Docs Teach by the National Archives ~ Primary Resources

Docs Teach by the National Archives houses a plethora of primary documents and photography from U.S. history organized by topics. The DocsTeach app includes different document-based activities, such as identification, matching, and short answer, designed to support users’ understanding of the presented sources. When users select an activity, they are given an “Introduction” and an “I’m Done” option. The “Introduction” option allows users to explore the content related to the topic they selected. When ready, users can select the “I’m Done” option, which will present them with multiple open-ended questions related to the topic. On the same screen,…

Review Overview

A. Instruction - 6.5
B. Design - 8.9
C. Engagement - 6.3

7.2

Docs Teach: A Best App for History Teachers

Summary : A top resource for primary documents!

Docs Teach by the National Archives houses a plethora of primary documents and photography from U.S. history organized by topics. The DocsTeach app includes different document-based activities, such as identification, matching, and short answer, designed to support users’ understanding of the presented sources. When users select an activity, they are given an “Introduction” and an “I’m Done” option. The “Introduction” option allows users to explore the content related to the topic they selected. When ready, users can select the “I’m Done” option, which will present them with multiple open-ended questions related to the topic. On the same screen, users are also presented with an email option that allows them to enter their email address, the email address of the receiver, and a box in which they can type their responses to the questions. With this option, users can send their responses to the questions they answered.

DocsTeach also allows users to create a free account. To do so, users must sign up on the docsteach.org website for a free account. Users can then create activities, borrow from other users’ activities, and access National Archives documents. After signing up and preparing their materials for class, users can access their pre-arranged content and materials from the National Archives in the DocsTeach app by the “Enter a Classroom Code” option on the main menu.

Instructional Ideas for Using Docs Teach

  1. Teachers can use DocsTeach to frame a class debate. To do so, teachers must first decide on a debate topic (e.g., the Revolutionary War). They then divide their class into two halves and assign each half a stance on a debate (e.g., the British or American perspective on the Revolutionary War). Next, teachers present their class a primary document related to a historical happening and allow the groups to form an argument based on the document. To help craft their argument, the groups can use apps such as SimpleMind+, Inkflow, Popplet, or iThoughtsHD. When ready, teachers can moderate the class debate using a point/counter point format.
  2. For an activity starter or a “Do Now” activity, teachers can instruct students to first view a certain primary document (e.g., the print of “The Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-Man” or “Tarring & Feathering of 1774”). After viewing the document, students compose a response to it or answer questions about it posed by the teacher. These primary-document pieces will serve as a lead-in for an upcoming lesson. Students can share their ideas with the class by posting them in Edmodo or Schoology or by emailing them to their teacher or a classmate.
  3. Students can use this app as a resource for a Document-Based Question (DBQ) writing assignment. To do so, teachers can assign students a list of primary sources to view using this app and provide them with a specific writing prompt in which they are to respond. Using evidence from the primary sources, students can then compose their response to the DBQ. Plus, students can use Pages or Quick Office to compose and email their responses.
  4. Teachers can use the pre-loaded activities in this app to provide students with independent learning opportunities.
A1. Rigor
A2. 21st Century Skills
A3. Conn. to Future Learning
A4. Value of Errors
A5. Feedback to Teacher
A6. Level of Material
A7. Cooperative Learning
A8. Accom. of Individual Diff.
B1. Ability to Save Progress
B2. Platform Integration
B3. Screen Design
B4. Ease of Use
B5. Navigation
B6. Goal Orientation
B7. Information Presentation
B8. Media Integration
B9. Cultural Sensitivity
C1. Learner Control
C2. Interactivity
C3. Pace
C4. Flexibility
C5. Interest
C6. Aesthetics
C7. Utility

Screenshots of Docs Teach

  • National Archives DocsTeach Screenshot
  • National Archives DocsTeach Screenshot
  • National Archives DocsTeach Screenshot
  • National Archives DocsTeach Screenshot