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
Ford's Theatre: Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Ford's Theatre Society's Sarah Jencks leads teachers through Abraham Lincoln [...] »

John Brown's Body

Chandra Manning discusses the song “John Brown's Body,” and how music can be [...] »

My Lai Massacre Political Cartoon

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

Visiting the George Mason Memorial

How can you get teachers thinking about monuments and memorials as secondary [...] »

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
Geo-Literacy Project: Students Explore Their World

Teacher Eva La Mar's third graders become historians, writers, and [...] »

Of the Student, For the Student, By the Student

Sixth graders in Prince William County film their interpretations of the [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Scholars in Action: Analyzing 19th-Century Letters
Negative, "Letters. Posting of letters III," c.1920-1950, Theodor Horydczak, LoC

Watch a scholar interpret letters from labor activist and reformer Sarah [...] »

SCIM-C: Historical Source Analysis
Photo, ". . . Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Company. . . ," 1972, Hiser, Flickr

Virginia Tech’s short video shows how to analyze primary sources and put [...] »

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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

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, [...] »

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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