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
Close Reading of a Primary Document
Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

On the website Historical Thinking Matters, a student reads aloud a [...] »

Massive Resistance Political Cartoons

Watch J. Douglas Smith discuss the Massive Resistance policy enacted by U.S [...] »

Intertextual Reading of Two Primary Documents
Photo, "Collecting books for readers. . . ," 1964, LSE Library, FLickr Commons

A student demonstrates thinking aloud reading two documents.

[...] »
A Close Look at the World War II Memorial

Historian Christopher Hamner introduces educators to the World War II [...] »

A Close Look at the FDR Memorial

Historian Christopher Hamner visits the original Franklin D. [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Students in the Community

Is a school an island? James Liou talks about working to integrate schools [...] »

Of the Student, For the Student, By the Student

Sixth graders in Prince William County film their interpretations of the [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Interactive Exercises—Analyzing Artifacts
Screencap, Native American mask detail, 18 Jul 2012, American's History in the M

In this series of exercises, students are presented with Native American [...] »

Making Sense of American Popular Songs
Vocal score, "Ziegfeld follies. Borrow from me," c. 1912

Don't overlook song as a way of understanding the past.

[...] »

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, [...] »

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 [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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