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
John Smith Map

Watch Smithsonian curator Barbara Clark Smith discuss John Smith’s Map of [...] »

Slave Life at Mount Vernon

How do the buildings and artifacts at Mount Vernon reflect the lives of the [...] »

Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

Is reading a piece of historic literature once enough? Not if you want to [...] »

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 [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Close Observation

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

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Recreating the Cuban Missile Crisis

Ninth-grade teacher Jamie Kimbrough asked her students to stand in Kennedy's [...] »

FDR's Fireside Chats

High school teacher Joe Jelen combines roleplaying and critical analysis—by [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Primary Sources: What Are They?

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

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
Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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

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 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 [...] »