National History Day Georgia

National History Day is a program designed to empower students through active engagement in the discipline of history.  Not tied to any specific content standards, the power of NHD lies in its ability to enhance and enrich the research, literacy, and critical thinking skills of students.  It does this by asking students to claim ownership over their learning and inviting students to become historians.  NHD students -  

  1. Select a topic - Students choose a topic that interests them based upon an annual theme.  The theme for 2020-2021 is "Communication in History: The Key to Understanding".  It's critical that students think about the theme and their topic's relationship to it.  So from the start, students are engaged in deep thinking about what interests them and why.
  2. Decide whether to work individually or in a group - NHD allows students to choose whether to do their project individually or in a group.  Teachers and students can discuss the pros/cons of each approach.  Here too, NHD asks students to think critically about the learning environment that works best for them.
  3. Conduct Research - the historian's task is driven, first and foremost, by research.  History Day students engage in the same research process professional historians and scholars use.  They engage in both secondary and primary source material to deepend their understanding of the topic.  We encouarge students to begin with encyclopedia and/or textbook introductions to their topic.  From their they move to secondary, scholarly studies (both online and in print) and finally engage primary source materials produced by the people in the place and time.
  4. Conduct Analysis and Thesis Development - After conducting this research, students then analyze their findings and develop a thesis - an argument.  This step asks students to think about what they have learned, analyze it within its historical context and then develop an argument about its relationship to the theme and significance to history.
  5. Develop an Entry - National History Day is flexible not only in terms of topic selection but in the manner of presentation.  Students present their work through one of five "categories" - Historical Paper (indidivual only), Website, Documentary, Exhibit, or Performance.
  6. Present and Defend thesis - Students can participate in a contest in which they present their work in a public setting AND answer questions posed to them by teams of judges.  Complete ownership of the historians work comes with the public defense, and contest day is a form of it.

 

NHD IMPACT

Skills Development

Reading 
Research
Critical Thinking
Problem Solving

 

Self-Esteem and Confidence
Team Work
Responsibility 
Perserverance 

 

The Data

In 2011 National History Day published the findings of a program evaluation prepared by Kay Sloan and Saul Rockman of Rockman et al.  This report grew out of the realization that while NHD had plenty of anecdotal evidence of effectiveness and impact on student learning, no empirical evaluative data existed.  Essential questions about higher order learning practices embedded in NHD and their impact on students needed answered in an objective and analytical manner.  Between 2008-2010 Rockman collected that data from participating school systems in Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina and Colorado.  That report, its key findings, and executive summary, can be found HERE.  Its title is "NHD Works!" 

 

What do Teachers Say?

"The best thing about NHD is the impact researching a specific topic has on students.  NHD really makes 'history' a personal experience....I always love watching students move from eye rolls at the thought of 'just one more project' to excitement when they uncover a really cool document from the past!"  M. Watson, Houston County Schools

"NHD provides an opportunity for students to become engaged and excited about history!" J. Coleman, Luella High School.

"I love this program!  I see my students becoming critical thinkers who can research and analyze information which will be so helpful in their future college experience."  L Findley, Robert Toombs Christian Academy

 What do Students Say?

"I learned how to see the connections between all kinds of things.....the connections between the past..present...and the future."

"I learned how to present myself and my project confidently!"

 What do Parents Say?

"She was self motivated, very independent, and worked really hard."

"HistoryDay allows him to voice history in a factual manner that is relatable to him."

 

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