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
Two Blues Songs

Written primary sources only tell you so much. To learn about history that [...] »

Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman

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

Monticello: Jefferson's Experiment

TAH teachers get an introduction to Monticello as Thomas Jefferson's ' [...] »

Primary Sources as Windows into the Past
Photo, Is Anybody Home?, 2006, Pink Sherbet Photography, D Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

Excite students by introducing them to primary sources that answer questions [...] »

Bill of Rights

Whitman Ridgway outlines some of the context in which the Bill of Rights was [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
How to Introduce Students to Primary Sources

Introducing your students to primary sources for the first time? Watch [...] »

Opening up the Textbook: Voices from My Lai

High school students use primary sources to question their textbook's [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
George Washington, A National Treasure
painting, George Washington, 1817, John Trumbull, Flickr CC

This website by the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery will help students [...] »

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 [...] »

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, [...] »

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 [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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