Welcome to Best Practices

Seeing (and Engaging in) Historical Thinking: A Tutorial
In Examples of Historical Thinking

Spotlight on Elementary Education

Oral histories and interviews are a unique form of historical documentation. This guide by Linda Shopes offers an overview of the various ways oral history can be integrated into classroom discussions. Though some of the techniques will have to be adapted for elementary students, the ideas Shopes presents are extremely useful. FIND OUT MORE »

Example of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking
An Introduction to Historical Thinking and Reading
Photo, [Old hermit Roy Ozmer. . . ], 1957, Flickr Commons

Watch this flash movie for a peek at how historians read and question [...] »

National Portrait Gallery: Teaching with 19th-Century Portraits

Watch Briana Zavadil White introduce teachers to portraits of inventors and [...] »

Piscataway Park and Tobacco Farming

What was it like being a small farmer in the 1700s? Follow a tour group [...] »

Creative Memo on Lay's Products

Potato chip marketing—how a luxury item became an everyday U.S. food.

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Slave Life at Mount Vernon

How do the buildings and artifacts at Mount Vernon reflect the lives of the [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation

An 8th-grade class analyzes letters about the Emancipation Proclamation.

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Using Maps as Primary Sources

A 4th-grade teacher shows strategies for encouraging and supporting student [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Picturing America
Photomechanical print, Young America and the Moving-Picture Show, 1910, L.M. Gla

Analyze art in the classroom with these resources from the Picturing [...] »

Bringing History Home’s SOCC Analysis Technique
Photography, IMG_0856, 7 Aug 2009, Carlos Almendarez, Flickr CC

Explore the SOCC analysis technique with this great website.

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

Show your students how to challenge the authority gap between the textbook [...] »

Opening Up the Textbook
Negative, "Schoolroom. Concho, Arizona," Russell Lee, Oct. 1940, LoC

Make the most of your textbook—engage students in close reading and analysis [...] »

Children’s Voices from the Civil War
Negative, "Sgt. John Clem, U.S.A.," 1855-1865, Library of Congress

Help students identify with the past via children who lived through the [...] »

The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

Turn your textbook into a conversation by scanning its language for biases [...] »

Using Historiography to Analyze the Mexican-American War
Print, "Bombardment of Vera Cruz," 1893-1896, J. Andre Castaigne, NYPL

Allow students to see that history as we know it is interpretation, [...] »