Welcome to Best Practices

Why Historical Thinking Matters
In Using Primary Sources
People as Primary Sources: Conducting Interviews
In Using Primary Sources

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
Cherokee Law of Blood

A Cherokee Nation Supreme Court document reveals the fluidity of racial [...] »

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

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

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

Smithsonian Barbara Clark Smith looks at what a colonial newspaper article [...] »

Civil War Letters

Historian Chandra Manning analyzes Civil War letters from black and white [...] »

Women's Suffrage: Burroughs's Article

In the struggle for women's suffrage, how did African American women [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation

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

[...] »
Historical Context and Roleplaying
Photo, Students on Stage at Holton Arms Schoo c. 1920-1950, Library of Congress

A 5th-grade teacher teaches historical context through roleplaying [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Interactivity
Photography, James Lequlla: Newsboy, May 1910, Lewis Wickes Hine, LOC

Teach students how to utilize primary sources with this game from [...] »

George Washington, A National Treasure
painting, George Washington, 1817, John Trumbull, Flickr CC

This website by the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery will help students [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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

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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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