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
1804 Inventory

What can an inventory tell you about daily life in Delaware in 1804? Curator [...] »

Two Blues Songs

Written primary sources only tell you so much. To learn about history that [...] »

Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

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

Women's Suffrage Cartoon

How does a political cartoon use popular beliefs about women to make its [...] »

Close Reading for Vocabulary, Context, and Tone
Photo, Day 12.07 knowledge and understanding, July 12, 2009, frerieke, Flickr

Analyzing a source requires context for a more complete understanding.

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Causal Reasoning
Photo, An impatient domino. Flickr

The fictional Alphonse the Camel provides insight for one classroom.

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Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text
Video screencap, Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text, 27 Feb 2012

Discover the multiple strategies 5th-grade teacher Jennifer Brouhard uses in [...] »

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 [...] »

Teaching with Monuments and Memorials

Every town has a scattering of historical markers and statues. Discover what [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

Turn your students into 'master chefs' by using learning menus that allow [...] »

The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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