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
Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman

Can you trust a biography? Historian Tiya Miles analyzes an 1869 biography [...] »

A Close Look at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

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

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

Smithsonian Barbara Clark Smith looks at what a colonial newspaper article [...] »

National Portrait Gallery: Teaching with 19th-Century Portraits

Watch Briana Zavadil White introduce teachers to portraits of inventors and [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Westward the Course of Empire"

Watch Suzannah Niepold guide TAH teachers through analyzing the differences [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Of the Student, For the Student, By the Student

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

Students in the Community

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

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Critically Analyzing Information Sources
Photography, Montana receives honorary degree from American University, 7 June 1

This source from Cornell University's Olin and Uris Libraries includes [...] »

Scholars in Action: Analyzing 19th-Century Letters
Negative, "Letters. Posting of letters III," c.1920-1950, Theodor Horydczak, LoC

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

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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, [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »