Primarily Teaching 2016

Summer Workshops for Educators on Using Historical Documents in the Classroom

Teachers scanning documents in Washington, DCAll workshops will have a national theme—Taking a Stand in History—matching that of National History Day (NHD) in 2017. (Participation in NHD is not required.)

Locations and Dates

  • The National Archives at Atlanta, Morrow, GA, June 27–July 1
  • The National Archives in Washington, DC, July 25–29, FULL
  • Online, July 21–August 25
  • The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, August 1–5

On-site Workshops

You will explore a specific case study, with original documents in our archival holdings, that fits within the broader Taking a Stand in History theme:

  • Atlanta: Equal Opportunity on the WWII Homefront: The Commission on Fair Employment Practices and the South
  • Washington, DC: Native American History
  • The Truman Library: Truman and Civil Rights: The Desegregation of the Military

Teachers in a workshop in ChicagoDigitization of documents related to our case studies is our priority. You will identify between 3 and 5 items (documents, photos, maps, etc.) to scan and describe. We will add these to our online tool for teaching with documents—DocsTeach.org—while you are onsite. During the workshop, you'll produce a DocsTeach learning activity using these digitized primary sources.

After guided research in the case study, you will have the opportunity to continue researching that topic, or to go on to independently research a more specific topic of your choice related to Taking a Stand in History.

Cost & Credit

  • 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.


Apply no later than six weeks before the workshop. Participation in each session is limited to 10 members. Classes will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. See the Workshop Information for an application and further details.

Primarily Teaching workshops are made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the support of Texas Instruments.

Primarily Teaching Online

Teachers in a workshop in DCYou will learn tools and techniques to identify primary sources related to the Taking a Stand in History theme in our main online catalog. We will add your discoveries to DocsTeach.org and you will create a DocsTeach learning activity. The activity is your final exam.

Eight live webinars using GoToMeeting (accessible on most computer and hand-held devices and phones) will be held on Thursdays (8–10 p.m. ET) and Saturdays (12 noon–2 p.m. ET) from July 21 through August 13. You can attend the whole series or just a few classes; but please note that the July 21st webinar is required for admittance to all others.

Cost & Credit

  • Free
  • One graduate credit hour is available from Northwest Nazarene University for $60; you must attend all webinars.
  • Professional development clock-hour certificates from the National Archives are available upon request.


  • July 21: Simple online catalog searches and finding new documents to add to DocsTeach
  • July 23: Possible primary sources for Taking a Stand in History and how to find more
  • July 28: Student-driven document searches and advanced online catalog searching
  • July 30: Locating supporting National Archives materials for any lesson
  • August 4: Using and creating DocsTeach activities
  • August 6: Using documents for historical context
  • August 11: Fine-tuning your DocsTeach activity and adding materials from outside of the National Archives
  • August 13: Sharing participants' documents and activities (and final day to register for graduate credit)
  • August 25: Final day for all assignments to be completed in order to receive graduate credit


Registration is required. Complete our application form.

Past Workshops

Read about Primarily Teaching, including our past workshops, on our Education Updates blog.

Comments from Past Participants

  • "This was the best workshop I have ever attended."
  • "I loved the opportunity to do archival research...as well as the ability to select documents for digitization and for use in DocsTeach."
  • "It’s really satisfying to see the result...appear online, and then to have all these documents made available to other teachers..."
  • "I am more confident using primary source documents in my teaching."
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of discovery."
  • "I have a renewed sense of enthusiasm for beginning yet another school year."
  • "This is the BEST, most VALUABLE class I have ever taken. My vocabulary is insufficient to describe it properly. Thank you!"
  • "I loved looking through the boxes on the first day...I now feel confident reaching out to learn more."
  • "An energizing academic experience."

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