There are a number of ways that teachers may want to use Today's Document in the classroom. It can be used as part of a daily or weekly activity in United States history courses. Teachers could project the daily document and have students make connections to current issues or topics from the curriculum. In BYOD or 1-to-1 classrooms, students could do regular reflections on documents as a kind of warm-up or conversation starter. Today's Document might also spur some research; even though it doesn't have tremendous depth and is in need of updating, the links provided could be helpful to students as they're learning about a particular topic. In addition, teachers can search for documents to integrate into an assignment to develop critical-thinking and writing skills.Continue reading Show less
Today's Document is a free history app that provides users with a primary document per day from the National Archives. A significant historical document or image is displayed each day of the year. With each resource, users can zoom in to get a closer look, read background information related to the document, and access links for further research. Along with the daily document, users can search for any topic or by any date to uncover specific resources that might be useful in the classroom. Additional features include the ability to share documents, to scroll through a calendar, and to star documents for later use. Unfortunately, the app has not been updated recently, and a few bugs limit its value as a classroom tool.
The integration of primary documents into the curriculum is a big part of Common Core, and Today's Document is a simple tool that helps teachers find relevant materials. Since it's a pretty cut-and-dried experience, the value here hinges on how the app is used by classroom teachers. History buffs will certainly enjoy a daily window into the past by allowing them exposure to key documents that shaped America. For most students, it will be necessary to supplement and provide background information to help students make connections between the documents and the class content and to prompt daily usage and exploration. Many of the documents are written at a high reading level and must be edited and/or accompanied by a guided assignment. The links provided with each document will be useful for both students and teachers who want to further understand either the document or the topic. There are some visual documents that would be useful for struggling readers and English language learners.
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