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Teachers Guide Grades 4_5

Page history last edited by Rob Darrow 3 years ago

History Day Teacher Guide / Class Lessons – 4th and 5th

Updated for Alameda County History Day. October 2017. 

Note: This ‘guide’ was developed for teachers in Alameda County with the help of teachers in Alameda County.  

 Modify it however it works best for you.

The concepts taught fit with the Common Core Standards and the new History Social Science Framework.  


Documents/Handouts to Download and Use for History Day Teachers' Guide (4th-5th) - Word Docs or Convert to Google Docs




ACOE History Day Wiki (all links and resources from this document): http://acoehistoryday.pbworks.com/

California History Day (NHD-CA): https://www.nhdca.org/

National History Day (NHD): http://www.nhd.org/TeacherResources.htm



Class #1: Intro to California State History Day (NHD-CA) / National History Day (NHD)

  • Note: Teachers may want to review the 8 Steps of Historical Research to share with students as needed.
  • Intro: There is a National History Day program and California developed a category called posters, especially for 4th and 5th grade students. There is an annual theme and students pick a topic based on theme and then create a poster. History Day started in 1974 and became National History Day after that.
  • Show History Day PowerPoint – Intro to History Day (or something related)
  • Explore photos of posters.
  • ASSIGNMENT: Students review poster examples online – write down 5 things you learned.  


Class #2: Choose a Topic

  •  Review: Students share what they learned about posters and history day.
  • Discuss: Share HD Intro PowerPoint.
  • Discuss organization: Share ways to organize the information you gather in this research process. 
  • Discuss: What kind of history topics do you like? Spend class time discussing students’ interests, and topic selection guidelines (Is topic or person at least 25 years old? what resources can be used? Who might I interview about this topic? ). 
  • Discuss Worksheet: “History Day BINGO” and “Choosing a History Day topic”. Discuss different ways to complete this (web search, talk with family members, explore something in history they like, etc.)
  • ASSIGN: Students complete worksheet, “Choosing a History Day topic” to share next class.



Class #3: Identify Sources of Information 

  • Note: This lesson could be done in collaboration with your school librarian.
  • Review: Students share possible ‘HD topics’.
  • Check: History Day BINGO
  • Discuss: Let’s create a list of all the places you could get information about your topic. Students brainstorm ideas, teacher writes all ideas on board or large poster or common website.
  • ASSIGNMENT: Worksheet “Choosing a History Day Topic”.  Complete #6 for your topic – what sources of information will you start with?  



Class #4: Research Your Topic

  • Note: This lesson could be done in collaboration with your school librarian.
  • Grade: Teachers may want to collect the “Choosing Topic” worksheet and give it a grade.
  • Review: Sources of information from students.
  • Discuss: basic research skills, note-taking, keeping track of bibliography information – check with your library website to see what you may use (easybib.com, NoodleTools http://www.noodletools.com/tools/nhd.php , etc.)
  • Discuss: “Organizer Notes and Bibliography.” Students then use computers or the library to identify sources of information for their topic. When they find a good source, they write it down on the “Organizer Notes and Bibliography”
  • ASSIGNMENT: Worksheet: Organizer Notes and Bibliography.  Notes (3-5 facts from each source) and bibliography information from 1 secondary source and 1 primary source.  



Class #5: Research Time

  • Review: You now have a topic and you have sources of information about your topic. Share with a partner your list of sources and discuss how they fit your topic. Continue discussion about research, primary and secondary sources, tracking resources. Make sure students have a viable process for keeping track of their research notes and bibliography information.
  • Check: History Day BINGO
  • Discuss: “Organizer Notes and Bibliography”.  Determine how many sources and what types of sources you will require for your students. Each source should be filled out on paper first.
  • Class: Research and note taking time.
  • Discuss worksheet: “Narrowing Topic.” What is the key idea or essence of your research?  
  • ASSIGN: Organizer Notes and Bibliography (Identify number and types of sources needed – perhaps at least one primary source and 3 secondary sources)   



Class #6: Review the Process

  • Grade: Teachers may want to collect the “Organizer Notes and Bibliography” worksheet and give it a grade.
  • Review: Discussed history day theme, you picked a topic of interest and you have completed some research.  
  • Discuss: Next steps. Start to transfer Organizer Notes and Bibliography to computer document or online space. Could use Google docs.  
  • Discuss: Project Grading Checklist (may be modified as needed) 
  • ASSIGN: Continue your research



Class #7: Writing a Thesis Statement for your topic



Class #8:Designing Your Poster

  • Review: You have your topic and your research. Now you are ready to create your poster.
  • Grade: Teachers may want to collect the “Thesis Statement” worksheet and give it a grade.
  • Check: History Day BINGO
  • Students can share their thesis drafts, and class can discuss/offer suggestions.
  • Discuss:  Choose either the “Organizer – Poster” or “Organizer – Poster Short” template to use with your students. 
  • ASSIGN: Organizer: Poster  (Or Organizer Poster Short)  



Class #9:Writing your Process Paper and Annotated Bibliography

  • Grade: Teachers may want to collect the “Organizer Poster” worksheet and give it a grade.
  • Review: You have been keeping your sources and bibliographies in the organizer notes and bibliography on paper or on computer – take those notes out. Now you get to write about your research experience – that is called the “Process paper.” You can see some examples on the Alameda County History Day website.   
  • Check: History Day BINGO
  • Discuss: Worksheet: Organizer Process Paper 4th 5th 
  • ASSIGN: Organizer Process Paper  



Class #10: Options 

  • Discuss: Project Grading Checklist  
  • Students have now completed all of the pre-planning to create a poster. Here are some options of what can be done next: 
    • A. Project is over, have students reflect as part of a class discussion or in writing what they learned from the experience. 
    • B. Have students present their topics and plan in groups of students. 
    • C. Have students create mini-boards on 8.5 X 11 inch paper to turn in 
    • D. Have students create real posters to turn in 
    • E. Create a class or school contest where posters are judged and the top posters are sent on to Alameda County History Day. 


Resources for Options:  http://acoehistoryday.pbworks.com/

-       Poster Rules

-       Poster Judging Sheet 

-       Poster Instructions for Judges 

-       Putting on a school history day contest 



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