Social Sundays: The 1 Website I won't teach History Without

People love "list" blog posts (the top ten teachers to follow on pinterest; 3 ways to do inquiry; 8 books for your social studies class).  So, I know your curious how I could just pick one website for teaching U.S. History.  I mean, shouldn't I have a nice big list?  And what I realized in trying to put together a list was that no, I didn't have one.  This website is the ONE essential site that I go to for all things U.S.History. 

You want to know what it is, now, don't you.  You are intrigued.  Maybe you have your own and want to see if I chose the same one. You might have. Well...(drum roll), my all-time, favorite, go to website for U.S. history is:

The National Archives.  The what? you might be asking.  The National Archives is the website run by the National Archives which is a museum and resource center based in Washington D.C. (and yes, this is a GREAT use of my taxes!) 

So, if you are wondering why this is my favorite:

  1. Primary Sources:  I love using primary sources in the classroom.  There is nothing as powerful as the words of documents, photos from events, and letters.  In a scavenger hunt activity, I found a letter a 12 year old had written to President Carter asking for disaster relief funds to pay for cleaning his room because his mom had declared the room a disaster. 
  2. Teacher Resources: Ready to use activities created by the National Archives are available at no charge.  The activities focus on specific documents or events.  
  3. Online exhibits for use by students:  We can't all take our students to Washington DC to visit the Archives (although if you do, the Archives was my students' favorite of the DC sites), students can explore online exhibits.  These rotate so students can access different information at different times such as this set of documents and photos related to President Nixon meeting Elvis Presley.  Students discover amazing moments in history.

In a nutshell, to get a picture literally of events and moments from U.S. history the National Archives is an outstanding resource for teachers.  Learn more about how I use primary source photos here.  

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Social Sundays
 is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.  



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