Showing posts with label primary document research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label primary document research. Show all posts

Sunday, May 14, 2017

DocsTeach Adds New Analysis Activities for Students

DocsTeach is a great resource for teachers of U.S. History. DocsTeach, produced by the National Archives Foundation, provides teachers with a free platform on which they can create online history lessons based on images, documents, audio recording, video recordings, and maps. The lessons that teachers create can be shared with their students through a free DocsTeach online classroom environment.

DocsTeach recently added a new document analysis template for teachers to use to create activities for their students. The document analysis template has teachers choose a document or portion of a document for students to analyze. Teachers can then choose from a menu of pre-made document analysis questions for their students to answer while reviewing a document. Teachers can also create their own questions to add to the analysis activity. After completing the activity set-up it is ready to be shared with students. When students complete the activity online, the teacher can view all of the responses online.

DocsTeach will let you publish your activities to be shared with other teachers. Activities that you publish will appear in the public catalog of activities. That catalog can be searched according to topic, era, activity type, skill, and grade level.

Applications for Education
DocsTeach's new document analysis activity template could provide you with a great way to guide students through difficult primary source documents. I've always found that even the best readers in my classroom need some help when it comes to analyzing primary sources that are more than 100 years old.

DocsTeach now offers thirteen activity templates for teachers to use in building lessons based on the thousands of artifacts available through the DocsTeach website.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

History Engine - Explore Stories of American Life

History Engine is an educational project developed by The University of Richmond for the purpose of giving students a place to explore stories of American life and publish their own stories based upon their research.

I was initially drawn to History Engine by the map and timeline that was featured on Google Maps Mania. The History Engine map allows students to search for stories by selecting a decade on the timeline then clicking a location on the map. Students will find stories about ordinary citizens making minor news in their communities as well as stories about famous Americans like George Washington.

Applications for Education
History Engine provides an extensive guide for teachers who want to have their students research, write, and publish stories. History Engine offers an easy-to-follow style guide that students can use to format their writings. If you're looking for some good ideas and resources for getting students to use primary sources in their historical writings, History Engine is a website that you should give a good look.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Browse for Primary Sources on the World Digital Library Map

The World Digital Library hosts nearly 5,000 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

Applications for EducationThe World Digital Library can be a great resource for anyone that teaches history and or cultural studies. The wealth of image based resources along with the document based resources makes the WDL appropriate for use with most age groups. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Create Videos and Posters on the U.S. National Archives Digital Experience

This afternoon as part of a Primary Resources 2.0 workshop that I conducted (workshop outline here), we explored some resources on the National Archives Experience Digital Vaults. The Digital Vaults offers three good tools that students and teachers can use to create content using images and documents from the National Archives.

The National Archives Digital Vault poster and video creation tools allow students to drag and drop digital artifacts into a poster or video. The National Archives provides images, documents, and audio in an easy to use editor. When making a poster students can combine multiple images, change background colors, and create captions to make collages of digital artifacts. See the screen capture below for a demonstration of poster editing.

Creating a video is just as easy as creating a poster in the Digital Vaults. To create a video simply drag your selected images on to the editing templates, type image captions, select the duration of display for each image, and select audio tracks. See the screen capture below for a look at the video editor.

Applications for Education
The Pathways tool in the Digital Vaults can be used to create small quizzes that ask students to identify the connections between two or more images or documents. To start, drag one image to you Pathways menu then select a related item to add to your Pathway. Type in a clue for students to use to help them make the connection. When you share your Pathway with others, they will see only your first image and your connection clue, they have to find the image that connects. Take a look at a sample Pathways challenge here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

108 Years of Flight - Document and Videos

Saturday marked the 108th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight. The National Archives marked the anniversary by publishing the iconic image of their plane in flight.

After looking at the picture and related materials on the National Archives website I jumped over to FedFlix where I found a four part video series about the Wright brothers. The video series was released by the Department of Defense in 1970. I've embedded the first video in the series below.

For younger students, Scholastic has a series of free lesson plans and other online resources for teaching about the history of flight. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

9 Sources for Historical Images, Documents, Videos, and Audio

Earlier this week I had the privilege to work with teachers from the Florida Virtual School at a conference sponsored by the National Council for History Education. Here are some of the resources that we used during the workshops. By the way, if you're interested in having me speak at your school or conference, please click here for more information.

The National Jukebox is an archive of more than 10,000 recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925. These are recordings that were made using an acoustical recording process that captured sounds on wax cylinders. The recordings in the archive can be searched and listened to on your computer. You can search the archives by recording date, recording type, language, and target audience. The National Jukebox has also arranged playlists that you can listen to in a continuous stream. You can also embed the recordings player into your blog or website as I have done below.



Another great feature of the National Jukebox is the interactive Victrola Book of the Opera. The book contains 436 pages of history and descriptions of 110 operas. Recordings in the book can be launched and listened to within the pages of the book.

The David Rumsey Map Collection is a collection of more than 20,000 historical maps documenting places throughout the world. The maps can be searched by area, by time period, or by cartographer. The David Rumsey Map Collection is also available as a Google Earth layer.

LIFE has long been known for capturing and hosting some of the most iconic images of the 20th Century. Today, LIFE continues to capture and share outstanding imagery. LIFE Photo Timelines hosts timelines featuring images from the LIFE collections. Visitors to LIFE Photo Timelines can view existing timelines or create their own timelines using images from the LIFE collections.

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

The Travel Film Archive is a collection of hundreds of travel films recorded between 1900 and 1970. The films were originally recorded to promote various places around the world as tourist destinations. In the archives you will find films about US National Parks, cities across the globe, and cultural events from around the world. The films are a mix of color and black & white footage. The earliest footage is silent while the later footage is narrated. You can view the films on The Travel Film Archive site or on The Travel Film Archive YouTube channel.

FedFlix, hosted by the Internet Archive, is a collection of nearly 2000 films produced by the US government during the 20th Century. The topics of these films range from presidential speeches to agricultural practices to public health and safety. Some films are instructional in nature, for example there is a film for police officers on how to arrest someone. Other films are more informative in nature and some films are flat-out propaganda films. All of the FedFlix films are in the public domain so feel free to reuse and remix them as you and your students desire. The films can be downloaded or viewed online. Films can also be embedded into your blog or website.

The Commons on Flickr is a good resource for students in need of images for multimedia projects for history, literature, and other content areas. A requirement of contributors to The Commons is that all images are made available without copyright restrictions. Here is a list of institutions contributing to The Commons.

The US Library of Congress website is a fantastic place to find digital copies of more than ten million primary sources. To help you utilize the documents you can find on the site, visit the Library of Congress Teacher's Page. A part of the Teacher's Page is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

Google Books is one of my go-to places for old books and magazines. When you search, use the "full view" option to find materials that you can read and download in their entirety. You should also use the "date range" option to narrow your search to a specific range of publication dates.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Sources Comparison

I posted this yesterday on Google+ and it seems to have been well-received so I thought I'd share it again. In February of 2010 I designed a short activity for my students to compare textbooks, Wikipedia, and primary source documents on a given topic. Next week my students will be doing this activity with a slight modification to match where we are in the curriculum right now.

From February 2010.
A couple of weeks ago I sent out a Tweet that my students were working on a comparison of Wikipedia articles to articles in their textbooks. Judging by the reTweets and replies to my message, a lot of people were interested in the activity. What I left out of my Tweet was the third part of the assignment in which my students had to locate and use primary source documents to gain more insight into the various topics. You can find the outline of the assignment here.

There were two purposes to this assignment. First to dispel the myths that Wikipedia is unreliable and that textbooks are gospel truth. The second purpose was for students to see the value of primary source documents for gaining insights into historical events and or people. Both goals were met. The topics my students were investigating were the Sand Creek Massacre, the Battle of Little Bighorn, and the Fort Laramie Treaties. The vast majority of my students reported that they found the textbook easier to use for finding the "main points," but that the Wikipedia articles had the same information. They also reported that the Wikipedia articles had more depth of information.

Where Wikipedia shone was in getting students started on their searches for primary source documents. As you'll see in the outline, I asked my students to use the links at the end of each Wikipedia article to further investigate each topic and locate primary source documents. What I did not include in the outline is that I also allowed students to simply search the web on their own to find primary source documents. As I expected, most of them came to the realization that a lot what they were finding through their own searches was already listed in the links at the end of the Wikipedia articles. At the end of the activity every student was able to identify and add new information to their knowledge base using the primary source documents they located.

I welcome your questions and feedback. And if you found the outline useful, by all means please feel free to reuse it in your classrooms.

And just for fun...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Political Cartoons in the Classroom

This morning I am in Fort Myers, Florida for a conference with the National Council for History Education. One of the activities that one of the instructors is facilitating this morning deals with political/ editorial cartoons. The activity reminded me of a couple of political/ editorial cartoon resources that I've reviewed in the past. Those reviews are included below.

Cartoons for the Classroom is a service of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Cartoons in the Classroom offers more than one hundred lesson plans based on editorial cartoons created by the members of the AAEC. Each lesson plan is available as free pdf download. As you might expect, most of the lessons deal with current political and economic topics, but you will also find some lessons that are not time sensitive.

In addition to lesson plans Cartoons for the Classroom provides links to other cartoon resources. One of those resources is the Opper Project. The Opper Project provides lesson plans for teaching history through editorial cartoons.

If you use primary source documents in your classroom, the Library of Congress Teacher's Page is a site you should check out. A part of the Teacher's Page is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Growth and Decline of US Newspapers 1690-2011

Stanford University's Rural West Initiative is an effort to create conversations and propose solutions to the challenges that exist in rural areas of the western United States. The Rural West Initiative publishes articles, videos, and other multimedia materials in an attempt to build those conversations. One of their recent features is an interactive map of the growth and decline of newspapers in the United States. You can use the timeline at the top of the map to see how many many newspapers there were in an area at a given time. Click one of the placemarks in the map to find a link to more information about each newspaper.

Applications for Education
When I first saw this map I thought, "cool map, might be neat for showing students how mass communication has changed over the last 300+ years." Then I did a little more link chasing and realized that each newspaper mentioned in the map is linked to the Library of Congress website where you can find out which libraries in the US have copies of those newspapers. In this regard the Growth of Newspapers map could be used as a research tool to locate primary sources.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings

Image Credit: WishUponaCupcake
Yesterday, the National Archives' featured document was George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Exploring the additional links on yesterday's National Archives post led me to a story and collection of documents on the FDR Presidential Library titled The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings.

The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings tells the story of Thanksgiving 1939. In 1939 Thanksgiving was going to fall on the last day of November which caused merchants to be worried about a shortened shopping season. In response to this concern President Roosevelt proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be moved up one week. Some states chose to ignore this proclamation and celebrate Thanksgiving on the last day of the month anyway. The conflict was finally resolved in 1941 when Congress passed a law stating that Thanksgiving would always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month.

Applications for Education
The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings is supported by ten primary source documents. Included in those documents are letters from merchants appealing to FDR to change the day of Thanksgiving and letters opposing the change. You could distribute a different document to groups of students and have them defend a choice of either moving Thanksgiving up a week or leaving it on the last day of the month.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National Humanities Center Toolbox Library

The Avalon Project is a great resource for primary source documents from US History that has previously been featured on Free Technology for Teachers. Recently I started exploring another good source of primary source documents hosted by the National Humanities Center. The National Humanities Center Toolbox Library host eight collections of primary source documents and images. The collections are categorized by eras in US History. Each document and image in the collections is accompanied by discussion questions and or a reading guide.

Applications for Education
There are many primary source document books that can be purchased. Most of those are simply filled with documents that are in the public domain. Online resources like the National Humanities Center Toolbox Library and The Avalon Project contain much of the same material is available at no cost to schools (other than perhaps the cost of printing copies for a classroom).

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
National Archives Our Documents Source Book
Documenting the American South

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rag Linen - Rare & Historic Newspapers

Rag Linen is an online museum of rare and historic newspapers. The newspapers on Rag Linen are arranged into ten collections. Eight of those collections are based upon events in North American and US History. The other two collections introduce readers to the history of newspapers and feature publisher imprints. Select any of the collections to find background information about an event and view newspapers published at the time about that event.

In addition to the newspaper collections, Rag Linen offers a nice selection of links to videos, blogs, and books related to newspapers' roles in recording history.

Applications for Education
Rag Linen could be a good place to find primary documents that offer students the opportunity to analyze events for themselves rather than relying upon a secondary source like a textbook. One way Rag Linen could be used is to have students read the newspaper accounts of the Battle of Lexington and Concord then compare what they find in those accounts to what they read in their textbooks or other secondary sources.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you: 
American President - An Online Reference
From Washington to Obama in 4 Minutes With Dates

10 US History Google Earth Tours

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Need Primary Documents? Try the Avalon Project

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

Applications for Education
The Avalon Project, like Google Books and other resources, make it possible for me to find many primary source documents to use in my classroom. One activity that I like to do with primary documents is to distribute a collection of three to five documents about the same event or topic. Then I have students compare the viewpoints of different authors. I also have students compare the information they find in secondary sources (both online and in textbooks) with the information they see in the primary sources. For example of how one of the ways we do this, read Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
National Archives Our Documents Source Book
Documenting the American South

Monday, September 13, 2010

Free Historical Thinking Poster

Teaching History is giving away a neat poster for history teachers. Teaching History's historical thinking poster features colorful illustrations of the differences between primary and secondary sources. The poster also includes questions students should ask when reading primary source documents. Tips for locating reliable secondary sources are also included in the double-sided poster. Teachers can request a free poster here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Using Primary Sources - A Guide from the LOC

If you use primary source documents in your classroom, the Library of Congress Teacher's Page is a site you should check out. A part of the Teacher's Page is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

Applications for Education
When I was a just starting out as a history teacher I knew that I should include primary source use in my classroom, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. Fortunately, after some stumbling around a colleague gave me some of his primary source-based lessons which gave me a much better handle on how to use them effectively. Hopefully, the Library of Congress Teacher's Page will help new history teachers avoid the stumbling process I went through when I started out as a history teacher.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research
The Avalon Project - Hundreds of Primary Documents
National Archives Our Documents Source Book

Monday, May 10, 2010

National Archives Our Documents Source Book

I've mentioned the daily document feed from the National Archives in the past. The daily feed is a way for US History teachers to collect primary documents they can use in their lesson plans. Our Documents.gov is built from primary documents in the National Archives collection. One of the good, free offerings from Our Documents is the Our Documents Teacher Source Book. This free 76 page document is available for download. The book contains many primary documents as well as ideas for teaching with those documents. The book includes lesson plans and handouts that you can reproduce. The documents in the Our Documents Teacher Source Book cover events from 1776 through the end of the 20th Century. Download the book here. You may also be interested in the Our Documents list of 100 Milestone Documents.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Avalon Project - Hundreds of Primary Documents from US History

The Avalon Project is a free resource that I use on a regular basis with a couple of my US History classes. The Avalon Project, produced by Yale University, provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History.

Applications for Education
The Avalon Project is a good resource for students that need to find digital copies of original documents. For example, all of The Federalist Papers are available on the Avalon Project website.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Historical Scene Investigation

Historical Scene Investigation is a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

Applications for Education
Sometimes I come across websites that immediately make me say, "why didn't I think of that?" Historical Scene Investigation is one example of that. HSI provides thirteen cases, but you could easily use the model to create your own Historical Scene Investigations.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
European Virtual Museum - 3D Interactive Artifacts
The Bayeux Tapestry Animated
Timelines TV - British and American History Videos

Monday, February 8, 2010

Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a Tweet that my students were working on a comparison of Wikipedia articles to articles in their textbooks. Judging by the reTweets and replies to my message, a lot of people were interested in the activity. What I left out of my Tweet was the third part of the assignment in which my students had to locate and use primary source documents to gain more insight into the various topics. You can find the outline of the assignment here.

There were two purposes to this assignment. First to dispel the myths that Wikipedia is unreliable and that textbooks are gospel truth. The second purpose was for students to see the value of primary source documents for gaining insights into historical events and or people. Both goals were met. The topics my students were investigating were the Sand Creek Massacre, the Battle of Little Bighorn, and the Fort Laramie Treaties. The vast majority of my students reported that they found the textbook easier to use for finding the "main points," but that the Wikipedia articles had the same information. They also reported that the Wikipedia articles had more depth of information.

Where Wikipedia shone was in getting students started on their searches for primary source documents. As you'll see in the outline, I asked my students to use the links at the end of each Wikipedia article to further investigate each topic and locate primary source documents. What I did not include in the outline is that I also allowed students to simply search the web on their own to find primary source documents. As I expected, most of them came to the realization that a lot what they were finding through their own searches was already listed in the links at the end of the Wikipedia articles. At the end of the activity every student was able to identify and add new information to their knowledge base using the primary source documents they located.

I welcome your questions and feedback. And if you found the outline useful, by all means please feel free to reuse it in your classrooms.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Professional Development at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for all six of their 2010 Summer Teacher Institutes. The summer institutes are designed to help participants develop classroom activities that incorporate primary documents, understand legal use of digital documents, and learn how to access materials cataloged by the Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institutes are free to attend, but you do have to provide your own lodging and meals. The institutes are four days long. There are sessions being offered in May, June, July, and August. You can read more about the institutes and apply here. You can access materials from previous institutes here.

If you're not able to attend on the Summer Institutes you can explore three self-directed online professional development modules.