8. Historical Records in
records to your class and the curriculum – not the other way around!
care of original copies of historical records: set aside a master copy,
generate classroom copies from the master, and organize master copies in
folders or binders for safekeeping.
way a historical record is presented to students may vary. They can be:
enlarged to be legible or for detail to emerge, projected as a slide or
transparency, or scanned onto electronic media – making them accessible on
same historical record may serve many age levels, many instructional units,
and many different abilities.
what is useful. This might include one image from a photograph or one sentence
from a written historical record.
Handwritten historical records can be difficult to read and require close
Terminology used in older records can prove difficult because of changes in
word use and lack of standardized spelling.
Whenever possible, students should work with historical records because it is
important for students to master the skill of interpreting information from
Students need to consider the type of record they are looking at, who created
it, when it was created, and for what purpose. (Teaching
with Documents: Lesson Plans at the National Archives’ Web site is a
useful resource for getting students to really look at and think about
historical records. Reproducible
worksheets are also available on this site.)
Encourage students to perform research in repositories to give them valuable,
practical experience they can use in their adult lives such as: preparing
taxes, performing the duties of an executor, or satisfying questions about the
property on which they live.
search engines allow you to translate documents in foreign languages into
English. Be aware that some translations are more accurate than others.
Lesson Evaluation Techniques
Historical records lend
themselves to evaluation, both at the outset of a unit of study (when they may
help a teacher determine what students have already mastered) and at the end of
a unit (as a culminating activity). Use historical records to target the skills
and content of standards-based instruction. Have students demonstrate understanding
by means of essay questions and research papers.
suggestions for which historical records can be used:
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