Primarily Teaching

A Summer Workshop for Educators on Using Historical Documents in the Classroom

Presented by staff of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Dates and the application for Primarily Teaching 2013 will be posted later in the year.

  • The National Archives at Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • The National Archives at Kansas City, Kansas City, MO
  • The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, Abilene, KS
  • National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, DC
  • The Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, TX
  • The National Archives at Boston, Waltham, MA

What is the National Archives and Records Administration?
The National Archives and Records Administration preserves and makes available to the public the permanently valuable records of the U.S. Government. Although the best known of these are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, there are billions of textual documents, maps, drawings, photographs, films, sound recordings, and computer tapes in the National Archives holdings that record the American experience of government from 1774 to the present. The National Archives comprises the richest record of America's past in the nation. And all of this material is available to teachers.

What will Primarily Teaching offer teachers?
This workshop provides a varied program of lectures, demonstrations, analysis of documents, independent research, and group work that introduces teachers to the holdings and organization of the National Archives. Participants will learn how to research historical records, create classroom materials based on the records, and present documents in ways that sharpen students' skills and enthusiasm for history, government, and the other humanities. Each participant will search the holdings of the National Archives for documents suitable for classroom use and develop strategies for using these documents in the classroom, or design professional development activities to help classroom teachers use primary source documents effectively.

Who should attend?
Primarily Teaching is designed to provide access to the rich resources of the National Archives for educators at the upper elementary, secondary, and college levels. We encourage social studies and humanities teachers, as well as teachers of other disciplines across the curriculum, to apply - the records held at the National Archives touch on every imaginable subject matter.

What does the workshop cost?

  • The fee for each of the workshops is $100, which includes all materials.
  • Graduate credit from a major university is available for an additional fee for most sessions.
  • Participants will receive a stipend upon successful completion of the course and submission of a project.

Some comments from past participants:
"I am a critical audience who is always second-guessing the instructor in courses I take, but if each teacher of social studies took this . . . , the teaching and learning of history in this country would be utterly transformed."

"This is the BEST, most VALUABLE class I have ever taken. My vocabulary is insufficient to describe it properly. Thank you!"

"I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone with an interest in research and/or the social studies. There is no better way to earn 3 graduate hours! I hope to come back and do much more work here."

"I gained the confidence and knowledge and information to do my own research in the future."

"An energizing academic experience."

"I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of discovery. Many thanks to all those who supported us in many ways."

"A wealth of information and documents that will be incorporated in my teaching units."

"I have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for beginning yet another school year."

How do I apply?

The application for Primarily Teaching 2013 will be posted later in the year.

Completed applications, including registration fees, are due no later than six weeks before the workshop. Participation in each session is limited to 10 members, 15 in Washington, D.C. Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If, for any reason, you register and then need to cancel your registration, you must do so 30 days before the workshop in order to receive a refund.


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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272