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
Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr.

What connections do documents related to the Jackie Robinson Testimonial [...] »

Women's Suffrage Photographs

How did the women's suffrage movement use the rise of journalism to its [...] »

Japanese American Internment: Executive Order 9066

How did the World War II internment of Japanese Americans happen? Historian [...] »

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

Smithsonian Barbara Clark Smith looks at what a colonial newspaper article [...] »

Women's Suffrage Cartoon

How does a political cartoon use popular beliefs about women to make its [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Students in the Community

Is a school an island? James Liou talks about working to integrate schools [...] »

Historical Context and Roleplaying
Photo, Students on Stage at Holton Arms Schoo c. 1920-1950, Library of Congress

A 5th-grade teacher teaches historical context through roleplaying [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Focus on Film
film negative, Man working with a projector in a movie theater, 1958 Feb. 9, Mar

Transform film from a source of entertainment to a piece of historical [...] »

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

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

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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, [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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

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 [...] »