Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy
ELA - Literacy.CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.1
RH.9-10.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.
The Secret Life of the American Gossip Girl
So in first period today, Chloe told Brianna that she liked Mark…but Brianna told Stephanie that Chloe looooved Mark, then Stephanie told Jake who told Ross who is best friends with Mark… Sound familiar? All of this drama is due to a misinterpretation of a primary source: Chloe’s original statement. All of the rumors spread following this statement are considered secondary sources, secondhand information reporting on the original event. Knowing the difference is essential in analyzing a text, and may even help you keep some friends when the school soap opera begins.
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Using this Standard
Pretty Little Lesson
Let’s say you’re writing on an important historical event, like the 2000’s Thumb Wrestling Championship . If you reference in your analysis, a speech given by the previous year’s thumb war champ, then that would be primary. But, if you also reference a text such as Oscar Villalon’s “The Way of the Thumb” (2007)ii, about winning strategies and tactics in this audacious sport, then that would be secondary. Think of it as how far removed the source is from the action; if someone creates, is present for, or reports on the action first-hand as it’s happening, then they are a primary source. However, if someone writes a criticism or commentary on any of the historically reported information, then it is a secondary source because it’s once removed from the original information.
How I Met Your Paper
The difference between the two kinds of documents is why the little bit on the end of the standard is important, “attending to such features as the date and origin of the information,” showing that you know which is which and can discuss the sources correctly. Once you’ve sorted out your sources, it’s time to analyze them or break them down in order to determine what they mean and why they matter. Don’t forget our favorite part: cite text evidence! You need to cite specific portions of the text that support your analysis or interpretation of the text or the subject. Referencing the text doesn’t ever go away for the rest of your educational days; you should write a poem about it, then reference your own poem in an essay about primary and secondary sources—it would blow your teacher’s mind.
- Shmoop tip of the day: Keeping colored sticky notes when reading multiple documents is like having a life vest on in the middle of the ocean; you have to keep your head above the flood of information. Tracking what’s what in this way can be a boon to your sanity… and to your analysis.
The Primary Diaries
Still not sure about what’s what? There are several ways to conquer this textual shortcoming. Original stuff (no posers), such as art of any mode, speeches, letters, autobiographies= primary, the epicenter of the knowledge explosion. People who like to talk about the original works by quoting it, alluding to it, referencing it, analyzing it= secondary, in the wake of the knowledge. Don’t let yourself get confused in the aftermath of the big info bang.
Quiz QuestionsHere's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.
Synthesize the following documents and answer the questions that follow.
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address,
given November 19, 1863
on the battlefield near
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war ... testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated ... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate ... we cannot consecrate ... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom ... and that government of the people ... by the people ... for the people ... shall not perish from this earth.”
March 6, 2012
Lincoln’s short speech to the soldiers at Gettysburg was given shortly after he pushed through a limited proclamation, emancipating slaves in confederate states. Thus, it is no coincidence that the chin-strap bearded President uses trendy words like “liberty” and “freedom” to get everyone’s attention and conveniently remind them of why they were there. Almost everyone knows the first line, “Four score and seven years ago,” though it isn’t just when your grandma was born; this is when the Declaration of Independence was written. Lincoln is throwing back to 87 years prior to that moment, speaking to a half illiterate crowd about the founding documents in order to prove his point about rights for all men. I’m sure if he had the opportunity to throw this little presentation into a PowerPoint and give out candy for a pop quiz, he would have, but since he was in the middle of a battlefield with tired, hungry, and scantly bathed men he had to keep it brief and to the point; they weren’t dying for giggles. There was a reason for the many already dead and the many soon to be; Abe was just being honest.
This does sound a bit like any rousing battle speech in a movie given before the slow-motion deaths with some really nice instrumental music behind it, but Lincoln was the American Classic. There are some anti-Lincoln commentaries out there. Many believe Lincoln was a liar and a hypocrite at these words; they claim that the speech was a dedication for only those fighting for his cause of a united nation, and therefore mocked the Southern states’ fallen soldiers. The last lines of his speech beg the question of whether he was truly giving a loaded address or if he was attempting to state that these men have died and will die in the name of government for its own sake (for the people, by the people, yadda yadda…). The jury on Lincoln’s rep is currently out with many in the anti-Abe camp hoping to sully his good name as it is ingrained Americana. Perhaps a break from the hatred and a look at the man’s breadth of work would be in order.