I started this post in May. I worked on it a bit in June. Then I abandoned it, lonely on my computer, until I stumbled on it this morning. So I finished it off (just a little proofreading) and I share it now, even though we are far from the end of the year, and I don’t know if it will resonate with anyone here in the middle of the crazy beginning of the year season.
Thinking about making and history at the end of the year.
In some ways, National History Day (NHD) is rather “old school,” a science fair style research competition for history. I started requiring my students to participate in NHD because I saw the potential for deep research and thought, a good match with our department history “habits of mind” and a great opportunity for students to pick topics that they cared about.
One of the things I like about letting students decide what they need to make for their projects is how much learning takes place between the moment they say "I want to make a model of the Taj Mahal to show how the architecture reflects the way Shah Jahan wanted to memorialize his wife" and the finished project. For me, as a teacher, that is when a great deal of learning takes place.