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
Slave Life at Mount Vernon

How do the buildings and artifacts at Mount Vernon reflect the lives of the [...] »

Primary Sources as Windows into the Past
Photo, Is Anybody Home?, 2006, Pink Sherbet Photography, D Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

Excite students by introducing them to primary sources that answer questions [...] »

Letters from the Philippines

Letters from U.S. soldiers during the Philippine-American War reveal [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Acehlous and Hercules"

Analyzing a massive primary source? Divide it up! Teachers at the [...] »

Sourcing a Primary Document
Photo, Geologist examining cuttings from wildcat well, Amarillo, Texas (LOC)

See sourcing in action, as a historian reads a document about the Scopes [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Causal Reasoning

The fictional Alphonse the Camel provides insight for one classroom.

[...] »
Recreating the Cuban Missile Crisis

Ninth-grade teacher Jamie Kimbrough asked her students to stand in Kennedy's [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
The Thomas Jefferson Building: Secret Messages
Detail, The Thomas Jefferson Building homepage

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

Making Sense of Films
Poster, "Stone walls and chains do not make a prison --- for Houdini," LoC

Work with early twentieth-century film as historical evidence. What [...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
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, [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

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

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

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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