After a productive day of running errands and tying up loose ends, I am sitting in our public library with my two daughters and their two friends. They are all working on a National History Day project.
If you don’t know about National History Day, you should check out their website. It’s a fabulous program that gets kids thinking like historians and requires the sort of critical thinking demanded by the Common Core standards.
Right now, I’m watching my 12-year-old work with a librarian to locate some good titles related to her topic. This, more than any historical interpretation or analysis, is my favorite part of History Day. My daughters, my shy daughters, are forced to work with adults they don’t know and ask and answer questions. The girls make meetings with teachers for help, and search out other resources they need.
On contest day, each student has to present her work to a panel of judges and answer 5-10 minutes of questions.
My girls don’t easily put themselves in front of people; they do not like to be the center of attention. But, if they want to participate in History Day, they have no choice. This is the most difficult part of the program for them, and my favorite part.
The girls and I will be at the library at least once a week while they prepare their projects. I stay out of their way; I’m only the chauffeur.
Side benefit, I get my work done, too.
Read about what other teachers are doing today at the Two Writing Teachers website.