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
Jefferson's Confidential Letter to Congress

Jefferson, surprised by the Louisiana Purchase? Maybe not. Historian Leah [...] »

Japanese American Internment: Ansel Adams Photos

If the U.S. interned you and your family, how would you respond?

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Creative Memo on Lay's Products

Potato chip marketing—how a luxury item became an everyday U.S. food.

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Primary Sources as Windows into the Past
Photo, Is Anybody Home?, 2006, Pink Sherbet Photography, D Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

Excite students by introducing them to primary sources that answer questions [...] »

Slave Receipts

What do slave receipts reveal? Ever considered using similar documents to [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Opening up the Textbook: Voices from My Lai

High school students use primary sources to question their textbook's [...] »

Reading and Thinking Aloud to Understand

Two practices help students to make sense of primary source documents on the [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Making Sense of American Popular Songs
Vocal score, "Ziegfeld follies. Borrow from me," c. 1912

Don't overlook song as a way of understanding the past.

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Secondary Sources: What Are They?
Photo, Final Day, April 11, 2005, *styler, Flickr

National History Day identifies secondary sources along with [...] »

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, [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

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 [...] »