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
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Teaching the Reconstruction? Ford's Theatre's Sarah Jencks leads teachers [...] »

Japanese American Internment: Ansel Adams Photos

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

[...] »
A Close Look at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Historian Christopher Hamner engages educators in close questioning of the [...] »

Slave Receipts

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

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: Personalizing History

Make large-scale historic events like the Holocaust personal with artifacts [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
FDR's Fireside Chats

High school teacher Joe Jelen combines roleplaying and critical analysis—by [...] »

Third Graders Analyzing Historical Sources

A 3rd-grade teacher leads her students through analysis of child labor [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
The Thomas Jefferson Building: Secret Messages
Detail, The Thomas Jefferson Building homepage

What messages are hidden in art and architecture? Explore the Library of [...] »

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 II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

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, [...] »

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 [...] »