Teaching Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts

One important skill for fourth and fifth graders is to know the differences between firsthand and secondhand accounts. This skill is not difficult for students to understand with a little practice.

Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Teaching Students to use Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts

This is a great teaching three minute video. Have students watch as an introductory lesson. The video gives both definitions and examples. The video also provides two passages about the Chicago Marathon for students to evaluate.

Firsthand and Secondhand Accounts Practice

  • Compare and Contract Accounts Lesson Online [The Learning Farm provides definitions in an animation that is read to the students. Two passages are provided with questions.

  • McGraw-Hill Literacy eHandbook [The McGraw-Hill Company provides definitions and two passages for students to analyze.]

  • Better Lesson [Fourteen teacher created lessons are provided.]

  • Big Learners [4 Printable Worksheets are found here.]

  • Sadlier School [A four day lesson plan using Ruby Bridges is provided. You must provide an e-mail address to download the materials.]

  • English Worksheets Land [A printable is included with two articles about the same event plus a Venn-Diagram to compare and contrast the two accounts.]


If you need some additional materials to help teach firsthand and secondhand accounts, you might like to take a look at Tall Tales on Teachers pay Teachers:

Tall Tales Unit

Gay Miller

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