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Consider the Source Online

The Teaching With Historical Records Project connects educators throughout New York State with historical records. Valuable resources surround us in churches, museums, historical organizations, libraries, and state and local governments. They are highly engaging for students, especially when skilled teachers guide and encourage them to make discoveries using critical thinking skills. Consider the Source: Historical Records in the Classroom, originally published as a printed manual, introduces teachers to the how and why of using historical documents. The New York State Archives Partnership Trust's (APT) statewide Consider the Source Online: Teaching With Historical Records Project builds upon the foundation created by this widely-used and nationally-recognized publication. It brings together teachers and cultural institutions to develop an online network of learning communities and new tools created by educators. The National Archives' serves as an exemplary model for this project and will be featured as an additional resource for teachers.

Learn more and spread the word!

Need and Components

The value of using historical documents in the classroom is well-documented and well-known to educators. However, many New York teachers report that they do not know where to find engaging historical documents that support the topics and skills outlined in the NYSED Learning Standards, and lack the training and time to incorporate these resources into their classroom instruction.

APT is posed to overcome these challenges by developing, hosting and managing an interactive online resource for teaching with historical records, establishing a network of teachers and cultural institutions thereby increasing the use of historical records by students statewide. In-person and online professional development opportunities for educators - focused on incorporating historical documents into their classroom curriculum - will compliment the resources offered.

Online Resource

The APT will develop, host and manage the statewide online version of Consider the Source Online: Teaching With Historical Records Project featuring:

  • Digitized primary sources selected by educators and connected to the NYS Learning Standards
  • Teacher-developed, primary source lesson plans
  • Training modules providing guidance on how to use historical records in the classroom
  • Videos demonstrating various ways to bring historical records into the classroom
  • Online version of the educator resource guide for New York Archives Magazine
  • Calendar of professional development opportunities
  • Online support community where teachers and cultural organizations can ask questions and share ideas

Regional Outreach

  • Plan network-building events with local cultural institutions to promote the value and use of their resources with teachers
  • Bring together teachers, historians, librarians, and local cultural organizations to facilitate and encourage participation in project-based programs such as the New York State Archives Student Research Award Program and National History Day.

Professional Development

  • Partner with local BOCES to provide professional development opportunities with CTLE credit for teachers to learn how they can create local, primary source-based educational resources that will be uploaded to the statewide online community hosted by the APT.
  • Promote history-related professional development opportunities available through the APT and other organizations through an online calendar of events and training.

Why Teach With Historical Documents?

The educational use of primary sources (first-person historical documents, artifacts, video and audio recordings, and more) encourages the development of critical thinking skills such as: comparing and contrasting information, determining point of view, and authenticating sources for validity and reliability. By practicing these skills, students develop the qualities of an active and informed citizen.

Historical records are highly versatile. One document may be used in a 4th grade local history class, adapted for use in 8th grade health and incorporated into a 12th grade participation in government class. They are particularly valuable when adapted for use with all learning styles and for students taking English as a new language.

Regional Partners

Easter Suffolk BOCES
Western Suffolk BOCES
Nassau BOCES
Ulster-Orange BOCES
Jefferson-Lewis BOCES
Niagara Frontier Council for the Social Studies Buffalo History Museum


  • Conduct needs assessment to determine the appropriate services and professional development for each region
  • Establish Advisory Group of K-12 educators, professors of education, and history professionals to offer guidance for the development of education resources and professional development opportunities
  • Update and make available in a more accessible format the existing NYS Archives education projects such as La Escuela Electronica, Legacies Project, Erie Canal: New York's Gift to the Nation, Remembering World War I, and Throughout the Ages
  • Develop statewide online component modeling the National Archives' to allow users to log in, create and publish new learning activities, ask questions, and share information
  • Hire consultant educators to edit and write lessons and adapt documents for diverse learners
  • Partner with local BOCES to provide professional development opportunities
  • Provide teachers with a free one-year subscription to New York Archives Magazine and accompanying teacher resource guide, create by a New York State certified
  • Promote history-related professional development opportunities available through the APT and other organizations through an online calendar of events and trainings


Janet Braga or Jordan Maul
New York State Archives Partnership Trust
9C49 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
(518) 473-7105

consider the source