"Common Sense" and the Declaration of Independence

Historical documents are one of the most important resources for learning History. The complex language in many of these documents can make understanding them a challenge, however. The historians in my 8th Grade US History classes have done several activities with two very important documents, with success. 

My students have studied Thomas Paine's "Common Sense", one of the most persuasive writings for the fight for American freedom and the Declaration of Independence, a document that formally stated the colonists' move to separate themselves from England. These documents are complex but we studied them and wrote parts of both in modern language. Processing activities allowed students to analyze the works, as well. 


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