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
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 [...] »

A Close Look at the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Historian Christopher Hamner engages educators in close questioning of the [...] »

Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr.

What connections do documents related to the Jackie Robinson Testimonial [...] »

1804 Inventory

What can an inventory tell you about daily life in Delaware in 1804? Curator [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Teaching with 19th-Century Art

Watch Suzannah Niepold of the Smithsonian American Art Museum guide teachers [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Prologue to Studying the Emancipation Proclamation

An 8th-grade class analyzes letters about the Emancipation Proclamation.

[...] »
Reading and Thinking Aloud to Understand

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

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Document Analysis Worksheets
Screenshot, "Written Document," National Archives

Find the National Archive's worksheets for analyzing a variety of primary [...] »

Why Historical Thinking Matters
photography, Statue of Captain Parker, 1902, Detroit Photographic Co, LOC

See this Flash movie for a peek at how historians read and question sources [...] »

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, [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »

Learning Menus: Textbooks a la Carte

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