That History Day Guy

August 20, 2008

You better watch out…

Filed under: Resources,teacher support,theme — historydayguy @ 2:07 pm

It is that exciting time of year where History Day teachers all over are going to bed earl, being extra good and are giddy with excitement because the History Day Fairy will soon deliver their FREE 2009 Curriculum Packet!

This year it is all about the individuals who have impacted the larger historical fabric. Sure to be a page turner!

The History Day Gal and I are heading at to the amazing city of Buffalo today to prepare for a meeting that will hopefully have around 50 folks. We are eager to ring NYSHD to the people in Sabres country.

So for those of you who end up taking us up on being a part of this magical cult we call history day, here are a few great names to tie to local history Joseph Ellicott Fredrick Olmstead George Washington Jonson I realize these are three white guys. Not representing the entirety of Buffalo’s rich diverse past and present, ut i isn’t even 8 a.m., so I’ll let you dig through the links and find the other figures who will be great topics for this year’s contest!

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September 20, 2007

So you want to make a web site…

Filed under: Resources — historydayguy @ 9:03 pm

There has been a good deal of questions about the web site category and I think what is really needed is education for the teachers. We all use web sites all the time. We go there to shop, check the weather, and a variety of tasks.

But to develop a New York State History Day project in a non- linear medium. That is a challenge. With papers, performances, exhibits, and papers, there is a sembelance of a start and an end. With web sites, you will most likely have a medium that can start at any point. You could jump from point to point without regard to where you start in a historical narrative.

I think kids developing these sites will have an intutive nature about that many teachers may be lacking.

I wouldn’t be suprised to see the thesis on the first page, and links leading you to successive points and then have a final conclusiopn. Of course the beauty of the web is the ability to travel in real time imediately from one point to another.

So, as a teacher, what I want is a cheat sheet! Well, we at New York State History Day are going to work on one of those, and my prtna’ in crime. T.V. and I are working on one. But the next best thing is to take a look at this website.

On the homepage, you essentially have a thesis statement. In the upper left hand, you have a consistant navigation menu that remains the same on each page. There are areas that hst primary sources, media, maps. All are linked back to the first page that introduces the thought behind the entire site.

I think this is an excellent tool to help teachers get their heads around the category, and mayhelp students as well.

June 21, 2007

Find Your History Locally

Filed under: Resources — historydayguy @ 8:57 pm

Throughout this year I will be preaching about the merits of finding your History Locally. In the past weeks I saw a presentation by Harry Bradshaw Matthews from The United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research .

It was Amazing. He painted an almost completely different picture on the rise of Abolition and the end to Slavery as you would get in a 7th grade text book. He introduced a cast of historic figures and institutions that would prove pivotal in the abolitionist movement.

Another great place for finding local history is this list of local institutions that can provide you with a wonderful cache of documents and possible NYS topics is the Upstate History Alliance. I know what your thinking…A rag tag group of historic and cultural agencies fighting the evils of the Empire… Well yes and no. The Alliance is led by a Jedi Princess named Jenny and they coordinate a lot of cool stuff for museums in the state but also have an interest in supporting students directly through their affiliated institutions or through organized activities. They have a comprehensive links page and they have a description of various holdings of institutions too.

We can’t forget our state and local archives. I spent some time this month digging through the New York State Historical Association’s Research Library  Civil War collections and found amazing primary sources. I could easily begin a History Day project bassed on at least 4 of the letters I found there. The most compelling was of a boy from Milford ,NY who ran away to join the Union forces, came home because it was so horrible, was threatened with imprisonment, went back to the front, and died of yellow fever. Only one letter. How cool would it be to go to local museums and historical societies to find more evidence of his family and his story. A great topic of Yellow Fever during the Conflict of the Blue and Grey. And a different take on the Conflicts and Compromises people were forced to engage in during the Civil War.

So look local for your topics. Look narrow. So much of our History Started here in the Empire State. Don’t overlook it!

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