Probably the most approachable of all the primary sources, visuals are some of the most used tools by teachers to get their students engaged with history. As humans we are visual beings and so we are in many ways drawn to images, particularly powerful ones. So, as teachers we can tap into this by finding strong visuals which can pull the viewer in. But teachers should also practice how to get students to go deeper in their analysis.
Here are some resources and tools to help you guide your students in their analysis of visuals
First, here is page from teachinghistory.org which has list of many different tools
Secondly here is an in depth PDF from the Smithsonian which
Lastly, here is a strategy called POSERS for students to use to analyze any image from a photo to a painting. Take this powerful image from the 1999 Elian Gonzalez incident.
Think about doing this one yourself. Remember what happened and try to dissect the image by looking at the photo for:
Like any good strategy this can be done individually, in small group and as a whole group discussion. As a teacher, you should not settle for quick one word answers. So for when looking at the Engagement piece of this image, keep asking the students "so, what does it mean"?
Now finding the "perfect image" for my class was always fun for me. I learned a lot in my quest to find images and I wrote a post last month about finding images, particularly on Flickr (great site, with incredible historical images). Check it out to for lots of galleries of historical images.