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
Seeing (and Engaging in) Historical Thinking: A Tutorial

This interactive tutorial models a four-step process for analyzing [...] »

1804 Inventory

What can an inventory tell you about daily life in Delaware in 1804? Curator [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Acehlous and Hercules"

Analyzing a massive primary source? Divide it up! Teachers at the [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Close Observation

Close observation and an inquisitive mind are all the tools you need to [...] »

John Brown's Body

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

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text
Video screencap, Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text, 27 Feb 2012

Discover the multiple strategies 5th-grade teacher Jennifer Brouhard uses in [...] »

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
Making Sense of Advertisements
Ad, 1954, Linit Perfect Laundry Starch, Ad*Access

Advertisements have surrounded us for years. How can you interpret them? [...] »

Making Sense of Documentary Photography
Photo, "Street Arabs in Sleeping...," Jacob A. Riis, c. 1880s, History Matters.

Textbook illustrations are often overlooked as historical evidence.

[...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

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

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

The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

The language of history textbooks challenges English language learners and [...] »