Recommended Children's and Pedagogy Literature: American Revolution and Primary Sources

I recommend the following books for use when teaching the era of the American Revolution to students in intermediate-level grades:

Women of the Revolutionary Era

In a response to a colleagues' posting during this module, DeLores McInnis prepared the following:

In Lesson 4 from The Way We Saw It – The American Revolution in Illustration and Art, pg. 17, the picture depicting Mary Ludwig Hays preparing a cannon to be fired would be a great attention grabber for third graders to find out more about women’s roles in the American Revolution. Using the format from What Questions Do We Ask of the Past – Thinking Like a Historian you can write third grade appropriate questions for each step of the process. The primary resources you listed will definitely give students background knowledge to be successful in their discoveries and they research and participate in real experiences (e.g., sewing bee).

I did some of my own research to find primary resources for this topic. There are a vast amount of images you can access through Google that show the different roles women played during that time period.

Video Clips about Women and the Revolution

Additional Resources for Teaching about Women and the Revolution

A great website of resources for kids on the American Revolution:

I even Googled liberty cloth and got this resource. It’s a readers theater play from Scholastic Printables titled Daughters of Liberty—Spinning for Liberty (4 – 8 grades). You have to subscribe to this site to print it. It could possibly be rewritten for third grade readers. This activity would help build oral literacy and reading skills."

Another idea would be to contact a local chapter of the Daughters of Liberty to come to your classroom to do a presentation.

Revolutionary Women and Bloom's Taxonomic Levels

All of these primary resources would lend themselves to all the level of Bloom’s taxonomy:


  • List jobs women had during the American Revolution
  • Name some famous women of the American Revolution
  • What made women fight during the American Revolution?


  • Compare and contrast mothers then and now.


  • If you were to interview a women of the American Revolution, what questions would you ask?


  • What did you discover about the women of the American Revolution.


  • Predict what would of happened in women did not take on the jobs of men during the American Revolution.


  • Do you agree with the actions of the women of that time: boycotting, creating jobs, going to war, demanding an education, etc.? "

Content Lecture: Drs. Green and Beachley (10/28/09)

Click here to listen to an audio of the lecture delivered by Drs. Green and Beachley during the October 28, 2009 session (Session II).

Lecture: Michael Green — "Nevada during the American Revolution"

Click here to access Dr. Michael Green's lecture titled "Nevada during the American Revolution."

Article: "Thinking Like a Historian: A Framework for Teaching and Learning" by Nikki Mandell

I recommend the article "Thinking Like a Historian: A Framework for Teaching and Learning" by Nikki Mandell. The article, appearing in the April 2008 issue of OAH Magazine of History, outlines the theoretical reasons for teaching students why they should engage in historical inquiry and provides guiding scaffolds for assisting students through the process.

An American Revolution Bulletin Board

After seeing this bulletin board example in the April 2008 edition of OAH Magazine of History, I saw the potential for modifying it for use when teaching about wars. What a wonderful way to have students learn from while creating a bulletin board!

Teaching Students: "What Are Primary Sources?"

I recommend "If Pictures Could Talk, If Walls Could Whisper: Revolutionary Practices that Engage Students in History," a slideshow presentation delivered by Delise Sanders at the National Council for History Education Conference in 2008. The conference slides introduce teachers to methods for helping students develop an understanding of an appreciation for primary sources. Using many student-made and literature-based examples, Sanders suggests starting with student projects focusing on their own lives, moving toward local history, and eventually studying broader national historical topics.

Battle Ground Nevada--Using Library of Congress Primary Sources in the Classroom

Getting to Know Lincoln through Primary Sources
Assignment Desription

Project Focus: Inquiry Question Related to Abraham Lincoln

Participants will work in groups of five to develop an inquiry question relating to Abraham Lincoln. They will identify primary sources available on the Library of Congress website to answer their inquiry question. These primary sources will then be made available to students in the form of a primary source sets accompanying the inquiry question. Each group will create a blog entry including the following items:
  • Links to a collection of five artifacts including
    • One official document
    • One informal document
    • One picture
    • One other artifact type (e.g., audio, video, 3-D artifact)
    • One other artifact
  • Information for each artifact
    • Text of all text-based artifacts
    • Key vocabulary terms related to the artifact
    • An artifact description
      • Content of artifact
      • Author's/Creator's point of view
      • Context of artifact (e.g., timing, politics, social climate)
    • Student questions for engaging students in higher level thinking about the artifact
    • Student suggestions for imaginative thinking (e.g., "What would happen if...?," "Would it be better if...?") and suggested strategies for answering the questions (e.g., create a timeline)

      Activities for Working with Primary Source Documents

      The Primary Source Learning offers a list of primary source-related instruction strategies.

      The National Archives and Records Administration introduces myriad strategies for use with primary sources in this informational sheet. In it, they recommend and offer suggestions for using primary sources in the following ways: a focus activity, brainstorming activity, visualization exercise, project inspiration, dramatic presentation activity, writing activity, listening activity, creating a documentary, cross-curricular activity, current events activity (what is past is prologue), drawing connections activity, integrating geography activity, small group hypothesis activity, self-reflective exercise, and assessment.
      Using Primary Source Sets

      To identify groups of primary sources used for teaching specific content and developing inquiry projects, visit

      Analyzing Primary Sources

      There are excellent resources for having students analyze a variety of primary source types (e.g., cartoons, photographs, audio recordings, art). Visit
      "Found Poems"

      Have students work with a single teacher-selected primary source document. Students will review the document highlighting words that are important to them. They then cut out twenty of those words (of their choosing) that are the most meaningful for them. They then make a poem by arranging these words into their own creation.
      Note: You may use the primary source set within the Community Center called "Found Poems" for this activity.
      Primary Source Overviews

      Create a page-long overview including basic information about specific artifacts. Information may include:

      • “Author’s Point of View”
      • “Resource Overview"
      • "What Do You See?”
      • “Thinking about the Picture” (e.g., suggestions for seeking more information, links, other resources, provide assignments for working with the resource)
      • “Using Your Imagination” (e.g., Ask questions like “What would happen if…? “Would it be better if…?” and offer suggested strategies for answering the questions such as creating a timeline)

      Basically, provide detailed educator-friendly data about given artifacts in a primary source set. Note, this idea is based on the EduPress sets titled "Exploring Primary Sources."


      Sort It Out

      Provide artifacts and have students start with a question (e.g., “How have resources and materials changed the way we live and travel?”). Using that question, have students separate them into a pre-defined number of categories. Students have to determine category names and subcategories within the main categories and fit each artifact into their self-selected categories.


      Scavenger Hunt

      Ask students to engage in a scavenger hunt where they simply seek the types of resources available in the collection(s). Examples would include newspapers, pictures, videos, statistics, broadsides.


      Life in a Box

      Create a packet of six artifacts relating to the life of one individual. The items should be scaffolded in a method leading from more to less obscure and each should be numbered from one to six. Pass around each artifact one time at a time. Have students try to determine the name of the person in the box in the least number of artifacts. When done, have students write how each item relates to the person on the box.


      Video: Introduction to the Library of Commerce Collections

      This video was developed by the Library of Congress to introduce patrons to their resources.

      Resources on the Revolutionary War

      I recommend the following websites for primary source and other content about the American Revolution era:

      Example Student-Made Foldables

      The pictures below were taken of foldable projects completed in Mr. Lee Thompson's seventh grade U.S. History class at Fertitta Middle School.

      Sample Foldable: Joseph Walker

      Sample Foldable: Dictators of WWII

      Sample Foldable: The First Five Amendments

      Sample Foldable: The 13 Colonies

      "Bunker Hill Bunny"

      Click here to access "Bunker Hill Bunny," the video Dr. Green had hoped to share during our last class session.

      Margaret Loveall's Foldable

      Margaret Loveall's Foldable

      Lecture: DeAnna Beachley - Women of the American Revolution

      This audio lecture was recorded by Dr. DeAnna Beachley to teach about the women of the Revolutionary Era.

      Women of the Revolutionary Era — Dr. Beachley (Audio Lecture)

      Lecture Slides: “Integrated Social Studies Unit Planning”

      Click here for the lecture slides from Week 3 of the American Revolution module.

      Procuring Artifacts

      The following website is recommended by Mr. Jeff Hinton for procuring historical artifacts and sharing educational materials.

      Go to the link titled "For Teachers."

      In addition, many newspapers, maps, and writings are available at Archiving Early America and you can find additional period-specific resources at Eyewitness to History.

      Activity Suggestions

      Below are a list of resources and suggestions for teaching about this era or teaching with primary sources.

      If Twitter Existed during the Revolution

      Teaching with Documents: Images of the American Revolution
      This packet of materials introduces primary sources available via the U.S. National Archives and the relationship of some of these items to the American Revolutionary Period. The packet includes links to all the documents mentioned and includes several related lesson plans. In particular, there are activity suggestions for teaching about the U.S. Constitution. The site also links to document analysis worksheets.

      Teaching the Declaration of Independence as a Break-Up Letter
      This lesson idea was conceived by Eric Langhorst, and 8th grade U.S. history teacher in Liberty, Missouri. He begins by reading a note his students believe he found on the floor the previous school day. The letter is signed "The American Colonies" and s the beginning of a discussion about the purpose and text of the Declaration of Independence.

      Bullet Poem Student Project
      Also conceived by Langhorst, this activity requires students write poems from the perspectives of war bullets. Langhorst uses the activity as part of his Civil War unit, but the activity suggestion would work well with any war. In addition to the lesson description, Langhorst includes a sample poem written by one of his 8th grade students.

      Note: Langhorst's activity suggestions are also available in audio format. Subscribe using iTunes to "Speaking of History......."

      Revolutionary War Political Cartoons
      This lesson was conceived by Lee Thompson of Las Vegas, Nevada. Students in his middle school American history classroom design their own political cartoons. The instructions inform students that the cartoons must make a political statement relating to the Revolutionary era, the political statement must be written on the cartoon or on the back of the cartoon, and the cartoons are due the day they are assigned. Sample cartoons of student artists in Mr. Thompson's class appear below.

      Pedagogy Lecture: Dr. Keeler (11/17/07)

      Click here to access Dr. Keeler's lecture titled: "Historical Inquiry Through Primary Sources and Foldables"

      Click here to access slides from the lecture reproduced in October, 2009.

      Content Lecture: Drs. Green and Beachley (11/14/07)

      Click here to listen to an audio of the lectures delivered by Drs. Green and Beachley during the November 14, 2007 session.

      Dinah Zike's Sample Foldables

      You may access directions for sample foldables here.

      You may access the Dinah Zike site here.

      During the 2009 NCSS Annual Conference, Dinah Zike showcased the below samples.

      These samples are useful for displaying timelines.

      This is an excellent model for scrapbooking notes, writing reports, or completing multiple biographies.

      Lecture Slides: "Using Primary Sources and Foldables to Encourage Historical Inquiry" (Keeler)

      Click here for the lecture slides from the Dr. Keeler's lecture titled “Using Primary Sources and Foldables to Encourage Historical Inquiry.”

      Click here for Kathy Schrock's website titled "Navigating Primary Source Materials on the Internet."

      Click here for the lecture slides from the Kathy Schrock's lecture at NECC 2006 titled “A Three-Hour Tour: Navigating Primary Source Materials on the Internet.”

      Using a Blog

      In response to those who have had some problems maneuvering through blogs, I've prepared the following text-based tutorial...

      You've made it to a blog so you've already experienced some success - YAHOO!!!!
      This text will hopefully get you started using the blog more effectively. Print out these instructions (or copy/paste them into a word processor), and follow along with the blog as I describe what to do.

      Let's take a look at the some posts (entries into the blog). You'll see the date on the top and a orange link with a title. This orange link goes to the post itself, or you may just read what you see under what is orange. If you click on the orange title, it will move the post on which you clicked to the top of the screen. That's not very helpful for our purposes. Now, look to the right and see the menu bar. You may need to scroll down a bit, but you'll see an entry that says "Teaching with Documents." If you click on it, that entry/post will move to the top of the screen. You will still be able to scroll up and down to find the other posts, this is just a quick way to find the one you're seeking (and a condensed method to see what's available).

      Now, let's look at the "Teaching with Document" post. Again, if you click on the post title, nothing will happen, it will just move that post to the top of the screen. Since the post is already at the top of the screen, it won't move. Now, let's look within the post. All posts start with a title, then there is text (sometimes including embedded links) a line on the bottom, and then a "Posted by Christy Keeler..." statement. When you see that "Posted by..." statement, you're at the end of that post and the next line is a new post (sometimes preceded by a date).

      Let's keep looking at the "Teaching with Documents" post. You see the title in orange and then some grey text underneath. In this text, I either share content I need to share, or I describe a linked resource, as is the case here. If you hover over the "here" text, you'll see that the link is active. You can click on it and go to a page within the NCSS website. Click the "Back" button to return to the blog.

      In some posts, you'll find a link to a video or audio. This is true in the "Welcome to the Podcast/Vidcast" post. Use the menubar on the right to click on that post now. The "Welcome to the Podcast/Vidcast" post jumped to the top of your screen. Right under the post title, you'll see pink text saying "Introduction to Module - Audio." This is an active link to an audio file. If you click on it, you will be able to hear the audio. There will not be any video because this is an MP3 (audio), not a MOV or MPEG-4 (video) file. If it were a video file, it would either open the video automatically or download it to your computer.

      iPod and iTunes Help

      Using iTunes

      Click here for a text-based set of instructions on how to use iTunes, or click below for a video introduction.

      iTunes Video

      Subscribing to Our Podcast

      To subscribe to our podcast, go to the iTunes podcast directory and type in "American Revolution Primary Source." Choose the podcast with the author "Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D." Then click on "Subscribe."

      To subscribe to our podcast by going to "Advanced" in the iTunes menubar and select "Subscribe to podcast. Copy and paste the following link into the URL pop-up window:

      Using Your iPod

      The video linked below introduces use of a video iPod. For new users of the technology, you may find this very helpful.

      iPod Video

      Teaching with Documents

      Click here to access the National Council for the Social Studies articles on Teaching with Primary Documents.

      Primary Source Analysis Sheets

      Click here to access primary source analysis sheets.

      Assignment: American Revolution Unit Plan

      Click here for the expectations for the American Revolution unit plan assignment.

      Click here for the unit plan template.
      Click here for a unit plan template that is longer than five days.

      Click here for access to State of Nevada Social Studies Standards. Use the links on the left to access each of the discipline standards within the social studies.

      Below are links to model unit plans. Note that the below plans were developed with different expectations than those outlined in this assignment, but the units below should provide nice examples of quality plans.
      The following unit plans were developed by previous participants in this module. I highly recommend each of the below unit plans on the American Revolution.

      Assignment: American Revolution Discussion Posts/Responses

      Click here for the expectations for the American Revolution foldable assignment.

      Assignment: American Revolution Foldable

      Click here for the expectations for the American Revolution foldable assignment.

      Course Syllabus

      Click here for the course syllabus.

      Welcome to the Podcast/Vidcast

      The purpose of this blog is to post audio, video, and other content for use during the American Revolution/Primary Source Document module of the Clark County School District Teaching American History Grant. The posts appearing here will be delivered to participants in the module via the iTunes podcast: “TAH: American Revolution and Primary Source Documents” (

      This podcast was developed as part of an elementary-level Clark County School District Teaching American History Grant. The three-year grant will fund six modules per year with each module focusing on a different era of American history and a different pedagogical theme. This podcast focuses on the American Revolution and Primary Source Documents in Elementary Schools. Participants in the grant are third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers in Clark County (the greater Las Vegas are), Nevada. Teaching scholars include Drs. Michael Green and Deanna Beachley of the College of Southern Nevada and Dr. Christy Keeler of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As part of this five week module, teachers meet on campus on two occasions and the remainder of their work is completed online.

      The culminating experience for the module is participant development and use of a unit plan on primary source documents of the American Revolution utilizing a Dinah Zike paper-folding project.

      Introduction to Module — Audio