Showing posts from October, 2016

National History Day: On Schedule!

The National History Day projects are moving along in a timely manner and we are on schedule. Thankfully, there are many Michigan and National History Day resources available for us and my main task is to determine what resources we will utilize and timing their usage. 
I have created a check list for students to use tomorrow to help them stay focused. Students will finalize their project topic and their type of project. They will also create a digital database to house their primary and secondary resources. Our district Media Specialists have collaborated on a National History page for students, as well ( (Thank you!) 
Student Historians will begin to collect sources and also use my OPVL analysis form to analyze the value of one of their documents (see below). 
The classroom energy on our NHD workdays is particularly lively and energetic--project-based learning is outstanding on so many levels! My role will be …

National History Day--First Impressions

Introducing National History Day today to my Student Historians went very well! I started each class with two short writing prompts (ones that would front-load students and prepare them for the 2017 theme): 
What does it mean to take a stand?How do you feel when you take a stand? After class discussion partner groups were asked to come up with examples of people/groups taking a stand throughout History and those were added to a class graphic organizer. I mentioned to students my journey through Genius Hour in Effective Teens, the need to include this concept in US History, and my finding the National History Day competition. I then briefly walked them through the theme (Taking a Stand in History) and a rough project time frame. We ended the hour with student topic research and an online Schoology discussion about possible topics.
Students were excited and it was fun to see them make the connection between our discussion and the project theme. My goals were to excite, not overwhelm, th…

Genius Hour in US History

Students need opportunities to completely take charge of their learning but this could prove difficult to do in a content-area class like US History. I taught Effective Teens, a leadership elective class, for eight years and one of the most powerful components of the class occurred when I implemented Genius Hour two years ago. Genius Hour bases itself on the Google 20% Time work model, where employees are given 20% of their workweek to focus on projects they are interested in. I saw the tremendous benefits of Genius Hour in Effective Teens and knew I needed to bring this model to my US History students, as well.
After researching History/Genius Hour blends this summer I came across the National History Day Competition and realized it's the perfect way to combine student-centered, project-based learning opportunities in our content area. I will introduce the project tomorrow and make sure that I do not overwhelm students--I will introduce the 2017 theme help students narrow down t…