DocsTeach from the National Archives

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 2:30 PM
Sheraton Ballroom IV (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Lee Ann Potter, National Archives and Records Administration
In this session, participants will learn about the education programs and digital initiatives currently underway at the National Archives of the United States.  Specific focus will be on the new website. combines primary source content with the latest interactive capabilities of the Internet in ways that teachers are calling “brilliant!”

Not only does the site invite educators to explore thousands of documents in a variety of media from the holding of the National Archives—items such as George Washington’s draft of the Constitution, the cancelled check for Alaska, Chuck Yeager’s notes on the first supersonic flight, and President Richard Nixon’s resignation letter—but it also allows teachers to combine these materials using clever tools to create engaging activities that students can access online. 

The seven tools featured on the site are designed to teach specific historical thinking skills—weighing evidence, interpreting data, focusing on details, and more.  Each employs interactive components including puzzles, scales, maps, flow charts, and others that both teachers and students can tailor to their needs.

On the site, teachers can 1) browse or search for documents and activities, 2) customize any activity to fit the needs of a unique classroom, 3) create a brand new activity with its own web address from scratch, using one of seven distinctive tools, and 4) save and organize activities in an account to share with students.   After participating in an activity, the site even allows students to submit their work to their teacher via e-mail.

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