History Day

Here are some links to help you with your National History Day project:

National History Day

History Day in Connecticut

  • Become familiar with the links on this site, too, especially the Evaluation Sheets. Pay attention to the dates for registration and contests.

Choosing and Researching a Topic:
Use some of the following links to help you choose a topic and conduct preliminary research for this year's theme:  Taking a Stand.

Here are more ideas for Connecticut topics:
  • ResearchItCT has links to the History Reference Center database, American Civil War Resources,the Connecticut History website, as well as much more.
  • The New Haven Free Public Library website has many other helpful databases. It also offers free passes to many museums in Connecticut.  Click here to see the list.
  • You may want to watch a documentary on your topic. You may need to view some of these from home, due to District blocking. Here is a list of links to explore:
  • Documentary Heaven: Click on "Documentary List" to see a list organized by topic.
  • Documentary Tube
  • PBS History Videos

Finding Primary Sources:
There are many places on the Internet to find primary sources.  The type you find will depend on the time frame and location of your event.  Here are some starting points:

Conducting Interviews:
As part of your research, you will need to conduct at least one interview. This could be a primary source (someone who was witness to the event you are researching) or a secondary source (an expert on the topic). You may want to use technology to help you record the event: an audio recorder, a video camera or teleconferencing. Here are some tools that you may find useful:
  • Skype allows you to video-conference with people using your computer or tablet. There are some programs you can download to capture and save the session. Most cost money, but one free one is Free Video Call Recorder for Skype.
  • Here is a sample e-mail that you can use to request an interview.
Taking Notes:
Noodle Tools is an online note-taking management system that you will be required to use for your National History Day project.  Mrs. Hart will give you the instructions on how to set up your account.  

Citing Your Sources:
National History Day rules require you to create an annotated bibliography using either the MLA (Modern Language Association) or Turabian (Chicago Style) format.  You must include every source that you use, separated into primary and secondary resources.  You must annotate each entry;  that means you need to write 2-3 sentences about how the resource was helpful to you.  

Bells and Whistles:
If you are working on a documentary or website, part of the experience will be to learn new technology skills.  Here are some tools that you may find useful.  Search the Internet for other applications, too, and I will add them to this list.

  • Keepvid is a web-based program that lets you download YouTube videos, that you can later edit in your movie-making program (such as Windows Moviemaker or I-Movie)
  • Zamzar is a web-based program that converts one file type to another.  For instance, if you use a Flip Camera to record an interview, you will need to convert it to another file format to edit it in Windows Moviemaker. It can convert files of up to 1 GB.
  • Free Make Video Converter is a free program you can download onto your computer that converts files.
  • WeVideo is a web-based, full-featured video editor. Note that your Google Apps for Education account limits you to 6 minutes.
  • Online MP3 Cutter allows you to edit sound clips
  • Tiki-Toki and Timetoast are web-based tools that let you create interactive timelines to embed in your website.
  • Making a website? View this webinar about using Weebly to make a great site!

Respecting Copyright:
If you want to include music in your project, you must make sure that you comply with copyright laws.  In general, you may use any music that is in the "public domain" (usually, that means it is so old it is no longer protected by copyright, like classical music), music that was created under Creative Commons (the creator gives permission to use it freely, as long as you give credit) or if you have permission.  You can find sample permission letters at Copyright Kids. Here are some places you can find copyright-free music: