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Opportunities for Teachers and Students

Free Professional Development Workshops for Teachers

The Department of State has partnered with the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives and National Archives Foundation to offer six one-hour professional development sessions from October 2021-March 2022. Workshops will provide guidance and resources for introducing key civics and history topics into your classroom, and tips for using primary sources to enhance student learning. Take as many or as few as you like!

Sessions will take place on the third Wednesday of the month beginning October 20. All sessions will be virtual. The National Archives Foundation will provide certificates for all participants.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 3:30-4:30 pm
6 Big Ideas in the US Constitution

This lesson engages students in a study of the Constitution and the major concepts of government that underlie it. Students collaborate to create a visual “map” of the Constitution and then analyze the Charter’s main ideas in a variety of ways, including analyzing primary sources and debating core constitutional principles.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 3:30-4:30 pm
The Legislative Process

Students collaborate to complete an oversized board game/flowchart in a lesson illustrating the process of how a bill becomes a law, and they analyze historic congressional documents to identify what happens at each step along the way.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 3:30-4:30 pm
What Congress Does and Why it Matters

Students collaboratively assemble a visual model depicting twenty congressional actions in a lesson that teaches the concepts of representation, separation of powers, and the constitutional role of Congress. They strengthen their understanding by analyzing primary sources and congressional actions.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 3:30-4:30 pm
The Impact of Racial Discrimination on Black American Lives in the Jim Crow Era

Students analyze documents from the holdings of the National Archives to assess the impact of legalized racial segregation on the lives of Black Americans from 1944 - 1960.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 3:30-4:30 pm
Teaching Treaties – Primary Sources Related to Treaties with Native Communities

(Link to come later.) Educators learn how to incorporate primary sources related to American Indian treaties into lesson plans. Activities and resources from the National Archives include an overview of the National Archives Treaties digitization project, and explore how to include discussions of American Indian treaties by looking closely at these important documents and their history.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 3:30-4:30 pm
Teaching the Big Picture – Incorporating Photographs into Lesson Plans about Native Communities

(Link to come later.) Learn how to incorporate photographs from the National Archives into your lessons about American Indian communities. Educators will explore how to locate photographs in our holdings, the process of analyzing and interpreting primary source documents, and ways to contextualize the history depicted in the images.


Civic Leadership Award

The Civic Leadership Award is given annually to high school juniors who have made outstanding contributions to their schools and communities over the past year.

Civic Leaders

National History Day Contest

The National History Day Contest, administered by the Rhode Island Historical Society, invites students to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice for entry into a local competition. Students who utilize materials from the Rhode Island State Archives for their project are eligible for the RI Secretary of State Prize.

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