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DocsTeach lesson plans aligned to the Common Core

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!

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Debra Rhodes #

    Is there a comparable resource available for world studies or world history?

    November 12, 2012
    • glennw #

      The National Archives and the Library of Congress are obviously focused on telling the story of the US. But there resources on both of those sites that could be used by contemporary World History teachers. DocsTeach has the aligned lessons and you can search Common Core standards at the LOC:

      I haven’t found a lot places out there that organizes its World History database by Common Core standards. One that does is ThinkFinity:

      November 12, 2012
  2. Mrs. Wintermote #

    I got really excited reading your post…but then I discovered there doesn’t seem to be anything at the elementary levels. Do you have any idea if that will still be coming?

    November 15, 2012
    • glennw #

      Mrs. Wintermote,

      The Common Core Literacy Standards for Social Studies / Science focus on grades 5-12 so the NARA people focused on aligning their activities on those grades. K-5 teachers are expected to embed some of this directly into the ELA instruction.

      But I understand what you’re saying. There doesn’t seem to be much for K-5 yet. A good place to start though is at a site called If you go there, you can search by “State Standards.” Scroll down through the list and find your state and Common Core standards, select your grade, and content area. You can find a ton of activities by grade level. Good luck!


      November 15, 2012

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