The longest on-going project that we have at Hayes Middle School is the National History Day contest. If you're not familiar with this, it is a contest for middle and high school students. Every year there is a theme around which students must develop a project. The project must be in the form of a paper, documentary, or an exhibit. This year all of our gifted and honors 7th and 8th grader classes were required to do a history day project. They could work as individuals or in groups. Every Friday from October until around January they came to the library during their history class to work on the project. The history teacher, gifted teacher and I evaluated the projects.
We choose one group to continue on into the district competition in the spring. The gifted specialist and I helped them improve their project. Their documentary was on the closing of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company. They received first place in their catagory. They also got a second place prize from the local historical society. The society gives awards every year to those who do projects about local history.
After the disctrict competition the students worked like crazy for the state competition. They spent many of their lunch periods with me in the library. I also let them work after school in the library. One evening we stayed until 7 pm trying to finish. Since I teach in an inner-city school most of the students don't have computers at home so they have to do most of their work at school. Unfortunately the girls didn't make it to the second round of state competition but they scored higher than any group in the past. They learned so much from this experience. Not only did they learn about local history but they learned alot about computer technology in the process. I taught them how to record their narration and add it to their power point show. You can listen to two short podcasts about their experiences at the Hayes Library website.