Welcome to Best Practices

National Portrait Gallery: Teaching with 19th-Century Portraits
In Examples of Historical Thinking
Monticello: Jefferson's Experiment
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
Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman

Can you trust a biography? Historian Tiya Miles analyzes an 1869 biography [...] »

The Election of 1932: Photographs of FDR

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

Creative Memo on Lay's Products

Potato chip marketing—how a luxury item became an everyday U.S. food.

[...] »
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: Personalizing History

Make large-scale historic events like the Holocaust personal with artifacts [...] »

Thomas Nast Cartoon

Today, we accept paper—and electronic—money as a fact of life. Historian [...] »

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 [...] »

Foundations of American History: John Brown Song

How did people in the North feel about John Brown after his raid on Harpers [...] »

Using Primary Sources

Strategies for analyzing primary sources
Secondary Sources: What Are They?
Photo, Final Day, April 11, 2005, *styler, Flickr

National History Day identifies secondary sources along with [...] »

Making Sense of Letters and Diaries
Photo, V-mail, February 1943, U.S. Office of War Information, LoC

Source and approach letters and diaries with historical thinking.

[...] »

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, [...] »

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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

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 [...] »

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

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