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Teaching Guide

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Guide Index

Introduction to
Writing History

Handout 1
Handout 2
Handout 3
Handout 4
Handout 5
Handout 6

Writing History with Objects and Documents

Teacher's Note
Student's Guide

Teacher's Note on Student's Guide

Students may require practice writing essays that rely upon artifacts and other primary sources. Have students consider the following pointers when developing essays that integrate varied sources and their own knowledge.

  • Consider the steps outlined in the "Student's Guide to Writing Effective Essays." Remind students that a good historical essay provides a written argument.

  • Analyze each document and object using the models suggested in this publication. Then place the evidence from the primary sources and artifacts into the outline along with additional historical information about the period.

  • Watch for inconsistencies within and between the documents. Look for tension and contradictions and explain them in the essay Not all the documents will agree with the thesis.

  • Use the artifacts and documents to support the arguments while also assessing the validity of the sources. A mere summary of a document or a simple description of an object is not sufficient in a document-assisted essay.

  • Be prepared for documents or objects that do not support the thesis completely. Students may need a paragraph that addresses contradictions or counterarguments. Students should use all of the available objects/documents, striving not to ignore sources that go against the main argument.
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