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Best Practices

Not sure how to introduce your students to primary source material? Watch and learn from fourth-grade teacher Marti MacKenzie as she encourages her students to analyze John White's drawings of the Powhatan and helps them compare and contrast the drawings with later engravings based on White's work. FIND OUT MORE »

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Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

Portrait of Bill Tatnall playing the guitar during a 1935 recording expedition

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

Maine Results. Herblock cartoon, 1932

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

What do these letters from a women's rights activist reveal about social causes [...] »

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

Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

On the website Historical Thinking Matters, a student reads aloud a speech by [...] »

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Screencapture, Mart McKenzie's classroom

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

Photo, Students analyzing the Declaration of Independence. CHNM

Trying to promote more productive and engaging discussions? [...] »

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

painting, George Washington, 1817, John Trumbull, Flickr CC

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

Photomechanical print, Young America and the Moving-Picture Show, 1910, L.M. Gla

Analyze art in the classroom with these resources from the Picturing America [...] »

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry

Photography, Cooking with Kids class, 25 Jan 2008, Penn State, Flickr CC

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

Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »

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

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

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