Welcome to Best Practices

Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation
In Teaching in Action
Intertextual Reading of Two Primary Documents
In Examples of Historical Thinking
Of the Student, For the Student, By the Student
In Teaching in Action

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
Civil War Letters

Historian Chandra Manning analyzes Civil War letters from black and white [...] »

The Election of 1932: Clifford Berryman Cartoon

Donald A. Ritchie, Historian of the U.S. Senate, asks how a political [...] »

Massive Resistance Political Cartoons

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

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

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

Letters from the Philippines

Letters from U.S. soldiers during the Philippine-American War reveal [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Foundations of American History: John Brown Song

How did people in the North feel about John Brown after his raid on Harpers [...] »

Integrating Language Arts and History

Elementary teacher Karen Eanes hooks her students with engaging historical [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Media Analysis Tools
Photo, Dwellers in Circleville's Hooverville, 1938, Ben Shahn, LoC

These worksheets from the Library of Congress help students analyze primary [...] »

Integrating Material Culture into the Classroom
Photo, me & Jackie's antique shopping field trip, tray, 2010, Flickr

Use this guide developed by PBS and the Antiques Roadshow to teach [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »

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 [...] »