Your classes are gearing up for the competition, no?
Alfie Kohn might not like the idea of competition in history. In a state famous for competition in almost everything, but most famous for athletic competitions to the detriment of academics, I find great appeal in a contest that requires kids to find, analyze and write history.
Then the students get together to present and discuss history — and usually about 60 Texas kids go on to the National History Day festival. (Details here from the Texas State Historical Association)
A. Texas History Day, a part of the National History Day program, is a yearlong education program that culminates in an annual state-level history fair for students in grades six through twelve. It provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their interest in, and knowledge of, history through creative and original papers, performances, documentaries, individual interpretive web sites, or three-dimensional exhibits.
Over the course of the school year, students research and produce a History Day entry, the results of which are presented at a regional competition in early spring. From there, some students advance to the state fair in May, or even to the national contest held each June at the University of Maryland at College Park. At each level of competition, outstanding achievement may be recognized through certificates, medals, trophies, or monetary awards. The most important rewards are the skills and insight that students acquire as they move through the History Day program.
As many as 33,000 young Texans are involved in the program at the regional and state level each year. More than 900 students participate in Texas History Day, and approximately 60 students represent Texas at National History Day each year.
The topics and the papers promise a lot. These projects could make good lesson plans. (Who publishes the winning entries? I have not found that yet.)
Don’t forget the Texas History Day T-shirt Design Contest — entries are due by December 14, 2007.