The Wall: Update
Students did experience "The Wall" today while working on their National History Day projects (see yesterday's post). One group finally overcame a challenge today and it was really exciting to witness.
Two students have been interested in learning more about the Salem Witch Trials, but have been struggling with developing their thesis. (I studied this topic in depth in college--the trials were about economics, class struggle and sociology, not about "witchcraft" at all.) This year's theme is challenging, which added to their frustration. I guided, but mostly listened. Reminding these Historians that they have a powerful topic (which they do) gave them the encouragement to take the risk and try again. Walking them through developing a thesis that gave their audience more factual information was important. We also talked about how not "showing your hand", but creating curiosity about your topic, is key.
This team has been trying to create a persuasive thesis and formulate a plan for a few sessions but needed to go back to the drawing board each time. A thesis development guide, given to us by our Language Arts teachers, helped everything to click into place for these students. They now clearly know the persuasive historical question they are trying to answer and the looks of pride and satisfaction on their faces were priceless! "The Wall" is daunting but victory is attainable.