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
Pockets from the Past: Daily Life at Monticello

What do the contents of pockets say about their owners? TAH teachers model [...] »

1853 Daguerreotype

What does an 1853 daguerreotype have to say? Plenty, says Frank Goodyear, [...] »

1775 Colonial Newspaper Article

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

Close Reading for Vocabulary, Context, and Tone
Photo, Day 12.07 knowledge and understanding, July 12, 2009, frerieke, Flickr

Analyzing a source requires context for a more complete understanding.

[...] »
Civil War Letters

Historian Chandra Manning analyzes Civil War letters from black and white [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Using Maps as Primary Sources

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

Massive Resistance through Political Cartoons

Watch 4th-graders analyze cartoons about Virginia and Brown v. Board of [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Teaching with Museum Collections
Photo, Toy Cradleboard, Nez Perce National Historical Park, NEPE 1629

National Park Service lesson plans, teaching materials, and vibrant images [...] »

Local History and Student Historians

So you don't live near Gettysburg or the Alamo—can you still teach with [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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

The Grammar of History Textbooks Part II: Questioning the Text
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »