There have certainly been more triumphs and tragedies throughout the globe, so don't feel limited to Wisconsin, The United States, or even a time period! Here are our pointers for selecting a topic this year:
The topic does not have to contain equal amount triumph and tragedy.As long as a topic fits well with one part that is good. It is better if students can at least mention both themes somewhere in their project, but it does not have to be 50/50. (However, it is hard to think of a topic that only has one and not the other.)
Beware of topics within the last 20 years.It is harder to know the historical impact of certain events when they were only 5, 10, 15 years ago. It is tempting for students, because this is usually what they know from current events, but it is not technically "history" yet.
Test a topic before finalizing it!Too often students latch onto an idea, and realize weeks into the project that there are a limited amount of sources or it is not a strong fit. Wikipedia is a good way for students to get to know a topic before selecting it.
How to Introduce Topics and Theme
Define triumph and define tragedy. Get everyone on the same page and brainstorm examples of each.
Examine the ordering of the words. Come up with examples of how people have fallen from triumph or persevered through tragedy. Don't limit it to possible NHD topics, use modern-day examples, too (ex: cell phones vs. landlines; social media vs. letter writing)
List synonyms. Theme language is important within the project, but during this phase, throw around words and see what comes up. (ex: adversity,
If you want more ideas, view pages 10-12 of the Theme Guide. Still stuck, reply to this newsletter with questions! Happy to help or brainstorm.