Saturday, January 4, 2014

5 Places to Visit when Looking for Primary Source Lesson Plans

By Nina Kendall

As a Social Studies teacher, I love incorporating primary sources in the classroom. I have spent many an hour searching the websites of the National Archives and Library of Congress for materials to use in the classroom. I openly maintain that a good source will increase the appeal of history for everyone. I share this love with my students.
Here are several websites that offer Social Studies teachers lesson plans and resources for class that incorporate primary sources.
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is working to improve history education.  The Institute has developed a wide array of programs to improve history education in America’s classroom. Their website has thousands of primary sources and lesson plans aligned to Common Core and influenced by quality historical scholarship. Teachers need to register to access the wide variety of resources. Schools can also apply to be affiliates which offer a greater range of educational benefits.

Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has organized it sources into collections and developed lesson plans for use in the classroom. Teachers can find lesson plans or primary sources set for use developed around topics frequently taught. The Library of Congress has also developed a number of methods to use analyze the spectrum of primary sources.
America in Class
America in Class is a collection primary and secondary resource and lessons for history and literature teachers. This site was developed by then National Humanities Center and is organized by theme. It is designed to promote the analytical skills describe in the Common Core Curriculum.
Edsitement is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has a searchable database of lesson plans that use primary sources. These lesson plans are developed largely by teachers and frequently of graphic organizers to use with the documents.  Edsitement’s search tool allows you to select to subject for your lesson plan and the grade level. It has also earmarked some lesson plans as suitable for an AP US History Class.

Docs Teach
Docs Teach is the website developed by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) that gives you access to a variety of primary sources and lesson plans that can be used online or in your classroom. The tools at Docs Teach can also be used to develop online lessons by teachers. This site also has materials for National History Day research.

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