Learn with Hanford Mills

Diary Entries




Understand how primary sources can be used to learn about the past, and use primary sources to help understand the work that went into harvesting ice and the role that weather played.


Students will read diary entries and answer questions based on their reading.



  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
  • Class Time: 30 minutes


  • Introduce your students to the history of ice harvesting. You may have your students read the history, or you can use it as a basis for your own presentation.
  • Take some time to discuss what was presented or read with the class. Questions to ask:
    • Why was ice harvested?
    • How was ice harvested?
    • Why don’t we harvest ice anymore?
    • Have students read the Diary Entries Worksheet and answer the questions.
  • If you wish you can go over the questions and answers as a class.


  • Participation in class discussion (listening and speaking)
  • Completion of worksheet

NYS Learning Standards:

  • ELA 1
  • SS 1

Vocabulary & Spelling Words

Diary – n. a daily record, usually private, of the writer’s own experiences, observations, feelings, attitudes, etc..

Ice Harvest – n. a group effort to cut ice from a pond, lake, or river for the purpose of saving the ice to use for refrigeration.

Primary Source – n. material directly related to a topic by time or participation. These materials include letters, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles from the time, oral history interviews, documents, photographs, artifacts, or anything else that provides first-hand accounts about a person or event.

Transcription – n. a copy, often a typewritten copy, of a document (this is often done when the original copy is hard to read, for example, if it is hand written).