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Adapting Documents

Adapting Documents

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Adapting Documents

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  1. Adapting Documents WHAT IS IT? • Preparing and modifying primary source documents so that all students can read and analyze them in their history classrooms.

  2. Adapting Documents RATIONALE • Often primary sources use complex or antiquated language • A challenge even for able readers! • Adapting a variety of historical documents for use in the classroom will allow students greater access to important reading and thinking opportunities.

  3. Adapting Documents METHOD • Adapting documents for the classroom may include: • Making them shorter, clearer, and more focused • Use of excerpts or ellipses • Including helpful head notes • Giving clear source information • Providing a word bank • Directing attention with guiding questions • Simplifying syntax and vocabulary

  4. Structured Academic Controversy: Was the West a land of freedom and opportunity?

  5. Select a Document You are faced with a pile of documents on your table…. …pick one that you will adapt for a 5th grader.

  6. Create a Head Note On your document or separate sheet of paper… • Make sure that the source of the document is clear. • State whether you found it online or in a book, clearly identify when, where, by whom, and for whom the source was originally created. • Create a head note that includes background information and even a brief reading guide. • YOU MAY HAVE TO RESEARCH THIS A BIT!

  7. Focus the Document • Judicious excerpting with a liberal use of ellipses makes any document more approachable and accessible.

  8. Simplify the Document • Cut any confusing or nonessential phrases to make it shorter and easier to follow • Replace difficult words with easier synonyms • Modify irregular punctuation, capitalization, or spelling • Provide a vocabulary legend • Create focus questions

  9. Other Considerations… • Usealarge type (up to 16 point font) • Provide ample white space on the page • Use italics to signal key words • Bold challenging words

  10. Avoid Pitfalls • Explain that students are working with documents that have been specially prepared for the classroom. • Ex. "Some of the language and phrasing in this document have been modified from the original" posted at the bottom of the page may be useful. • Adapting documents is simply a tool to help novice historians develop their skills and access content.

  11. Share Adapted Documents…

  12. For Further Information • http://historicalthinkingmatters.org/ • http://teachinghistory.org/teaching-materials/teaching-guides/23560