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Best Practices

In this series of videos, historian David Jaffee examines life in 19th century America from a unique perspective. Watch as he analyzes three ordinary objects and reveals their significance as symbols of economic, cultural, and social change. FIND OUT MORE »

Read and Learn

Examples of Historical Thinking

Scholars, students, and teachers model historical thinking

Stephen Decatur and his men retaking the USS Philadelphia

Two letters from 1800 Tripoli lead into a story of piracy, privateering, [...] »

Photo, "Collecting books for readers. . . ," 1964, LSE Library, FLickr Commons

A student demonstrates thinking aloud reading two documents. [...] »

Photo, 1932, U.S. Senate Historical Office

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

Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

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

Portrait of John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871), Flickr

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

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Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices

Photo, Camp X-Ray, Craig P. Strawser, January 8, 2006, Navy.mil

An 8th-grade teacher gets to the big picture via a specific historical case. [...] »

FDR during a 1933 Fireside Chat. LOC

High school teacher Joe Jelen combines roleplaying and critical analysis— [...] »

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Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources

Photo, Thinking of You, 12 July 2008, Fabiana Zonca, Flickr

Improve your historical analysis skills by learning about different types of [...] »

Photo, me & Jackie's antique shopping field trip, tray, 2010, Flickr

Use this guide developed by PBS and the Antiques Roadshow to teach about [...] »

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry

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

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

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

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

Marginalia, CHNM

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

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

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

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 [...] »

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