The 6 Cs, as Related to NHD

As my Student Historians prepare for their Capstone Portfolio interviews in May I have been reflecting on my second National History Day journey. Students are expected to have three pieces of work from each content area represented in their portfolio. Their NHD projects should take a prominent place in their History portfolio section for a multitude of reasons, most of which relate to the concepts in the 6 Cs of Education: Critical Thinking, Communication, Citizenship, Character Education, Creativity, and Collaboration.
Critical Thinking This component is embedded in National History Day projects. Student Historians are expected to utilize higher-order thinking skills as they research topics they are interested in and break down the year's theme related to their topics. Students need to write a persuasive thesis, evaluate sources for reliability, use those sources to prove their thesis, and create a project within this Project-Based Learning model. They must be digital thinkers, a…

OneTROY NHD Celebration

Oh what a night!

The first OneTROY National History Day Celebration took place this past Thursday with Student Historians from Larson, Smith, and Boulan Park and it was a huge success! When teachers from our Middle Schools decided to take on National History Day projects this year I promised I would do everything possible to help make NHD run smoothly for them and promised myself that I would plan a sharing event for all. 
The Celebration was an opportunity for our students to share with the community their thinking and learning about the 2018 theme of "Conflict and Compromise". Siblings, parents, grandparents, principals, teachers, a School Board member, members of the Teaching and Learning Department,  Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent were in attendance. They were able to interact with our students while seeing the amazing work our students created this year. But, what exactly did students do? 
Student Historians
· researched and selected a topic of interest within…

NHD History Celebrations

What an exciting week! The entire 8th Grade presented their NHD projects over the course of two days (my classes on Tuesday, Mr. Leone's classes on Wednesday). Close to 300 Student Historians culminated their semester-long project presenting Websites, Documentaries, Papers, Exhibits, and Dramatic Performances centered around this year's Theme: Conflict and Compromise in History. 

One huge change this year to make the projects more interactive centered around creating Weebly QR Codes. Making and printing close to 60 QR Codes was time-consuming but such a great addition to the events. The 6th and 7th Graders that came in to see and write about the projects were able to not just view them, they were now able to easily read the code on their own iPads and interact with the sites themselves! One of my tech-savvy students created a QR Code for his Documentary, Documentary QR Codes will be an addition to our District event and next year's school Celebrations.

One team decided to …

Teaching the Whole Student

January is a tough month for many, middle school students are no exception. It's been really cold where we live so students aren't getting outside as much, the cold and flu season is peaking, the days are among the shortest of the year and lack of sunlight is impactful. Post-holiday let-down leads right into the end of the quarter/semester and a final push with projects and tests. I've had so many reminders lately of the importance of teaching to the whole student (and to try and follow my own advice).
Caring for ourselves is crucial but it's particularly essential now. I need to be flexible regarding my expectations in the classroom and more patient with my students.  They are finishing quarter/semester activities in all of their classes and studying for assessments.
Taking the "emotional temperature" of the class each hour when the bell rings has been a great guide for me. It's pretty evident whether students are relaxed or not and many class periods l…

Student History Fair Preparation

Happy New Year!
This month Student Historians will finish their National History Day projects and present their theses to peers and the school community. 
One aspect of the History Fair is the valuable feedback Historians will receive on their projects. I debated creating a digital feedback program but decided to make paper-and-pencil reflections because it will be easier for the Student Historians to receive feedback. An audience Student Interaction sheet promotes deep exploration of projects during the History Fair and makes these projects interactive for both creator and viewer. Student creators will also realize how their work has impacted others. 
Audience members will complete the following statements:
One COMPLIMENT I have about how this project was made is...One QUESTION the information in this project makes me wonder is...One CONNECTION I have with this project and something I know (or learned) in Social Studies is... These sentence starters ensure the audience will engage wi…

NHD Project Updates: Graphic Organizers Rock!

Student Historians are working diligently on their National History Day projects. I have been meeting with student groups according to categories to remind them of the benefits of the Symbaloo Webmix created for them #rightsideofthewebmix and to give them individualized help. 
We have a few groups creating a dramatic performance and I received some help from our Forensics teacher and compiled her tips as students were writing their scripts, along with a plot diagram for them to use. (I have always utilized graphic organizers with my students, they are incredibly helpful with project development by helping students work effectively and with a focus.)
Each group needs to write a Process Paper--a graphic organizer from me should make that process run smoothly, as well. (I will post this document on my Twitter page,  the Webmix is only for web links.)
Our school-wide presentations are January 23rd (my History classes) and January 24th (our other History teacher's classes). The Distri…

This Week in NHD: Overcoming the Wall

Student Historians have been overcoming challenges related to their in-depth, student-centered National History Day projects while persevering and finding success as they wind up their research and continue their note taking.
I have noted with interest how so many students (and teachers) lately seem to be focused on the finish line and completing these projects when, to me, the process, not necessarily the product, is essential. 
It's natural, I suppose, to want a project completed and "checked off" of a To Do list, but the true test for these Student Historians lies in the multitude of steps that must be taken to get to this end result. These steps should be celebrated and acknowledged. Rushing this process doesn't give students ample time to be mindful of the many components of the project or have the chance to reflect upon their work, step by step. Time can even demonstrate the worthiness of an assignment. We model this worthiness by continuing this work over the…