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Best Practices

Engage students in a creative learning activity that will teach them to understand the importance of multiple perspectives and historical context. Though this unit focuses exclusively on colonial and pre-Revolutionary America, the concepts and practices outlined in the activity can be adapted for other periods in history. FIND OUT MORE »

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Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

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

Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

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

What is the key line in Franklin D. Roosevelt's second inaugural address? [...] »

Receipt, for a slave named Bett from Francis Moore, June 2, 1764, NYPL

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

Photo, . . .  a Cherokee Indian 'squaw' and her 'papoose, 1939, TN Archives

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

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Lithograph, "The people of these United States. . . ," 1864, Kellogg, LoC

This 8th-grade teacher shows how you can make primary and secondary source [...] »

Photo, 8th grade classroom in NYC. NHEC

An 8th-grade teacher asks: Was early 20th-century America a "melting pot" or a [...] »

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

Image, Marginalia, CHNM

Work with oral history interviews as historical evidence. [...] »

Screenshot, "Written Document," National Archives

Find the National Archive's worksheets for analyzing a variety of primary [...] »

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry

Marginalia, CHNM

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

Negative, "Schoolroom. Concho, Arizona," Russell Lee, Oct. 1940, LoC

Make the most of your textbook—engage students in close reading and [...] »

Marginalia, CHNM

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

Negative, "Sgt. John Clem, U.S.A.," 1855-1865, Library of Congress

Help students identify with the past via children who lived through the Civil [...] »

Print, "Bombardment of Vera Cruz," 1893-1896, J. Andre Castaigne, NYPL

Allow students to see that history as we know it is interpretation, perspective [...] »

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