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
Herman Melville's "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

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

Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman

Can you trust a biography? Historian Tiya Miles analyzes an 1869 biography [...] »

The Iran Hostage Crisis: Diary of Robert Ode

Diaries give a personal view of historical events. Historian Peter Hahn [...] »

My Lai Massacre Political Cartoon

Professor Meredith Lair examines a 1971 political cartoon and what it says [...] »

FDR's Fireside Chats

Historian Allida Black analyzes FDR's April 28, 1935 Fireside Chat. What [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Recreating the Cuban Missile Crisis

Ninth-grade teacher Jamie Kimbrough asked her students to stand in Kennedy's [...] »

What Does It Mean to Be an American?

An 8th-grade teacher asks: Was early 20th-century America a "melting pot" or [...] »

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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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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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

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

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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