Seriously. If you haven’t made it over to the National Archives Education page, you are missing out. Lesson plans. Professional development stuff. Handy graphic organizers. It’s one of those sites that is non-negotiable for social studies people. If you’re not taking advantage of all of that goodness, you’re not as good a teacher as you could be. It’s just that simple.

But NARA has lots of other goodies out there.

DocsTeach is one of the those.

DocsTeach is a recent addition to the National Archives family. But it is the perfect place for teaching critical thinking and to help kids learn how to think historically. You can browse by historical period, by historical thinking skill, or by specific types of thinking tools for a huge number of lessons and activities. And because you and other teachers who are joining the site can create their own lessons using the embedded tools, the database of stuff gets bigger every day.

It really is a phenomenal collection of online lesson plans and resources. But wait. It gets better.

Last week, Mickey Ebert of the Kansas City National Archives branch, shared a short document with me and a few of my favorite middle teachers that aligns some of the DocsTeach lessons with the Common Core. So you can grab any grade and any literacy standard and end up with a great lesson.

It’s a very handy tool that not only provides a resource for a quick lesson but it also provides a resource for lesson design. Use the DocsTeach lessons as part of your instruction but don’t forget to steal the idea, and the structure of the lessons so you can adapt them to fit any of your units.

It’s a Word document so I’ve posted it below in a variety of formats.

  • Google Doc (links work)
  • Word document (links work)
  • PDF (links don’t work but you can search by lesson title on the DocsTeach site)

Don’t be afraid to share!