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Five Strategies for Using Primary Source Documents In the Social Studies Classroom

Primary source analysis is increasingly the cornerstone of social studies instruction in the 21st century classroom. While the Internet has made these resources more accessible than ever before, how can educators plan to ensure students use them in meaningful ways?





Strengthening Historical Thinking Skills Daily

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Use of primary sources was once remarkably scarce, both during in-class instruction and in textbooks. The availability and accessibility of primary sources on the Internet has revolutionized social studies instruction. But how are primary sources used in the classroom? Are students working with primary sources to make their own claims supported by self-selected evidence? Those questions are becoming increasingly relevant as historical thinking skills are embedded in Common Core literacy standards, Advanced Placement exams, International Baccalaureate courses, and so on. It is not enough to include primary source images in teacher PowerPoints or include primary sources sporadically on assessments. Students should be conditioning their historical thinking skills with primary sources, daily, as active learners in a 21st century social studies classroom.

This article provides practical suggestions for using primary sources for learning and strengthening historical thinking skills.


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