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This module focuses on how to use archival documents in the AP or college-level Spanish course and gives examples of their uses. It can be applied to both language and literature courses.


The Our Americas Archive Partnership offers many archival documents in Spanish that can be used in the Spanish language or literature classroom. All the documents in the collection include transcriptions and those in Rice University’s and Instituto Mora’s online collections offer digital page images as well. They are all freely accessible to teachers and students alike.

This module seeks to outline ways in which these historical texts can be incorporated into the classroom as parts of lessons, lectures, homework assignments, presentations, and special projects.

Excerpt of a josé martí letter

Marti letter
From Carta de Jose Marti a los presidentes de las organizaciones de cubanos exiliados en Florida, 18 de marzo 1893

Why use archival materials?

These historical documents can bring authentic material and culture into the classroom. They offer new ways of contextualizing culture, history, language, and literature and give human voices to elusive historical events. They also provide exciting visual elements for presentations!

What types of documents can i use in the classroom?

The Our Americas Archive Partnership hosts many documents that can be used in the Spanish classroom, such as:
  • Newspapers
  • Personal letters
  • Declarations of independence
  • Travel books
  • Books
  • Currency
  • Decrees
  • and many more

La guajira (habana)

La guajira
"La Guajira" from the book "Las Mujeres Españolas Portuguesas y Americanas"

Using archival documents in the classroom

Some lesson plans and activities have already been created to show how documents can be incorporated into the Spanish language and literature curriculum (see links in right-hand sidebar). These modules are geared toward the high school AP Spanish and college-level classrooms.

Instructors can use these historical documents, in whole or in part, as reading passages for their students. They can serve as springboards for discussions on culture or history or to assess reading comprehension. An example of such an activity is the lesson plan based on an excerpt from the book, Historia moral de las mujeres : “Historia de Xochitl”: A Cultural Spanish reading passage" . Such excerpts can be combined with custom glossaries or vocabulary lists made by the instructor or the by students themselves as a classroom or homework assignment (an example of a glossary/vocabulary list can be found here: Vocabulary list: "Historia de Xochitl" ).

Instructors can also combine archival material with canonical texts to contextualize the historic moment. An example of such a combination is the module Spanish Class Lesson Plan: Jose Marti's poems and letter . Other examples include using letters from the Texas Revolution (in Spanish); essay excerpts from the Spanish colonial period, such as Ensayo sobre la reducción y colonización de las tribus bárbaras del continente or Papeles sobre la reduccion del Seno Mexicano, y Sierra gorda ; historical maps; newspapers/gazettes, such as Gaceta del Gobierno Supremo de Guatemala and others; books; currency ; etc.

Instructors and students can work with transcriptions or the actual page images, which give a unique perspective of history, especially when dealing with handwritten documents. For supplemental material on reading archival documents, please see the following modules: Glossary of common colonial Spanish terms and phrases and Abreviaturas históricas (Historical Spanish Abbreviations) . They are located in both the Spanish literature and Spanish language course collections in the "Links" sidebar.

Chapultepec castle

View of Chapultepec Castle, at a distance

Assignment examples

  • Identifying verb tenses
  • Creating glossaries for excerpts
  • Essay projects (students can write their own letters/postcards set during a historical time period, write travel journals, write autobiographies/biographies, etc.)
  • Create a timeline based on a document (such as Cabeza de Vaca's Relación )
  • Create maps with labels
  • Create presentations using archival documents and/or images
  • Write a newspaper article about a historical event
  • Create an entire newspaper in a group based on historical events
  • Create Connexions modules using archival sources, which can be put together by the instructor in a "course" or collection (See Help: Modules and Collections ).

How do i find documents?

Instructors can find documents on the Our Americas Archive Partnership site by typing in search terms or using Americas Concepts (hemispheric-themed key terms) or Community Tags (tags assigned by users). We suggest using thematic search terms that deal with the unit or lesson area (such as colonialism, missions, conquest, Texas, etc.).

Questions & Answers

how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
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a perfect square v²+2v+_
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algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
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rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
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J, combine like terms 7x-4y
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how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
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Damian Reply
types of nano material
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I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
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what is nano technology
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preparation of nanomaterial
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Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
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Source:  OpenStax, Using historical documents. OpenStax CNX. Aug 05, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11316/1.6
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