Using Primary Sources in the Social Studies Classroom

The research is clear!

The use of primary sources as an instructional tool in the social studies classroom will engage students, encourage high levels of learning, and create effective citizens. But with so much to do and so little time, how can teachers know what strategies and resources work best? Using the resources below can help.


Presentation Resources

Digging Deeper into Primary Sources presentation at Slideshare

Photo One / Photo Two
Library of Congress Document Analysis Worksheets
National Archives: Teaching with Documents & Analysis Worksheets
8 Tasty Graphic Organizers for Primary Document Analysis
Using Evidence / Analysis Worksheets
Padlet / Primary Sources example

Quick Draw
History Frame
Word Sorts
Book Bits
Summarizing Pyramid

Visual Discrepant Event Inquiry
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C4 Framework

Historical Thinking & Primary Sources

List of Primary Sources
Reading Like A Historian
Beyond the Bubble

National Council for the Social Studies: Teaching with Documents

Teaching with Primary Sources / Library of Congress Journal
Library of Congress Teacher Page

Library of Congress American Memory
America's Story from America's Library
Using Primary Sources (LOC)

National Archives Teacher Page
National Archives: DocsTeach - (Go here for aligned lessons to Common Core ELA standards)
National Archives: Our Documents

National Park Service / Links to the Past

Kansas Memory
Historical Thinking Matters
Historical Scene Investigation
Teaching History with Technology
Center for History and New Media

Teaching with Documents
Teaching with Primary Sources
Using Primary Sources on the Web

Historical Thinking Skills Interactives
Using Primary Sources in the Classroom

Making Sense of Evidence
Thinking Historically Matters

Literacy Resources

Tampering with the Past: Adapting Primary Sources for Struggling Readers
Adapting Documents for the Classroom: Equity and Access

Reading, Writing and Researching History
NCSS Notable Books (Lesson Plans)
Reading and Writing in the Social Studies
37 Writing Prompts
Social Studies Writing Prompts


Bruce Lesh Why Won't You Just Tell Us the Answer?
Sam Wineburg Reading Like a Historian

Pearl Harbor examples

Naval dispatch
Man on the Street interviews
Chart of Pearl Harbor on Google Earth