NoodleTools for Teacher Mentors: Six Ways to Monitor Student Projects and Provide Timely Feedback

Guest blog post by Rigele and Damon Abilock, NoodleTools, Inc. 

If your students use NoodleTools for their NHD projects, you can view and comment on student work-in-progress anytime, and from anywhere.

Here are six ways to mentor students through the NoodleTools platform:

  1. View and provide feedback directly into your student’s online notecards or bibliography, and watch how the student incorporates your suggestions.
  1. For group NHD projects, efficiently monitor each student’s individual contributions.   Understand who added what information, and when.  Also view a compiled log of every contribution to a group project over a thirty-day period.
  1. Sharing the mentorship role of an NHD project with cross-curricular colleagues or a school librarian? Add them as “additional recipients” to your assignment drop box so they can co-comment into a student’s project.
  1. Generate a visual analysis of your student’s in-process bibliography by clicking on “Analysis” on the Bibliography screen.  Use the bar charts to make helpful suggestions about the relevance and balance of sources.
  1. Want to see the source material that a student cited or included in a notecard?   Click “View archived page” on the student’s bibliography entry and view the saved source material, including any highlighting or annotation made by the student.
  1. In your assignment drop box, provide your students with links to useful resources such as a recommended reading list or relevant NHD information (e.g. the NHD Rule Book).

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Students: Campaign for a Leader

100 leaders website

Which leader will win the race in 2015?

Great leaders must inspire followers! As part of the 100 Leaders in World History project, National History Day (NHD) is challenging middle and high school students to create inspiring campaign posters that encourage others to vote for the leader they think should be at the top of the list.


  • Students can create their own original poster, Instagram a photo of the poster, and submit the picture of their campaign poster to NHD on Twitter (@NationalHistory) #NHD100Leaders.
  • Students must Instagram a photo of the poster, and tweet it to NHD before the February 2, 2015 deadline.
  • Poster content must be original and appropriate for all audiences.
  • Each poster must include somewhere in the content.

Voting runs from November 3, 2014 – February 11, 2015.

Select posters will be featured throughout the 100 Leaders in World History project both on the website and included in NHD teacher and student resources.

For ideas and examples of campaign posters visit:

Thank you to Kenneth E. Behring for sponsoring the 100 Leaders in World History project.

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A PRIMARY Need for all NHD Students is Addressed in Next Week’s Webinar

“Documents–diaries, letters, drawings, and memoirs–created by those who participated in or witnessed the events of the past tell us something that even the best-written article or book cannot convey.”

- The National Archives

As all National History Day (NHD) students and teachers know, nothing in history happens in a vacuum.  For a student to fully understand the connections between their topics, the past, the annual theme, and the present they must immerse themselves in researching both the subject and the context set by the time period. Understanding the time period allows students to answer critical questions such as:

  • Why did my topic happen at this particular time and in this particular place,
  • What were the events or the influences that came before my topic, and
  • How was my topic influenced by and how did it influence the economic, social, political, and cultural climate of the time period?

Primary sources are the best means of capturing the words, the thoughts, and the intentions of the past, and help researchers interpret what happened and why it happened.

To learn more about how primary sources can be successfully utilized, join NHD, the National Archives, and the White House Historical Association for a free webinar on October 7, 2014 at 6:00 PM ET.


Flyer - October 7, 2014 - NARA

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Post From EDSITEment: Leadership and Legacy of the Roosevelts

NOTE: This post by Joe Phelan was developed for EDSITEment and was originally posted on their blog. Thank you to National Endowment for the Humanities, EDSITEment, and Joe Phelan for allowing us to re-post this on our blog. See the original post online at:

Perhaps you have been watching the recent Ken Burns series The Roosevelts and were inspired by some aspect of the lives and achievements of these figures. You may also have noticed that Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt are listed among the 100 leaders on the new National History Day minisite. If your students are interested in doing National History Day projects on one or more members of this distinguished family, EDSITEment has some resources for them. (Note: The entire series remains online for a limited time).

The Modern Presidency

One of the big take-aways from the series is that Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt invented the modern presidency. In their hands the institution became more important than Congress, more assertive in domestic and foreign policy, and more “rhetorical.”

TR was the first “modern” president, engaging directly with the people over the heads of party leaders in Congress.  Before TR, presidents communicated through written messages rather than speeches and seldom spoke on behalf of specific policy proposals.

TR was famous for establishing the presidency as a “bully pulpit” to bring national attention to serious problems that needed to be addressed by the federal government.  

His cousin Franklin Roosevelt was the first mass media president using the new medium of radio to great effect. And Mrs. Roosevelt was the first spouse to be a “full partner” in the White House, getting out around the country in a way that her wheelchair-bound husband could not. After Franklin’s death she served the nation for another two decades as a champion of civil rights, civil liberties and the newly established United Nations.

Voices of Democracy

The NEH-supported project Voices of Democracy will help you explore the important rhetorical aspect of the Roosevelts’ leadership through a series of “case studies” of their key speeches. The site provides authentic texts of speeches of TR, Franklin, and Eleanor (among other American leaders) as well as scholarly commentary; questions to help you focus on and think through the arguments being made in the speech; and suggestions for further research. Think of VOD as an extra academic advisor.

In “The Strenuous Life” (1901) Theodore Roosevelt articulated a philosophy of personal and national character emphasizing hard work, self-discipline, risk-taking, and moral virtue. Roosevelt linked these values with America’s frontier past, using the example of the brave men who tamed the wilderness to illustrate the meaning of the “strenuous life.” Applying that philosophy to the issues of his own day, Roosevelt called on his fellow Americans to reject the life of material prosperity and ease and embrace instead the challenges of international leadership.

Students interested in origins of investigative journalism, will find “The Man with the Muck Rake” (1906) eye opening. Delivered in his second term as president, TR condemned the muckraking journalists who had become so important in the Progressive era, yet he also acknowledged the need for “absolutely truthful” exposés of corruption. Adopting a middle ground between those who celebrated the muckrakers and those who would limit their First Amendment right to free speech, Roosevelt upheld the same progressive principles he applied to other political and social controversies: balance, moderation, order, and stability.

VOD offers a penetrating analysis of FDR’s oratorical masterpiece, the 1941 State of the Union address. Popularly known as the “Four Freedoms” speech and delivered eleven months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the speech made clear Roosevelt’s determination to defend America’s core principles against any potential threat on the horizon. In that sense, it foreshadowed not only Roosevelt’s later war rhetoric, but also virtually all war addresses by U.S. presidents in the decades that followed. As Americans faced later challenges, from the communism of the cold war era to today’s threat of global terrorism, echoes of Roosevelt’s four freedoms are heard in the war speechmaking of later U.S. presidents

Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1940 address to the Chicago Civil Liberties Committee advocated protection of civil liberties at a time of perceived communist threats. Ms. Roosevelt urged listeners to act in accordance with the ideals of democracy and to uphold their responsibility to protect the rights of all Americans. Examining the speech within its own historical framework reveals how Mrs. Roosevelt embraced an increasingly public role as a political first lady and addressed a basic tension between civil liberties and national security that still concerns us today.

Students can supplement these speeches with a few other EDSITEment-reviewed resources. The Miller Center’s American President: A Reference Resource series at the University of Virginia provides expert scholarly input on each of our nation’s chief executives. The series of short essays on various aspects of the two Roosevelt administrations were written by distinguished historians.

Finally there’s the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project offering unique access to the writings of Eleanor’s important post-White House Years. Here you will find the archive for her famous newspaper column “My Day” and radio broadcasts. The site’s lively Twitter feed offers daily quotations from the woman who was called the “First Lady of the World.”

 See the original post online at:


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Together Again: Library of Congress and NHD Webinar

On Thursday, September 25 NHD’s Tech Talk webinar features presenters Cheryl Lederle and Kathy McGuigan from the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources program.  Tonight webinar will help teachers learn about ways to use prints and photographs in the classroom.  The presenters will model strategies that teachers can apply in their classrooms tomorrow.


Flyner - September 25, 2014 - WebinarDid you miss the last NHD webinar? Watch it online here:

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REMINDER: Free NHD Webinar Tomorrow for New Teachers!

Tomorrow’s Tech Talk webinar is designed to help new (or newer) NHD teachers get started.  Lynne O’Hara, NHD’s Director of Programs, will be joined by three Behring Teacher Ambassadors.  The webinar will begin with Al Wheat, an NHD teacher from Mississippi, who will talk about how to introduce NHD to students without overwhelming them or scaring them off.  Lynne will talk about how to get students to select a good topic that fits with the Leadership & Legacy in History theme.  Then Dawn McKenzie, an NHD teacher from New Mexico, will talk about how to map out an NHD program over the course of a school year.  Finally, Iowa NHD teacher Suzan Turner will address the basics of the NHD contest structure.  We will pause frequently and take your questions. Register:

Flyer - Sept 23, 2014 - Webinar

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A Leader is Impacts History: Applying 100 Leaders in World History in the Classroom

 Post by Lynne O’Hara, NHD Director of Programs

The 100 Leaders in World History program, sponsored by Kenneth E. Behring, is designed to help students think about the idea of leadership. A key piece of a democratic society is the need to evaluate and select leaders at the local, state, and national level. We hope that this study of historical leaders will help students evaluate the leaders of the past and construct intelligent, informed opinions about the leaders of the present.

Each day this week we are posting to this blog about one of the five criteria that our selection panel used to determine the 100 Leaders in World History. The five criteria are:

  • Articulates a vision,
  • Motivates others,
  • Makes effective decisions,
  • Willing to confront tough issues, and
  • Impacts history.

Today we are discussing how a leader impacts history.

Impacts History


Joan of Arc [Source: Neurdein & Paris (photographers), n.d., Wellcome Library, London]

Leaders need to leave a legacy in which they impact history.  Some leaders write their own histories, and knew that they would be remembered. George Washington told his wife Martha to burn their personal correspondence so that it would not become part of the historical record.  Other leaders had a bigger impact after their death – consider the execution of Joan of Arc or the assassinations of Benazir Bhutto or Abraham Lincoln.

Sometimes legacies are unintended.  Charles Darwin was a biologist whose scientific theories were used to justify a century of expansion, colonialism, and subjugation.  Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms in China opening up the Chinese economy and led to stronger ties with Western nations.

So what leader will you choose to study?  What direction will you take?  We hope that the 100 Leaders in World History website will be a catalyst for classroom discussion, help students and teachers brainstorm ideas, and expose students to the wider world of historical leaders.

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