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
Smithsonian American Art Museum: Close Observation

Close observation and an inquisitive mind are all the tools you need to [...] »

The Election of 1932: Clifford Berryman Cartoon

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

Piscataway Park and Tobacco Farming

What was it like being a small farmer in the 1700s? Follow a tour group [...] »

Abolitionist Speeches by African American Women

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

Sourcing a Primary Document
Photo, Geologist examining cuttings from wildcat well, Amarillo, Texas (LOC)

See sourcing in action, as a historian reads a document about the Scopes [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Using Maps as Primary Sources

A 4th-grade teacher shows strategies for encouraging and supporting student [...] »

Exploring Historical Texts in a Discussion-Based Class

Trying to promote more productive and engaging discussions?

[...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Making Sense of Numbers
Photo, George Gaskell and Colm Muircheartaigh, c1980s, LSE Library

Quantitative data, although seemingly daunting and impersonal, can help you [...] »

Interactive Exercises—Analyzing Artifacts
Screencap, Native American mask detail, 18 Jul 2012, American's History in the M

In this series of exercises, students are presented with Native American [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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