.8, 4.3.1, 4.3.4, 4.4.1, and 4.4.3
Comments: This site by the Monterey County Historical Society continues to grow and develop.

Photos of Historical San Francisco and Los Angeles
Description: This site can be used to access historical panoramic photographs of San Francisco or Los Angeles. Simply input the name of your desired city into the search engine and a multitude of photos wll be available to view. Excellent source for observing the development of a city over time! Standards 3.3.2, 4.4.2, and 4.4.4
Comments: These photos may be used to construct a virtual historical field trip.

History of Nevada County
Description: This site covers Nevada City, Grass Valley, Truckee, The South Yuba River State Park, Bridgeport Covered Bridge, the cultural history of the South Yuba River Canyon, Rough and Ready and other locations. It also describes characters in Nevada County history such as Lola Montez, Lotta Crabtree and others. Standard 3.3.2
Comments: There is also a link to the Deer Creek School Cyber Fair Project on the history of Nevada Co.

Madera County Historical Society
Description: This collection of black and white photographs chronicles the history of Madera County. Standard 3.3.3
Comments: Students might use this collection to create a PowerPoint presentation on local history. Standards 3.3 and 4.4

Fresno Historical Society’s Archival Collections
Description: Timeline from the Fresno Historical Society’s Archival Collections highlights Fresno County's first 100 years. Includes a link to their Past and Present Journal, which leads you to various local landmarks and their historical significance.