Welcome to Best Practices

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
A Close Look at the FDR Memorial

Historian Christopher Hamner visits the original Franklin D. [...] »

Massive Resistance Political Cartoons

Watch J. Douglas Smith discuss the Massive Resistance policy enacted by U.S [...] »

Close Reading for Vocabulary, Context, and Tone
Photo, Day 12.07 knowledge and understanding, July 12, 2009, frerieke, Flickr

Analyzing a source requires context for a more complete understanding.

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Women's Suffrage: Jane Addams's Article

Who was Jane Addams, and how is her article "Why Women Should Vote" still [...] »

Ford's Theatre: Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

Ford's Theatre Society's Sarah Jencks leads teachers through Abraham Lincoln [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Reading and Thinking Aloud to Understand

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

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
Interactivity
Photography, James Lequlla: Newsboy, May 1910, Lewis Wickes Hine, LOC

Teach students how to utilize primary sources with this game from [...] »

People as Primary Sources: Conducting Interviews
Photo, A private interview between a young immigrant . . . , Edwin Levick, NYPL

The Bracero Archive’s tutorial shows how to conduct successful interviews. [...] »

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 [...] »

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

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