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 [...] »

Massive Resistance Political Cartoons

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

Women's Suffrage Photographs

How did the women's suffrage movement use the rise of journalism to its [...] »

John Smith Map

Watch Smithsonian curator Barbara Clark Smith discuss John Smith’s Map of [...] »

Close Reading of a Primary Document
Photo, Ostrich reads newspaper of caretaker. Flickr

On the website Historical Thinking Matters, a student reads aloud a [...] »

Teaching in Action

Teachers demonstrate promising teaching practices
Massive Resistance through Political Cartoons

Watch 4th-graders analyze cartoons about Virginia and Brown v. Board of [...] »

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
SCIM-C: Historical Source Analysis
Photo, ". . . Texas-New Mexico Pipeline Company. . . ," 1972, Hiser, Flickr

Virginia Tech’s short video shows how to analyze primary sources and put [...] »

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.

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Teaching with Textbooks

Techniques for promoting historical inquiry
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 [...] »

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 [...] »

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 [...] »