Welcome to Best Practices

Making Sense of Letters and Diaries
In Using Primary Sources
The Civil War in Art: Teaching and Learning Through Chicago Collections
In Using Primary Sources

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: "Inventing a Better Mousetrap"

Take a look at artifacts from the past—what might they be? Teachers model [...] »

Bill of Rights

Whitman Ridgway outlines some of the context in which the Bill of Rights was [...] »

Civil War Letters

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

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

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

Women's Rights: Sarah Bagley Letters

What do these letters from a women's rights activist reveal about social [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Teacher Bill Kendrat demonstrates the techniques he uses to draw students in [...] »

Causal Reasoning

The fictional Alphonse the Camel provides insight for one classroom.

[...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Why Historical Thinking Matters
photography, Statue of Captain Parker, 1902, Detroit Photographic Co, LOC

See this Flash movie for a peek at how historians read and question sources [...] »

Reading Like a Historian
Photo, We <3 Students Who <3 Reading, Mar. 9, 2010, Enokson, Flickr

Use the Stanford History Education Group's curriculum to teach historical [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
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 [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »