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DocsTeach: Find & Create Online Research Assignments

The ABCs of Classroom Accessibility

DocsTeach: Find & Create Online Research AssignmentsBring history to life for your students... and make online assignments with ease thanks to the National Archives new teaching tool.

As a Special Education Instructor, I am always looking for help as I modify assignments or create supporting materials for my student’s general classroom work. After some research, I found a great teacher resource for creating authentic historical materials:  DocsTeach.

 What is DocTeach?

Provided by the National Archive, this free website invites you to build custom portfolios of documents, audio, video and images for you class.

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You can collect and add your own classroom materials AND make your own online assignments using templates for making connections, finding a sequence, focusing on details, weighing evidence and more.

Teachers can make 21st Century materials available to one student or a classroom full of students with ease. Once you save your activity, you have a choice of:

  • keeping it in your account folder,
  • making it available to your classroom, or
  • publishing for anyone who goes to DocsTeach to use.


Find Activities: The National Archives have put together a Toolbox of Teacher Resources, so you will be ready to use your activity on the next school day.  Be sure to check out the materials that others have created!

How I Used DocsTeach to Modify Assignments for Special Ed Students

I recently built a mini-assessment for a student who just finished reading The Journal of Ben Uchida, Citizen 13559, Mirror Lake Internment Camp, California, 1942 . By using the resources at DocsTeach, I was able to use their Making Connections template, choose a National History Standard, the level on Blooms taxonomy, several photos, one document, and added my own comments and questions. 

In less than 20 minutes, I was able to save and publish my activity, assign it to my class and make it available online.

There is also an option to print out a professional looking PDF of the activity. However, this site has a great way to Go Green and save paper by allowing your students to view the activity, answer questions online and then email the completed activity to you. The results are sent to you with the student name on the email, the student answers embedded in the email, all in one place.

How to Use DocsTeach

In order to use this, you must first sign up for a FREE account at DocsTeach. Then, start your search for primary source materials, collect them in your activity folder and start creating assignments.

It is helpful to keep in mind your audience as your build your materials. If the activity is just for you and your students, you may not need as many specific details. Since I shared my activity, I included information about the Lexile reading level, interest reading level, and other details that might be of useful to special educators looking for materials.

How do you teach using primary sources or about historical texts? Share in the comments section!


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