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Best Practices

Watch as the song "John Brown's Body" is transformed into a primary source to instruct 4th-grade students about John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. By analyzing the song, students are able to grasp how contemporary northerners viewed John Brown shortly after his raid. FIND OUT MORE »

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Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

Newspaper article published in the Patriot press in 1775

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

Diaries give a personal view of historical events. Historian Peter Hahn [...] »

Soldiers awaiting supplies in Vietnam. LOC

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

Teachers discussing Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address at a workshop

Teaching the Reconstruction? Ford's Theatre's Sarah Jencks leads teachers [...] »

Watch Smithsonian curator Barbara Clark Smith discuss John Smith’s Map of [...] »

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Detail. 1612 Map. John Smith

A 4th-grade teacher shows strategies for encouraging and supporting student [...] »

Photo, Dressmaking class, Manzanar. . . , Ansel Adams, 1943, LoC

Two practices help students to make sense of primary source documents on the [...] »

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

Photo, Dwellers in Circleville's Hooverville, 1938, Ben Shahn, LoC

These worksheets from the Library of Congress help students analyze primary [...] »

Detail, The Thomas Jefferson Building homepage

What messages are hidden in art and architecture? Explore the Library of [...] »

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry

Marginalia, CHNM

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

Poster, Williams, Brown & Earle, Inc., Grown Ups Enjoy Reading, Also., NYPL

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

Negative, "Schoolroom. Concho, Arizona," Russell Lee, Oct. 1940, LoC

Make the most of your textbook—engage students in close reading and [...] »

Negative, "Sgt. John Clem, U.S.A.," 1855-1865, Library of Congress

Help students identify with the past via children who lived through the Civil [...] »

Print, "Bombardment of Vera Cruz," 1893-1896, J. Andre Castaigne, NYPL

Allow students to see that history as we know it is interpretation, perspective [...] »

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