Analyzing a Letter to Congress About Bloody Sunday	activitySee activities created with the Spotlight tool.Display a document and highlight specific parts to quickly engage students and focus classroom activity.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn and practice document analysis techniques
  • Notice unique document features to inform analysis
  • Understand a primary source document in historical context

To Create a Spotlight Activity:

  1. Go to My Activities and create a new activity.
  2. Choose a document. You can pull in all pages of a document, or only the specific page you will use. Decide whether students will be able to access all of the details available for the document (including dates and descriptions), simply the document images and titles, or nothing beyond what they can see displayed in the activity.
  3. Choose the full image or crop to a specific part of the document. Drag your cursor over the image to spotlight certain sections. Add optional questions, directions or text for discussion.
  4. Write instructions for your students, including an introduction and conclusion. You can include questions or a follow-up assignment in your conclusion. Students can email their responses to you if desired.
  5. Preview the student activity and create a snapshot.
  6. Lastly, describe your activity to other teachers by providing a summary. Tag it with the appropriate historical era, historical thinking skill, level of Bloom's Taxonomy, and grade level. You can also include detailed teaching instructions.

Teaching Tips

  • Model document analysis. Whether document analysis is the focus of the activity or not, work with students to pull apart the document to better understand it.
  • Focus students’ attention on one signature, word choice, stamp, or other characteristic of a document and ask them to speculate about who made the mark. This helps students understand the life of the document and its context.
  • Direct students to examine particular content within a document to examine word choice.
  • Younger students can learn basic document analysis techniques. For students in secondary grades, choose documents that require more extensive analysis and contextualization, or even further research, to practice higher-order thinking skills.

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