Primarily Teaching at the National Archives
December 20, 2013
As school bells ring for winter break and the year draws to a close, we are proud to look back on some of the fantastic National Archives educational programs we supported in 2013.
One exciting initiative was Primarily Teaching—an annual week-long teacher workshop at National Archives locations across America where teachers gain new research skills and learned how to share the gripping firsthand stories of primary sources with their students each year. The Foundation takes part by providing administrative support and stipends to offset travel costs for teachers.
This year, Primarily Teaching combined its powers with another world-class Archives resource: DocsTeach. The DocsTeach website and its companion free app for the iPad allow teachers to easily build custom lesson plans with interactive activities that place primary sources at the fingertips of students. Throughout the workshop, teachers delved into the stacks of the National Archives and digitized more than 85 original records they found. Using these, they created exercises for their students and lesson plans that other educators can customize.
In addition, the National Archives tied Primarily Teaching into its administration of National History Day, an annual program designed to teach students about the process and value of historical research that culminates in contests at local and national levels. The Foundation covers costs for the National Archives to host the Washington, DC, competition, and fees for District students advancing from the regional to national levels. This year’s Primarily Teaching workshop featured the 2013-2014 National History Day theme, Rights and Responsibilities in History, giving teachers rich resources to support students throughout the competition.
This year, we were excited to be a part of these efforts as the National Archives fused its education programs into an even greater whole, supporting civics engagement across the nation.