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Best Practices

Maps are excellent primary and secondary sources that provide us with a rich variety of information. Ensure you students have the skills to properly read and interpret maps by introducing them to the basic concepts discussed on this website early and often. FIND OUT MORE »

Read and Learn

Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

Photo, Is Anybody Home?, 2006, Pink Sherbet Photography, D Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

Excite students by introducing them to primary sources that answer questions [...] »

There is a flock of yellows birds above her head, HarpWeekly

Absolving the guilty and punishing the innocent. Historian Elizabeth Reis looks [...] »

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

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

Teachers discussing Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address at a workshop

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

Photo, Police Evidence Room, November 14, 2008, th.omas, Flickr

Challenge students to gather evidence from multiple primary sources. Here, a [...] »

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Screencapture, Mart McKenzie's classroom

Introducing your students to primary sources for the first time? Watch fourth- [...] »

Photo. Students celebrating. Capstone

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

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

Negative, "Letters. Posting of letters III," c.1920-1950, Theodor Horydczak, LoC

Watch a scholar interpret letters from labor activist and reformer Sarah Bagley. [...] »

Watercolor, "Ou présente à signer. . . ," Claude Louis Desrais, 1783?, LoC

The National History Day’s guidelines for defining and locating primary sources. [...] »

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry

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 [...] »

Marginalia, CHNM

Show your students how to challenge the authority gap between the textbook and [...] »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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