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Welcome to 2013-2014 New Jersey National History Day

Theme for this year's 2013-2014 National History Day is here!

Rights and Responsibilities

On-line Registration Deadline:  Feb. 1st, 2014
TITLES! IMPORTANT INFO FOR STUDENTS!  Students and NHD Teachers!  Read below for information on how to title your projects accordingly for Special Prize Awards

New Jersey History Day - Special Prizes

The following organizations present prizes at the NJ History Day Competition in May in order to promote specific areas of history or historical research. 

North Jersey American Revolution Round Table awards two prizes in honor of Harry Carpenter, a founding member of NJARRT.  These two prizes of $125 each are presented to projects — from any category — that pertain to the American Revolution and its era, including but not limited to the causes of the revolution, the Revolutionary War, George Washington, the founding fathers, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Students are encouraged to indicate in the title of the project the connection to the American Revolution and/or the related topics.


North Jersey Civil War Round Table awards two prizes in honor of New Jersey’s pre-eminent historian, the late John T. Cunningham.  These two prizes of $125 each, are presented to those projects — from any category — that pertain to the Civil War and its era, including but not limited to the causes of the dissolution, the war, Abraham Lincoln, and reconstruction.

Students are encouraged to indicate in the title of the project the connection to the American Civil War and/or topics related to the Civil War.

National Maritime Historical Society is an official supporter of the New Jersey History Day program with the intent of inspiring young people to learn about their maritime history. NMHS awards prizes — from any category in both Junior and Senior Divisions— to outstanding projects on a maritime topic. Recipients of this award receive a cash award of $150.    Also, the student(s) and the teacher will receive a subscription to Sea History Magazine, the official publication of NMHS.

Students are encouraged to indicate in the title of the project the connection to maritime history.


The Record, the flagship daily publication of North Jersey Media Group, is honored to sponsor four awards demonstrating Best Use of Newspapers as a Resource.  Two plaques will be awarded to projects in any category in both Junior and Senior Divisions, to students from all schools in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, and Essex counties.  Two additional plaques will be awarded for the same criteria to projects by students from other counties in the state.  Best Use of Newspapers can be shown visually and/or be a significant part of the entry’s research bibliography. This award is not limited to historical use of The Record and Herald News, but includes all newspaper use as a primary resource.


New Jersey Historical Commission
presents awards to projects in any category that address a topic relevant to New Jersey history.

Common Core Standards


Interested in connecting your History Day lessons to the Common Core Standards, look no further!
Check out this link to the National History Day Website where you can find the Common Core Standards connected to History Day.
What's New and Exciting with HD?


1. The Library of Congress webinar scheduled for Thursday 12/5 has been postponed due to difficulties with the webinar platform.  

2. Webinar Tuesday, December 10th, form 4-6pm.  Do you have questions about the NHD rules? During this webinar, the NHD staff will be on hand to answer them! There will be an online chat discussion from our website using ChatWing.  Students, teachers, parents, etc. are invited to join us!  Your rules-related questions will be answered in real time.  In addiyion, the questions and answers will be archived on the NHD website for those unable to participate.  Questions can be sent in advance from Dec. 6-9 by emailing; just make sure to have "NHD RULES DISCUSSION" in your subject line.  To see the discussion go; a button on the homepage will take you to the webinar, then follow the chat instructions.

A New Guide for Teaching in Civics, Economics, Geography, and History
A Guide developed by AHA to strengthen Social Studies Standards shared by Peter Porter, an MJHD teacher in Montville who serves on the AHA Executive Council.
Link: In Time for Constitution Day: A New Guide for Teaching in Civics, Economics, Geography, and History
Greetings Everyone,
I thought you might find the above document of interest as they prepare to finally unveil the C3 standards. It has been an incredible experience to serve on the AHA executive council, one I highly recommend, and am grateful that my superintendent has been very gracious in allowing me the time to serve, not to mention my wife putting up with the travel.
The document represents compromise by all the parties involved. As some of you may be aware the CSSO withdrew from the project at the very end as heat over the Reading part of the Common Core began to grow. NCSS finished the project and gave all the major stakeholders an opportunity to review and comment. Several revisions were made based on suggestions from the AHA and when snarls developed over some of the language that individuals objected to the AHA was able to help come up with language acceptable to all parties. This document is important in many ways, but two in particular stand out. It is an example of compromise and what can be accomplished when organizations are willing to work together and accept compromise solutions. This is something I believe must become a more standard practice as we move forward in a non-TAH, fiscally tighter world. An idea that surrounds the efforts for the Spring conference.
It is also my belief that Social Studies/History is practically non-existent in the Common Core, something I know Hank and I both agree on. This document puts our discipline back into the "relevant" category and with various groups decrying the lack of content in the Common Core, C3 improves that situation. As we had become a single chart on part of the last page of the Common Core with historical thinking severely handicapped in the process, the C3 standards should help to make History/Social Studies an important part of the K-12 educational process.

Thanks for reading this and hope you all have excellent school years.
Peter Porter
Teaching Division Member
American Historical Association

A response from NHD Teacher, Peter Porter

How has the Albert H. Small Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Institute impacted the way that you approach and teach the history of World War II? Have you used any approaches, methods, or ideas in other Social Studies or English classes that you teach? Have you/are you integrating any of the Silent Heroes program in your classroom?    Are you currently working with or supervising other Social Studies teachers and integrating these methods? 
A: Without any hesitation, I can say the Sacrifice for Freedom Institute had a tremendous impact on my life and my teaching. In every class I teach, I try to instill the sense of responsibility and duty I felt permeated the experience. It has become my mission to at least once a year provide an assembly for students sharing that experience and encouraging them to remember and cherish the sacrifice those men made on the beaches of Normandy. We have held two assemblies and done a program at the local VFW. This year for Veteran’s Day we will share two classes “Fallen Soldiers” eulogies, inviting the VFW to attend.

How has National History Day impacted your teaching? Did you begin participating after your experience in the institute or were you an NHD teacher previously? How do you integrate it into your lessons? Do you run a program within your classroom or as an extracurricular activity? Do you have students competing at the school, regional, state, or national level? 
A: It has been incredibly rewarding to use National History Day for over 8 years now, in 2 states. As a Gilder Lehrman School we have been involved with NHD since 2005. I require all my Freshman students and members of the GL program to take part through their Junior year. It has been extremely helpful in teaching research methods, while allowing the students to excel in ways that play to their strengths. My students have qualified for 5 straight years at Nationals and we regularly participate in NHD workshops and regional competitions.

What opportunities has the program opened for your Normandy student? How did you see your student grow as a result of this program and the presentations that followed the program? 
A: The Normandy Institute gave Tom an incredible opportunity to grow. He is now attending Cornell University where he uses many of the skills in developed in NHD and has been able to use his experiences in several classes at Cornell. Tom came away with a much deeper understanding of what sacrifice and duty mean. He has been back to speak to my students on several occasions and has assisted with continued efforts at developing more eulogies.

New Publication!
 <-- check out this new publication with an article written by one of our N.J. History Day teachers, Joan Ruddiman of West Windsor Plainsboro!

NJHD on Grover Middle School Morning New Show

NHD students on the Sea Girt Lighthouse website

New Jersey Civil War Round Table Winners 2013

Image and video hosting by TinyPic     
High School North freshman Ali Burke, Sara Gostomski, Sara Duane, and Caroline Charles were presented certificates and a cash prize by the New Jersey Civil War Round Table for their National History Day performance titled “The  Emancipation Proclamation: The Document that Changed the Fate of the States,” which they also performed for the Round Table’s May 23rd meeting held at the Morristown Arboretum. Each year, The Civil War Round Table recognizes two NJ History Day projects competing at the NJHD State Contest that best capture the history of the Civil War era. These awards are presented in honor of the late John R. Cunningham, New Jersey’s pre-eminent historian who was a board member of the NJCWRT. Over 3,000 students in New Jersey participate in National History Day annually, which is sponsored by William Paterson University, with support from the New Jersey Historical Commission and the Brotherton Foundation.  This group also performed at the NJ History Fair held May 11th at Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville.  

Articles featuring State Advancers:
Paterson Powerhouse
The Hunterdon Democrat
The Alternative Press

New Jersey Council for History Education:
East Orange Student Wins Third Place at NHD Contest- 2012

A Student's Personal Story:
My name is Ashrita Raman. I'm a middle school student at Community Middle School. I'm in eighth grade and this is my 3rd year in NHD.  
6th Grade: 2 years ago; the first day of October. I nervously walk into the NHD classroom. A plethora of questions whiz into my head. What is NHD? What do you do? Is it tedious? Fun? Hard? Nervously, I walk in. I'm greeted by Mrs. Rosnick, a gray-haired, energetic looking person. Maybe this won't be so bad after all! I smile as I slide into my seat.  One month later. My head swarms with all the new information Mrs. Rosnick has given us. A bibliography WITH annotations? What is this?  Why do we have to do so much work? Should I have even joined NHD at all? I groan in despair. However, I still keep my head up and work every day, trying to find more sources and working on my exhibit. My work eventually pays off when I qualify for the States, two years in a row. 
8th Grade: 2 years later; January 2013. Finally an eighth grader, I walk into Language Arts, only to be greeted by a new project: a research paper. Ugh, I think. This is going to be so BORING! How will I survive? Suddenly, our teacher speaks. "For this research paper, you need to have a minimum of 3 text sources! You must cite all of your sources in Noodletools, MLA Format! Does anyone have trouble with this? This is going to be pretty hard..." Our teacher drones on as I smile. NHD really did pay off! 3 sources? Honestly, we probably had 25 times more than that amount! I laugh as people around me groan, complaining about how many sources they had to find and how much work they had to do.  After joining NHD, I have really become a better researcher and a more informative person. NHD has helped me in my research, analysis, and thinking skills in school. Without NHD, I wouldn't be the same person as I am today. 
--Ashrita Raman 

NHD is on Classroom Close-Up 
Episode 2012-13, Show 5 at 19minutes and 30 seconds New Jersey History Day has been highlighted on Classroom Close-up! The students of Community Middle School, West Windsor-Plainsboro and their teacher, Karen Rosnick, demonstrated the wonderful qualities, inspirational outcomes and authentic benefits that National History Day offers students. Congratulations!

Salute to Freedom Site is Live
The Salute to Freedom site is live. Featuring content by 51 NHD students, representing every state and the District of Columbia, this site honors the contributions made by every state to World War II.
Make sure to check out the NJ - by Payton Kelly-McNally. Nice work!  Since being selected in June, students have been working diligently to identify these contributions, identifying images and writing captions and text.
In January, these students will be attending the Grand Opening of The National WWII Museum's US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

New NHD Weebly Features
Hello All,Weebly has recently released a hand full of new Weebly features! These features are all available to NHD Weebly participants.
So, what are these new features?: - Internal Site Searching- Header Slideshows- HD Video- Customizable Footers- Upload Larger Files What does this mean for NHD Weebly users? - Internal Site Searching - One of the key concerns NHD Weebly strives to achieve is restricting the connection to the world wide web from our NHD Weebly projects.
Not to fear, the new Internal Site Searching is a tool that allows for users and the audience to search keywords WITHIN the NHD web site project only. In no way will this site search feature link to the world wide web for global searching. This could be quite handy in locating sources within a project's bibliography or finding bibliographies and process papers in general.
- Header Slideshows - This is a cool feature that allows users to customize their headers with multiple pictures. Instead of a static, one picture header, NHD students can display multiple pictures, with ease and fluidity, to highlight their web site. - HD Video - NHD participants can now upload video to true HD quality. They have also increased the limit of 100MB of media to 1GB. That's 30+ minutes of HD footage that NHD participants can add! Even though there are more opportunities for increased use of media on NHD projects, the clips still have to meet the 45 second rule.
- Customizable Footers - In the past, footers have been one line of text areas at the bottom of Weebly web sites but the new custom footers allow for important pages, social media icons, company logos, and contact forms. For NHD Weebly these new footer features are available but NHD projects are PROHIBITED from having social media icons linking out of their project. The footer options for NHD projects are restricted to important page links for internal pages and elements only.
- Upload Larger Files - Files have been limited to 100MB in the previous NHD Weebly editor but now participants can upload 250MB worth of files, documents, pictures, etc. These are all very exciting features Weebly has allowed us to incorporate into NHD projects. Below is Weebly's formal announcement on their blog. Please read over everything to learn the features, watch the video, and spread the word about NHD Weebly's new features.

What Is History Day?

National History Day is not just a day, but every day! The National History Day program is a year-long education program that culminates in a national contest every June.

For more than twenty-five years the National History Day program has promoted systemic educational reform related to the teaching and learning of history in America's schools. The combination of creativity and scholarship built into the NHD program anticipated current educational reforms, making National History Day a leading model of performance-based learning.

NHD is a year-long education program that engages students in grades 6-12 in the process of discovery and interpretation of historical topics. Students produce dramatic performances, imaginative exhibits, multimedia documentaries and research papers based on research related to an annual theme. These projects are then evaluated at local, state, and national competitions.


New Jersey History Day Supporters

National History Day is supported by:

William Paterson University

New Jersey Historical Commission

National Maritime Historical Society
Important Information

T-Shirt Design Contest:

Students: design a t-shirt for this year's competition theme!

Click here for more Information
Registration Information

Registration is OPEN.  All registrations must be completed by February 1, 2014.
To Register: go to the On-line Registration link to your left.

Why Participate?

Many different people participate in the NHD program:

  • Students
  • Teachers
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Libraries, Museums, and Archives
  • Community Businesses

The NHD program serves as a vehicle to teach students important literacy skills and to engage them in the use and understanding of museum and library resources. The program inspires students to study local history, and then challenges them to expand their thinking and apply knowledge of local events to the national, or even worldwide scene. The program also teaches students to become technologically literate through the use of computer and Internet research methods, and the use of technologically advanced applications in their presentations.

"The true benefits from participating in National History Day go way past a certificate or medal. The program teaches kids the writing, analytical understanding, and reading comprehension skills that will make them a success in life, no matter what their career," states parent Susan Moose.

National History Day in New Jersey in NJEA Review

Dr. Joan Ruddiman, NHD in New Jersey Advisory Board Member and National History Day teacher and judge, wrote and submitted a wonderful article on NHD in New Jersey to NJEA. It was published in the September 2009 issue of NJEA Review. If you have not yet seen the article, you can find it through this link:
Thanks, Dr. Ruddiman!
Independence Park Institute Field Trip Grants by Target

Are your students ready for some fun? Bring them to the Independence Park Institute for interactive educational programs. Target is giving away 5000 grants of $800 each that you could use for this field trip.
Click Here for more Information