Welcome to Best Practices

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
Narratives of Slavery

One institution, two very different perspectives. An expert contrasts [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Westward the Course of Empire"

Watch Suzannah Niepold guide TAH teachers through analyzing the differences [...] »

Frederick Douglass's Autobiographies

Use autobiographies to deconstruct views of slavery and historical heroes. [...] »

Thomas Nast Cartoon

Today, we accept paper—and electronic—money as a fact of life. Historian [...] »

The Salem Witch Trials

Absolving the guilty and punishing the innocent. Historian Elizabeth Reis [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Massive Resistance through Political Cartoons

Watch 4th-graders analyze cartoons about Virginia and Brown v. Board of [...] »

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Teacher Bill Kendrat demonstrates the techniques he uses to draw students in [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Analyzing Composition in Paintings

Incorporate art into lesson plans with this resource from The Metropolitan [...] »

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 [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
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 [...] »

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

Class discussion and personal inquiry builds an interactive relationship [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

Turn your students into 'master chefs' by using learning menus that allow [...] »

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 [...] »

The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

The language of history textbooks challenges English language learners and [...] »