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
The Election of 1932: Clifford Berryman Cartoon

Donald A. Ritchie, Historian of the U.S. Senate, asks how a political [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: "Acehlous and Hercules"

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

Seeing (and Engaging in) Historical Thinking: A Tutorial

This interactive tutorial models a four-step process for analyzing [...] »

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Close Observation

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

Visiting the George Mason Memorial

How can you get teachers thinking about monuments and memorials as secondary [...] »

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
George Washington, A National Treasure
painting, George Washington, 1817, John Trumbull, Flickr CC

This website by the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery will help students [...] »

Making Sense of Documentary Photography
Photo, "Street Arabs in Sleeping...," Jacob A. Riis, c. 1880s, History Matters.

Textbook illustrations are often overlooked as historical evidence.

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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 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 [...] »

Questioning Textbook Authority
Marginalia, CHNM

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

Building a Conversation between Textbooks, Students, and Teachers

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