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, them and to have them take charge of their learning. (For example, many students wanted to ask me permission to work on a particular topic, I had them rephrase their verbiage to state to me that they were interested in a particular subject --it seems small but putting the student in charge is key). 

I'm looking forward to our next project session!

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