Tips for Teachers:
History Day works best when incorporated into your curriculum. You can then align your instruction to build the skills necessary for advanced work–citing sources, thesis statements, primary document research, etc. If you are not currently utilizing History Day in the classroom, consider serving as a judge this year! You’ll see first-hand how the competition and judging works, and you’ll also be exposed to a number of projects and resources you can bring back to your students.
Topic selection is the most important component of a History Day project! Encourage your students to choose a topic in which they are truly interested. This may result in a more obscure topic choice, but these projects are often more intriguing to the judges. This also leads to more interesting research opportunities.
Be sure to set a strict timeline for your students—don’t let them wait until the last 2 weeks to work on their project!
Don’t underestimate the value of Google Docs and Drive! Your students may save and share lists of their sources and other information. This not only allows you to access what they’re working on for progress evaluation, but it guarantees they won’t lose their work. A reminder on group websites: if several students are working on the Weebly site at one time, they may lose the others students’ work if they publish. Putting the work in Google Docs allows all students to access it at the same time!
It is helpful to students if their teacher has a practical understanding of the challenges of each category.
Connect your students to research resources—both online and in your community.
Build the expectation that completed work will be revised. Encourage your students to embrace change! Projects should evolve with feedback, whether in the classroom or at the different levels of competition.
Enjoy the adventure! The competitions are a chance for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned, and it also provides a great opportunity to develop interview skills–but it is not the most essential element History Day. The evolution of a student’s project, and the academic and life skills they learn along the way, will stay with them much longer than a 1st place ribbon!
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