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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Create Your Own Interactive Primary Source Document Activities

I've written about many resources from the U.S. National Archives in the past. Until today my favorite of their offerings was the National Archives Experience Digital Vaults. This morning I spent some time exploring The National Archives Experience's Docs Teach interactive tools center and it is my new favorite tool from the National Archives.

Docs Teach offers seven free tools that teachers can use to create interactive learning activities based on primary source documents and images. The seven tools are Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, Weighing the Evidence, and Interpreting Data. To get a sense of how each of these activities works you can view existing activities made and shared here by other teachers. In fact, you may want to browse through the Find & Use section before creating an activity from scratch as you may find that someone else has shared an activity that meets your instructional goals too. The Find & Use activities are arranged by historical era and are labeled with a thinking skill and a level of Bloom's revised taxonomy.

I used the Docs Teach activity creator to create a Weighing the Evidence activity this morning. I searched the archives and selected a few images of Paul Revere then dragged them into the activity. Then I asked students to determine which image does the best job of accurately depicting Paul Revere's ride.

Applications for Education
You could create some great primary source evaluation activities on Docs Teach. After creating some of your own and having students complete them, you might want to mix it up by having your students create activities.

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