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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 »

Read and Learn

Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

How does a political cartoon use popular beliefs about women to make its point [...] »

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, Day 12.07 knowledge and understanding, July 12, 2009, frerieke, Flickr

Analyzing a source requires context for a more complete understanding. [...] »

Video screencap, 31 July 2012

How do the speeches of Sojourner Truth and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper differ [...] »

Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

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

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Lithograph, "Parole: Frieden! (Password: Peace!)," 1918, Library of Congress

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

Photo, Students on Stage at Holton Arms Schoo c. 1920-1950, Library of Congress

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

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

Screencapture, New Bedford, National Park Service hompage

Looking for new ideas on how to teach with the historic places in your [...] »

film negative, Man working with a projector in a movie theater, 1958 Feb. 9, Mar

Transform film from a source of entertainment to a piece of historical evidence. [...] »

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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, "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 [...] »

Photography, Cooking with Kids class, 25 Jan 2008, Penn State, Flickr CC

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

Poster, Williams, Brown & Earle, Inc., Grown Ups Enjoy Reading, Also., NYPL

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

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