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
The Election of 1932: Photographs of FDR

What can a photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 reveal? Donald A. [...] »

1853 Daguerreotype

What does an 1853 daguerreotype have to say? Plenty, says Frank Goodyear, [...] »

The Election of 1932: Clifford Berryman Cartoon

Donald A. Ritchie, Historian of the U.S. Senate, asks how a political [...] »

Seeing (and Engaging in) Historical Thinking: A Tutorial

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

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Teaching with 19th-Century Art

Watch Suzannah Niepold of the Smithsonian American Art Museum guide teachers [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Teaching Historical Interpretation through Planning Documentary Films

Watch this 9th-grade teacher lead his class in planning, writing, and [...] »

Third Graders Analyzing Historical Sources

A 3rd-grade teacher leads her students through analysis of child labor [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Analyzing Composition in Paintings

Incorporate art into lesson plans with this resource from The Metropolitan [...] »

Teaching with Museum Collections
Photo, Toy Cradleboard, Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 1629

National Park Service lesson plans, teaching materials, and vibrant images [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »

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

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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