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
Declaration of Independence

Historian Rosemarie Zagarri reads the Declaration of Independence closely, [...] »

Intertextual Reading of Two Primary Documents
Photo, "Collecting books for readers. . . ," 1964, LSE Library, FLickr Commons

A student demonstrates thinking aloud reading two documents.

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Slave Life at Mount Vernon

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

Pockets from the Past: Daily Life at Monticello

What do the contents of pockets say about their owners? TAH teachers model [...] »

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

How does the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Washington, DC, depict Grant and [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Teaching Historical Interpretation through Planning Documentary Films

Watch this 9th-grade teacher lead his class in planning, writing, and [...] »

Exploring Historical Texts in a Discussion-Based Class

Trying to promote more productive and engaging discussions?

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
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 [...] »

Primary Source Sets on the Web

Check out these sites for primary sources grouped into sets by topic, grade- [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
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 [...] »

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 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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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