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Adapt Records to the Class and the Curriculum, Not the Other Way Around

The same historical record may serve many age levels, many instructional units, and many different abilities.  It is up to each teacher to determine how historical records will be used in the classroom.  Sometimes there is the temptation to overdo a good thing to death; resist the temptation.  Pull only from the historical record what is usable in practical terms.  This may mean that one image or section of a photograph, or one sentence or paragraph in a written historical record, is highlighted for two minutes and then the teacher moves on to something else.  A short activity with an excerpt from a record may be assigned as homework when a longer reading assignment would be too much for the time available.  Historical records lend themselves to evaluation, both at the outset of a unit of study, when they may help a teacher determine what pupils have already mastered, and at the end of a unit, as a culminating activity.  Sometimes historical records help to draw national or global issues into focus for students, so can be used to compliment current events discussions.  For example, local historical records about the environment can help students understand when development and conservation issues come into conflict.

Ready, Set, Go!

Historical records are exciting and energizing to teachers and students alike.  They are sound pedagogy, and they are fun!  We invite teachers to explore the following section and to browse the project website (address), studying the historical records that have been reproduced and perusing the activities outlined.  We hope teachers will be rewarded for their time by finding a lesson that is perfect to use in the classroom tomorrow, or a document that triggers development a wonderful lesson plan.  Remember that these are just a tiny sampling of the types of historical records which are all around.  We encourage teachers to follow up by looking in the community and beyond to enjoy even greater benefits to themselves and their students from the use of historical records in their classrooms.

Kristi comment: should the concept of multiple documents used together in a thematic approach allows for indepth understanding of topic ie civil war and slavery theme based case studies….. JD – plug case studies and document sets.