Education

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Thesis Statements

Monday, January 11th, 2010

So, you’ve narrowed your topic, done some preliminary research, and decided to present via exhibit board. What’s next? One of the most important aspects of your History Day project is the thesis statement. Why? Because the thesis statement holds the entire project together. If judges were to only read your thesis statement, would it make the central argument of your project? What exactly is a thesis statement? Thesis = Topic + Theme + Impact. The thesis statement is not for introducing your project, but creating an argument that expresses your topic’s significance and demonstrates how the theme, “Innovation in History: Impact and Change” plays the central part of your project.

When is the best time to write your thesis statement? Thesis statements are always a work- in-progress among students. You may think you have your thesis statement together but then gather information that turns your project in a different direction. You may have many different thesis statements and that is okay, however, by the time you present your project, you should have your thesis concrete and supported with evidence. Let’s take a look at a “Don’t” and “Do” example:

Don’t: Television helped John F. Kennedy win the 1960 election.

The problem with this thesis is that it is lacking specific information and there is no concrete evidence to support the claim.

Do: Television was a new communication tool widely available during the 1960 presidential campaign. Senator John F. Kennedy’s innovative use of this mass medium, particularly in the televised presidential debates, helped secure him the presidency over Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy’s victory marked a new era of political campaigning and change the way Americans understand and receive their political candidates.

Also make sure to work the theme words into your thesis statement, judges love that… :)

Holler at History Day!!!

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Well kids, it’s that time of the year again. That means History Day! Over here at the History Center we are excited and working hard at making this year our best ever. This year we thought we’d get caught up on technology, so we created this blog. We hope you enjoy this portal over the coming weeks and months as we post important information and insider tips for making your History Day project the best it can be.

A bit about myself, I am Matt and I work with St. Paul Schools. I am a life-long St. Paul kid and a National History Day finalist from 1999 in the group performance category. I was also a History Day mentor during my college years at the U of M. I will be writing the student section of this blog and hope that you guys join in for some fun discussions and follow along with what is going on over here at History Day headquarters. I will try to post every other week for now, with plans to make it a weekly production as competition season nears.

As the season is underway, you all should be choosing topics and finding something that interests you. Remember you don’t want to do a boring topic, find that person who you want to investigate and learn a lot about.

So, with this year’s theme of the Individual in History: Actions & Legacies, I start off with the first insider tip of the season: DON’T DO A BIOGRAPHY! It’s going to have to be a bit deeper than that :)

Maybe this classic History Day clip will help…
National History Day: What’s your point?