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
Slave Life at Mount Vernon

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

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 [...] »

Women's Rights: Sarah Bagley Letters

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

Letters from the Philippines

Letters from U.S. soldiers during the Philippine-American War reveal [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Inventing a Better Mousetrap"

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

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation

An 8th-grade class analyzes letters about the Emancipation Proclamation.

[...] »
Historical Context and Roleplaying
Photo, Students on Stage at Holton Arms Schoo c. 1920-1950, Library of Congress

A 5th-grade teacher teaches historical context through roleplaying [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Picturing America
Photomechanical print, Young America and the Moving-Picture Show, 1910, L.M. Gla

Analyze art in the classroom with these resources from the Picturing [...] »

Document Analysis Worksheets
Screenshot, "Written Document," National Archives

Find the National Archive's worksheets for analyzing a variety of primary [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »