A strategy I have used when teaching historical background and to help English Learners with academic vocabulary is photograph analysis. Students work in groups of 3-4 where each student receives a photograph (or photocopy) depicting some of the social climate of the historical period embeded in the lesson plan. Then students are provided with a sentence stem sheet they have to complete as they hear their teammate's analysis of his/her photograph. Here's an example of these sentence stems I have used when teaching about the Great Depression:
A) Three significant details I see are ______________________
B) I imagine _______________ happened before the photograph was taken. I imagine___________________ happened after the photograph was taken.
C) I think the photographer intended to convey ____________________
D) I think the photograph represents a cause/effect of the Great Depression because ________________________.