History Day 2011

As I alluded to earlier, I have a new Teaching Assistantship this semester and that is…History Day!  I worked with History Day for three years at MSSU.  I was asked to take this position because of this experience and to make suggestions to those who work with History Day at JMU.

What is History Day?

History Day is a competition held at the local, state, and national levels in which students in Middle school and High school get to compete for scholarships.  They do so by competing at either the Junior (grades 6 -8) or Senior (grades 9-12) levels.  With in each level, there are several categories including: individual documentary, group documentary, individual exhibit, group exhibit, historic paper, individual performance, group performance, individual website, or group website.  No matter the category, students have the chance to explore a topic of their choosing under the annual theme.  Past themes have included “The Individual in History” and “Innovation in History.”  This year, the theme is “Debate & Diplomacy in History.”  History Day allows students to experience the research required for historians, and, hopefully, inspire them to continue their education with history as their emphasis.  I look forward to seeing what the students come up with.

History Day at JMU

When I was asked to work with History Day 2011 at JMU, I did not know what I was getting into.  When I worked with History Day 2010 at MSSU, I worked with an experienced professor and Missouri History Day had implemented a paperless system.  At JMU, however Virginia History Day does not control the system.  For the last several weeks, I, along with the departmental secretary and Dr. Dillard have been trying to put together a website to inform local teachers as well as a way to submit entries online.  It is proving difficult, but we are pushing forward.  March 25 is not all that far away.

I was asked to work with History Day because I have experience.  I have worked with a different system and have a different perspective.  My goals for the semester and for History Day at JMU are to create a “History Day Guide Book” with information for professors or students who run History Day at JMU in the future.  I also want to create a paperless system before History Day 2012.   We also need to have a website that will be informational for local teachers and students.  The goal is to get more people involved and making the system simpler will encourage growth.  I am excited to work with History Day and we are working to make History Day simpler for those who come after Dr. Dillard and me.  It is a challenge, but I love a challenge!

Next week, I will begin describing the courses I am taking this semester.  Until then…

-Eric

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