Road to Revolution: Patriotism or Treason? activitySee activities created with the Discussion Topic toolShowcase one document while posing a question or instructions to quickly engage students, focus classroom activity, and spark conversations.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn and practice document analysis techniques
  • Determine the content of a document and speculate for whom and why it was created
  • Understand a primary source document in historical context

To create a Discussion Topic activity:

  1. Go to My Activities and create a new activity.
  2. Choose a document. You can pull in all pages of a document, or only the specific page you will use. Decide whether students will be able to access all of the details available for the document (including dates and descriptions), simply the document images and titles, or nothing beyond what they can see displayed in the activity.
  3. Choose the full image or crop to a specific part of the document. Add optional questions, directions or text for discussion.
  4. Write instructions for your students, including an introduction and conclusion. You can include questions or a follow-up assignment in your conclusion. Students can email their responses to you if desired.
  5. Preview the student activity and create a snapshot.
  6. Lastly, describe your activity to other teachers by providing a summary. Tag it with the appropriate historical era, historical thinking skill, level of Bloom's Taxonomy, and grade level. You can also include detailed teaching instructions.

Teaching Tips

  • Model document analysis. Whether document analysis is the focus of the activity or not, work with students to pull apart the document to better understand it.
  • This flexible tool has a broad range of uses because you write in the instructions.
  • Start students thinking about a particular topic or analyzing a document as they enter the classroom.
  • Display writing prompts for students.
  • Start a classroom conversation at any time by displaying a document with instructions to students about what to think about and comment on.
  • Introduce students to document analysis techniques by displaying a document and modeling the questions you ask yourself as you try to understand it. You can also display guiding questions for them to answer.
  • Younger students can learn basic document analysis. For students in secondary grades, choose documents that require more extensive analysis and contextualization, or even further research, to practice higher-order thinking skills.

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