History Day

I wanted to make a post about some of the good work that is happening with National History Day in Minnesota at North Education Center. We are in our second year of History Day implementation, and are making a more coordinated effort to provide more instructional support for students and teachers who are participating. Through that effort we’ve assembled some really great resources for teaching History Day, and some of these materials would be useful for teaching other history lessons and units as well.

First thing is our History Day resource folder. This is shared with everyone in 287. We’ve tried to sort these materials in a way that is helpful and have included some screen-cast videos to help teachers navigate the project. We will likely add more videos over the next several weeks as classes at NEC get deeper into the project.

Then I just want to highlight a few of the materials that are in here. First, for History Day, specifically, there are a couple great ways for students to find an interesting topic (other than the obvious ones or first topics that come to mind). We have access to a video database of topics as well as this Novice Topic List created by MNHS.

Secondly (and this is the stuff that is applicable outside of History Day, itself) check out this Link Library and Project Worksheets. In particular, I really like the guides for examining primary sources. These worksheets are very accessible for different ages and skill levels, and I think do a fantastic job of getting students to slow down and really conduct research in an intentional, academic manner.

I welcome any feedback you might have on these materals (which I did not create, but helped to assemble) and I would love to hear from anybody who is teaching History Day this year!

Great stuff, Ben!

As I look through the materials, I wonder how much Edio might be able to help with the storage and access to the materials, and connections to projects.

(I’m not sure of the answer, but I’d be curious to see.)

Mike, I can imagine how Edio could support History Day as a place to save and store completed project examples that our students have done, and as a way for students and teachers to visualize the project and the learning process as they go through the project. History Day might be a place where we could think about an Edio pilot for 2019-20. We will have a group of educators who are familiar with the project, it is well defined in it’s scope and standards that are addressed, and we don’t really have to develop any new materials.

This one is great for anybody teaching students to do research, and could probably be its own thread. Newspapers.com is a paid membership site where you can search archives of millions of newspapers from the mid-19th Century until now. Someone at NEC recently discovered that we have Basic Access to the site. I’m not sure if this is something Newspapers.com provides to K-12 districts or what… but 287 has access to their Basic Access membership, basic.newspapers.com.

Caleb Brown and I did some test searches related to History Day topics that students have selected, and the results were stunning. I’ve been learning about the Steamship Sultana (worst shipwreck in U.S. history) and within moments I was able to find an opinion piece from about a year after the disaster, where the author is upset about lack of accountability and wants someone to blame. Caleb looked up newspapers from the day after Lincoln’s assassination, and the varied reactions around the country paint a vivid picture of American life on that day.

You can narrow your search by dates, locations, etc. If you sign up for an account (free) then you can save and download newspapers, make clips & highlights, etc. We’re already seeing students get a real kick out of looking at the old newspapers.

Hey, we’re famous!

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That’s an awesome story, congrats to all!

The “triumph and tragedy” theme was great, and hearing a student say “We need to educate people” is a pretty fantastic outcome!