Stefanie Helmer-Morseth
History Day
History Day: Performance Entry


Hi Families and Community!

My name is Stefanie Morseth-Helmer, but people here at Marcy call me "Stefanie" or "Stef".  I am the 7/8 US History teacher, 6th Enrichment, 6/7 Advisory teacher, and the Debate coach.  I have taught in Minneapolis since 2003, teaching Social Studies in EBD programs.  I am a second-year Marcy teacher, and I am super excited to be back as a Marcy Marlin.    

Last year, I taught Global Studies and Model United Nations.  Wherease that specific course was about summarizing and getting a "taste" of different cultures, US History is going to be details and mastery of a topic.  Basically, we are getting into the nitty-gritty of research.  I am attempting and striving to make this fun, dynamic, and a skill the students will use throughout their educational careers.  Teaching research skills is going to have to be a whole community approach, especially for middle schoolers.  So, parents/guardians, your help at home will be greatly appreciated.  

The first 3 quarters of school year (well, about the whole year) will be dedicated to National History Day.  You may be asking, "What is History Day?"  Each year, more than half a million students participate in this event.  Students will choose historical topics related to a theme.  They will then conduct primary and secondary research through museums, libraries, interviews, etc.  They will analyze and interpret their sources.  After 2 quarters of researching their topic, the students will create and present their work in a choice format: original papers, exhibits, performances, websites, or documentaries.  The students will be completed with the final project by the end of February.  If the student choose to do so, the student may participate in the competition.  The school competition  will be judged upon my Marcy staff and Minnesota Historical Society judeges.  The final product are entered into competitions in March at regional, state, and possibly national levels.  The products are evaluated by professional historians and educators.  Students will also create a work of art, reflecting their topic for the Artist and Writer's Fair in March.  Basically, February and March will be CRAZY times for Marcy US History class.

Sounds intimidating?  It is. However, we will persevere, learn, and move forward.  

The theme of this year is "Taking a Stand."  Because Marcy's theme is "Teaching Peace", the overall theme for our History Day will be "Taking a PEACEFUL stand."  In the first quarter, students will be CAREFULLY selecting a topic within this theme.  The students will find out It's not as easy as it appears. The topic should be before 1992.  I have provided websites in this webpage.

Students will also be learning the curriculum from the MN State Standards.  My plan is to go backwards throughout history. My experience has been that students do not reach their own lives in a history

Poland: I love to travel.
class.  It's the US History teacher's plight to get to 1945, and oops, the school year is done.  This year, I am going to attempt history backwards.  Teachers have had success with this strategy, especially in Middle School.   This way will also make it easier for students to find recent topics related to their History Day Theme of "Taking a Peaceful Stand".  

1. The US on a Global Stage (1945-current)--also supporting the Socratic Seminar Current Events and Language Arts Novels on Self-esteem

2. Americans Coming of Age (1900-1945)

3. American Development (1865-1900)

4. America's Identity Crisis (1800-1865)

5. Expaning Amerian Identity (1800s)

Of course, we can't forget increasing geography skills.  For the 9th grade curriculum, students may study Cultural Geography.  Middle School students must know location of places in order to understand culture.  GEOGRAPHY MATTERS!  However, for some reason or many reasons, most Americans forget this.  ;)   We will have 4-5 geography assessments per quarter.   This studying can be fun for the whole family because parents/guardians perhaps left geography skills back in their high school years.  

A few ways I support the OPEN Philosophy within my classroom:  
*Students are allowed to select their topic and master that content.  Students are allowed to choose their own format and whether or not to have an individual or group product.  
*Student assessment will be differentiated, especially in the areas of geography assessments.
*Interdisciplinary Learning:  Language Arts and the Socractic Seminar will be supporting History Day research. Likewise, US History curriculum (alongside History Day) will be reflective of the novels chosen for Language Arts.  Most content areas are working together to support increased writing skills through their curriculum.
*Students will self-reflect on their learning each quarter.
*Students will create weekly goals and reflect on their goals.
*The fourth quarter project will consist of a personal "Taking a Peaceful Stand" theme.  
Personal notes and quirks:  I have 2 children, Silas (7) and Jaycie (5).  During the school year, I exercise at 5am.   I chew gum constantly (not at Marcy) and eat oatmeal everyday.   I am an achiever, maximizer, and learner from the past. I am multi-tasking fanatic.  I love researching and learning about World Religions.  Although I highly dislike fyling on a plane, I love to travel.     
2016-2017 DEBATE
The Debate League is brought to us by Augsburg College.  Their debate program funds the city Debate League.
For you, the Debate team is FREE.  
The topic is super interesting. The United States and China's Relationship.  There will be more to come from this.  
We take anyone.
Yes, you should Join Debate!
 It's especially great for people who love to talk, read, learn about current events.  You do NOT have to be a good writer to be on debate.   This is for 7th and 8th graders.  However, if you are a "super serious about debate"  6th grader, you may join Debate.   
If you LOVE the musical, participate in 2 meets. 
Practices will be on Mondays.  It will start November 14th.  Practices include: November 14, 21, 28, Dec. 5, 12, Jan. 9, 23, and 30, Feb. 6, 13, and 27. 
It is considered an After-School Class.  
Practices will be from 3:15-4:45pm. Transportation is provided.  
Bussing is available, but need to register by mid-October.
There are 4 meets, which are yet to be determined.  Last year, the meets were on Wednesday evenings. I am not sure yet.  I'll give you plenty of time. 
There are 4 meets in the Winter-time.  We typically leave Marcy around 2:30pm and get back at 7:30pm a the school.  The meets take place usually at Murray Junior High School in St. Paul, the University of Minnesota, or Andersen United Community Shcool in Minneapolis. 
E-mail me if you're interested for fun, learning, and improving your speaking, comprehending, and reading!
In order to get public transportation for practice, the deadline to sign up by is Oct. 15th.  We need plenty of time to arrange bussing and trasnportation. 
If you are a walker or have transportation, the deadline is by Nov. 14th.
YEAH!  We are going to learn how to study, organize, research, build community, gain self-esteem, have self-control, organize, study, organize, research, build community, study, and organize some more.  We are going to ORGANIZE!  We are going to prepare you for some high school, college, and life time success!   
We are going to be an outstanding family this year.  We will community build throughout the March school, follow the 6-8 Social Contract, have circle, and build relationships.  We will be involved in Marcy Buddies, where you will continue to be Marcy Role Models. I will be your go-to person in times of need.  Ocassionally, we will dance and sing in class. We learn steps of maturity: respect, responsibility, self-control, etc.  Students and I will have weekly goals that we will monitor.  We will reflect upon our own behavior, emotions, academic strengths and weeknesses.  
Word of Caution:  The PLANNERS are your golden ticket this year.  REMEMBER YOUR PLANNER! PLANNER! PLANNER! PLANNER!  
Take care and LOVE, 
PDF History Themes   --  These themes help students chunk the different concepts of history.