Day 2 and 3 Recaps of Jr. and Sr. Round One, Plus Teachers Get Schooled!

Our judges had their work cut out for them over the past two days. They were tasked with reviewing the more than 1,643 entries that over 2,900 students worked diligently on throughout the year. While their RIGHTS were on display, our judges had the RESPONSIBILITY of assessing the student’s work.

Dr. Gorn was caught dropping into performances, documentaries, and the exhibit hall many times over the past two days. Joining her at times were special NHD Fans and guests including Mrs. Patricia Behring and Mr. Albert H. Small. The finals were announced this evening, and so a number of performance and documentary students are preparing for the final day. This is their last chance to impress the judges, but as we know the lessons learned from NHD last a lifetime.

NHD wants to ensure that students continue getting this experience so while students were getting to work NHD teachers were getting schooled! Four professional development sessions were held at the National History Day National Contest. Teachers from across the globe collaborated, brainstormed, and gathered new ideas and inspiration from one another.

On Monday, Microsoft Education Consultants Samantha Shires and David Hunter collaborated with Roy Zimmerman, the Director of Education and Scholarly Communication in Microsoft Research Connections to present ChronoZoom, a new open-source presentation platform.  Ms. Shires introduced the platform and described how she uses this as a tool with her seventh grade students to help organize their thinking and understand chronology.  She mentioned that she uses the tool to help make history, which is inherently messy, visually organized for her students. In the afternoon session, Mr. Hunter explained how he uses a fantasy-based scenario approach to help teach students historical thinking skills.

The second day of teacher workshops featured Maggie Crawford, the Manager of Education at the Newseum. She presented an approach to teaching the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of the First Amendment. Teachers used newspapers as artifacts to explore the movement through a geographic, civic, and economic lens. Two lucky teachers won poster-size copies of a series of newspaper front pages. In the afternoon, NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn joined for a discussion of the 2015 theme, Leadership & Legacy in History. The session continued with presentations from Joe Phelan and Leah Weinryb Grohsgal from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  NHD Teacher Chris Carter set up a research model, and teachers were treated to a presentation connecting NHD and the Common Core with NHD in Ohio Coordinator Mary Bezbatchenko.

Wednesday, students will be in finals or exploring D.C. There are three events going on including a breakfast with Congressmen for select students, a day at the Library of Congress, time at the French Embassy, and as usual an amazing NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM at the National Museum of American History. We hope to see you there!

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