Welcome to Best Practices

Children’s Voices from the Civil War
In Teaching with Textbooks
Women's Rights: Sarah Bagley Letters
In Examples of Historical Thinking

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
Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Acehlous and Hercules"

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

Women's Rights: Sarah Bagley Letters

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

Daily Objects, 19th-century America

With the advent of industry and western expansion, U.S. businesses mass [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Close Observation

Close observation and an inquisitive mind are all the tools you need to [...] »

Abolitionist Speeches by African American Women

How do the speeches of Sojourner Truth and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text
Video screencap, Organize Your Thinking to Critically Analyze Text, 27 Feb 2012

Discover the multiple strategies 5th-grade teacher Jennifer Brouhard uses in [...] »

What Does It Mean to Be an American?

An 8th-grade teacher asks: Was early 20th-century America a "melting pot" or [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Local History and Student Historians

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

Making Sense of Oral History
Image, Marginalia, CHNM

Work with oral history interviews as historical evidence.

[...] »

Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

Show your students how to challenge the authority gap between the textbook [...] »

The Grammar of History Textbooks, Part I: Language Analysis
Marginalia, CHNM

The language of history textbooks challenges English language learners and [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »