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
Cherokee Law of Blood

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

Slave Receipts

What do slave receipts reveal? Ever considered using similar documents to [...] »

The Election of 1932: Photographs of FDR

What can a photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 reveal? Donald A. [...] »

Women's Suffrage: Burroughs's Article

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

Japanese American Internment: Ansel Adams Photos

If the U.S. interned you and your family, how would you respond?

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Causes of World War I

Did two bullets begin WWI? Explore causation in your classroom.

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Teaching Strategies for Museums: Graphic Organizers
Detail, KWL graphic organizer

Eighth-grade teacher Amy Trenkle keeps students on-task before, during, and [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Making Sense of Advertisements
Ad, 1954, Linit Perfect Laundry Starch, Ad*Access

Advertisements have surrounded us for years. How can you interpret them? [...] »

Evoking the Past

When visiting historical sites, sometimes you need a visual/emotional "hook [...] »

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 [...] »

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, [...] »

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

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

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 [...] »

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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