Primary Sources Banner 2011

January 2012

Using Primary Sources to Teach Difficult Topics
"Primary sources can serve as points of entry into challenging subjects that not only get a conversation started, but also allow our students to draw important conclusions."-- Lee Ann Potter
Potter, Lee Ann. "Teaching Difficult Topics with Primary Sources." Social Education. November/December 2011, Volume 75, Number 6: 284-290.


Difficult topics are always a part of social studies classes.  Students frequently question the decisions, laws, or customs of the past.  Primary sources allow voices from the past to reveal personal positions that can encourage discussion and examination of the decision process among students in the classroom.  These lessons present lessons on the conscription during World War I, the Flu Pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II prisoners of war, and telegrams between Governor George Wallace and President Kennedy regarding the integration of the University of Alabama.  Remember to preview all of the lessons to make sure that they are age and grade appropriate for your students. The lessons for this month are all written for high school students.


We would like to get your comments and suggestions about the lesson plans.  A Feedback button is located at the bottom of the lesson plan index for your convenience.


History at Home Activities for January
peace medal children 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday:  January 16, 2012                                      

Click on the link to create a peace medal to commemorate and celebrate the birthday of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.  This activity provides an opportunity to discuss the ways that we can all be better neighbors and citizens. 


Lunar New Year-The Year of the Dragon:  January 23, 2012                  

Create a paper lantern to celebrate the Lantern Festival, which is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, by clicking on the link. Glowing lanterns are a part of the celebration of the New Year which are used in evening parades.    

Traveling Backpacks for Spring
If you didn't get a chance to reserve in the fall, now is a great time to reserve a Traveling Backpack to match your spring curriculm. Each backpack is full of hands-on artifacts, activities for your class, DVDs, and a CD of the digital files of the activities that is yours to keep!  Through a generous grant from our support group, the Friends of the Alabama Archives, you will only pay $10.00 for the shipping of the backpack. Pick-up of the backpack is free. For more information, to browse subjects, and reserve a backpack go the Traveling Backpack web page.

                                  Backpack photo


"Stonewall" Jackson Memorial Fund Repayable Scholarship

 Established in 1955 by an act of the Alabama Legislature, this scholarship is a repayable, no-interest loan available to high school seniors who submit an application and a essay, which must meet specified criteria.  Additional information may be found here.

 About Us

 We tell the story of the people of Alabama by preserving records and artifacts of historical value and promoting a better understanding of Alabama history.


Alabama Department of Archives and History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
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