Tip # 1 Try to
pick a topic you're actually interested in.
teachers are open to suggestions. For example, if you like sports
and you're studying the American Colonial Era, you could look
into how kids played back in the 1700s. Were there any organized
sports? Was there even any time for play, considering the amount
of chores? Be curious. Use your imagination. The more interested
you are in the topic you finally get, the more motivated you will
Tip # 2
It makes all the difference.
If you leave it all until the last minute the quality of your
paper will suffer badly. At The History Place we get panic e-mail
messages from kids who don't have a clue about their topic and
have a paper due in a matter of hours. The stress of trying to
complete an assignment with one eye on the clock is guaranteed
to make it a miserable experience for you. And then your parents
will get stressed too!
Tip # 3
Don't just cut and paste.
It's very tempting to copy
stuff from the Internet and Encyclopedia CD-ROMs. But you'll wind
up with a hodgepodge of various writing styles and levels of expertise
all stuck together like a jigsaw puzzle. It'll be quite obvious
if your paper reads like it was written by a Ph.D. and you're
only in the 8th grade! It's important to go to your local library
or bookshop and get books in addition to using any electronic
info. Right now, most books are not available on the Internet
or on CDs. Then write the paper based on the knowledge you have
gained. Another thing to do is to interview persons who either
experienced the historical era or who are knowledgeable, such
as a college professor.
Tip # 4
Let someone else read it before you turn it in.
Ask a friend or relative for
an honest opinion. Sometimes young writers know what they mean
as they write, but they don't actually make it clear on paper.
If you have any confusing paragraphs your friend can quickly tell
Tip # 5 Make sure
you follow your teacher's style guidelines.
This refers to
requirements for margins, footnotes, the cover page, bibliography
etc. Pay attention to all the little (painstaking) details on how
your teacher wants you to assemble your project. Then you'll get
the wonderful grade you deserve!
Do you have a
question about U.S. History? Check out this answer
page generously provided by the U.S. National Park
Service with E-mail links to a variety of History experts.
The Library of Congress offers an Ask A Librarian page.
This Library of Congress Learning
Page has a directory of Internet resources.
Need help choosing
a topic? This useful
guide at the University of Kansas has thousands of
links to every imaginable History topic.
also has a big listing of History Web sites.
Need help building
your bibliography? You can visit Amazon.com
and search their massive inventory to see what books are available
on your topic, books you might be able to get from your local
library or bookshop.
To check the meaning
of a word you can use this online Dictionary.
Want to know more
about a particular person? Search 25,000 profiles at the Biography
Check out The
History Place frequently asked History