Wednesday, July 9, 2014

National History Day Theme for 2015: Leadership and Legacy in History

I'm breaking into the summer break to let you know next year's National History Day theme: Leadership and Legacy in History . At least one teacher told me she thought it would be useful information to have this summer as she prepared for the next school year, so I thought I'd blast out the information statewide.

National History Day projects are a great way to better align your history curriculum to the Common Core. (More on that here).

The theme "Leadership and Legacy" can apply to almost any era of history: Montana topics could include people (like Chief Plenty Coups) or organizations (like the Women's Christian Temperance Union). It can be a lens through which to study military history (Sitting Bull), environmental history (the leaders who left us the legacy of the Wilderness Act), political history (Governor Dixon and the Mine Metals tax), labor history (Frank Little), or social history (the leadership of women's clubs in the creation of Montana libraries). The theme works equally well for American and World history subjects. And remember, neither the leader nor the legacy has to be a good one--there's plenty of room to study the jerks of history as well (I'll let you name your own--since one person's jerk is another person's hero.)

My understanding is that next year's state contest will be held in Bozeman in March or April. As the Montana Historical Society has the last two years, we'll be offering a $500 prize to the student project that best uses historical newspapers digitized through Chronicling America. We also have bibliographies that students can use as starting points for projects.

I know that the Montana Council for History and Civics Education is bringing the director of NHD to speak at MEA in Missoula and will also be hosting a session on the benefits of adopting the NHD model into the classroom. (Check them out on Facebook and Pinterest).

High school teachers and librarians might also be interested in taking the graduate course that NHD is offering beginning in September 2014. The class is for teachers and librarians "who want to implement a project-based curriculum into their secondary classrooms using the framework of the NHD program. The course will provide practical advice as well as pedagogical strategies. Teachers will earn three graduate credits from the University of San Diego while creating classroom-ready materials customized to the needs of their students."
  • Course Dates:  September 15, 2014 to December 15, 2014
  • Cost:  $600 (includes graduate credits and all materials)
  • Click here for complete details or register.
  • Registration is limited and will close on Friday, August 15, 2014. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Break and Survey

This blog is going on hiatus for summer break. I'll see you here in August but if your travels bring you to Helena this summer, please stop in and say "hello." And of course, don't hesitate to contact me if I can help you as you prepare for your classes next fall: mkohl@mt.gov.

P.S. There's still time to complete our annual survey and to share your favorite lesson. At this moment, we have received 51 responses--so you still have a chance to WIN (prizes are going to the fifth, fifteenth, thirty-first and FIFTY-FIFTH person to take the survey).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two More Professional Development Opportunities: In Helena and Billings

Two more really interesting summer professional development opportunities have crossed my desk.

Visual Thinking Strategies

  • Date: June 19 and 20, 2014
  • Place: Holter Museum of Art (day 1) and Montana Historical Society (day 2) in Helena
  • Time: 10-4, both days
  • Cost: $75 (includes lunches, snacks, and all materials)
  • OPI Renewal Units: Yes
  • Contact to register and for more information: Sondra@holtermuseum.org
Holter Museum of Art Curator of Education and VTS Trainer Sondra Hines will offer instruction on implementing Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) into the classroom. Visual Thinking Strategies uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking and communications skills—listening and expressing oneself. During this 2-day Practicum participants will observe, analyze and practice facilitating VTS discussions with coaching. For students, VTS increases class participation and engagement while deepening language ability, writing skills and visual literacy using art as the subject for discussion. Teachers using VTS provide opportunity for students to develop and practice critical thinking skills such as observation, drawing conclusions, making inferences, arguing in evidence, elaboration, and flexible thinking through the revision of ideas. Process for assessing student growth will be presented. There will be practical work in art galleries, teaching with critique and thinking through image choices. Time will also be devoted to how VTS aligns with and supports Common Core. Throughout, ample time will be provided for discussion and reflection.
Visual Thinking Strategies requires 1 hour/month of class time and gives students time to practice discussion skills, listening skills, divergent thinking, critical thinking, and making inferences based on evidence using art objects as the catalyst for dialog.  It is proven to increase writing and communication skills and can be used across the curriculum. This Practicum will also look at how VTS can be incorporated into a PCAP.

American Ideals

  • Date: July 14
  • Place: Lincoln Center in Billings
  • Time: 8:30-3:45 (coffee and socializing at 8:30--workshop begins at 9:00)
  • Cost: Free
  • OPI Renewal Units: 5
  • Contact to register and for more information: wendtb@billingsschools.org
West High School history and English teacher Bruce Wendt and Humanities Montana Director Ken Egan will offer a day-long workshop in Billings focusing on nineteenth century Montana literature and history "that has gives us a sense of who we are as a nation."

According to the workshop description, "The Civil War and the conceptual ideas that underlie American values played out on the Montana frontier in 1864.  Miners, Native Americans, town-builders, ranchers and other intrepid spirits wove together a new perception of what it meant to be American.  Diaries, letters, oral histories and other commentary from the time provide an opportunity for students to understand what drove their ancestors and what created Montana and the United States.  Common Core standards require students and teachers to read and analyze literature from multiple genres; this workshop will introduce teachers to concepts that will enhance their own knowledge and skills to spark discovery in their students."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Montana History Conference Scholarships: Thinking Ahead to September

The Montana Historical Society is putting together an amazing program for the 41st Annual Montana History Conference, to be held in Helena, September 18-20, 2014. (The educator’s workshop is shaping up well, too.) We hope you’ll consider attending—and that the scholarship opportunity detailed below will make things easier.

This is obviously a great opportunity for teachers, but it is also a good opportunity for your students. In past years, the Butte High School History Club has used this scholarship to send interested high school students (with a chaperone) to the conference. We’ve loved having those young people!

About the conference: Native Americans have called the land we now know as Montana home since time immemorial. But Montana itself first appeared on the map in 1864 with the creation of Montana Territory. The year 2014 is the territorial sesquicentennial, which provides inspiration for the 41st Annual Montana History Conference to be held in Helena, September 18-20, 2014.

About the scholarships: The scholarships will consist of full conference registration plus a $275 travel/expense reimbursement.  All teachers and students in Montana’s high schools, colleges, and universities are eligible to apply (residents of Helena and the immediate vicinity are eligible for the conference registration scholarship but not the travel reimbursement).

Recipients must attend the entire conference, including Thursday’s Educator’s Workshop. 
Preference will be given to
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s tribal colleges;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s on-reservation high schools;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s community colleges;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s small, rural, underserved communities.
Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. September 3, 2014.  Awards will be announced the following week.
Applying for a scholarship is quick and easy. Apply online.
For more information, contact:
Deb Mitchell, Montana Historical Society
PO Box 201201
Helena MT 59620-1201

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Learn How to Write and Edit Wikipedia Articles

Sign up for a one-day Wiki-Write workshop (Bozeman, July 19) to be guided by experts through the complexities of editing Wikipedia. You will learn how to correct errors and misinformation, how to add new information, and how to include photographs, maps and links to sources of information. Experts will explain how to use and evaluate free online resources.

According to the workshop leaders, this workshop is specifically designed with a local history focus in mind. "You will gain the ability to create and improve the Wikipedia articles on your town and its historic buildings, famous leaders, schools, businesses, notable events and any other topics in Montana local and state history that you consider important for the world to know." 
  • Prerequisite: All they expect is that you can handle your email.
  • Place: Montana State University, Main library on Bozeman campus
  • Date: Saturday July 19th
  • Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Credit: 6 OPI renewal units
  • The $10 registration fee will be waived for public libraries and teachers!
  • Register online at www.wikiwritelocal.org
  • Registrations accepted through June 30.
  • Questions? Contact Tammy Bennert at 406-850-9744 or tammy@kaleid.net.
I'm excited about this workshop because, as many of you know, I am a big fan of projects that allow students to make genuine contributions to scholarship by sharing their research and writing skills with an authentic audience. (See here, here, and here, for example.)

I think that producing and/or editing Wikipedia articles is a possible way for students to make a meaningful contribution. This article in Learning and Digital Media examined the way four university professors integrated editing Wikipedia into their classes. Can thoughtfully designed Wikipedia assignments work in high school classes as well? Attend the workshop and see what you think!

 P.S. There's still time to take the annual Montana History and Heritage Education survey, share a favorite lesson, and possibly win a prize. Response has been great. Forty-seven of you have already responded--so I'm adding a fourth and final prize for the fifty-fifth survey respondent.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Take a Survey and Maybe Win a Prize

As the school year winds to a close, I’d appreciate getting your feedback. I’d also like to gather information on what has worked for you in the classroom, so I can share it with the list next year.

Would you be willing to take a short online survey? If so, click here.

Need a little incentive? I’m offering prizes to the fifth, fifteenth, and thirty-first person to complete this survey.

P.S. Don't be confused. The survey refers to the listserv because the way the information on this blog is delivered to most people, but the Montana History and Heritage Education Listserv is the same as the Teaching Montana History Blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Another Summer Professional Development Opportunity

Among the many workshops offered this summer by the Golden Triangle Cooperative, this one caught my eye:

"In Our Own Words—Native American Story through Reading, Writing, and Media Literacies," led by Dottie Susag

This workshop will feature newly revised OPI Indian Literature Units to include relevant MCCS standards. These are texts by Native Americans writing from their storied cultural, geographical, historical, and literary contexts. The workshop will model MCCS aligned critical reading, writing, and media strategies with relevant informational texts, as well as several ready-to-go model lessons. Participants will receive complimentary units and a collection of Montana Indian poetry.

DATE: Monday-Tuesday, June 9-10, 2014

PLACE: Great Falls

TIME: 8:30 a.m.-Noon and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. daily

TARGET AUDIENCE: 6-12 educators

COST: $40.00 for GTCC member / $100.00 for non-members

CREDIT: 15 OPI renewal units OR 1 graduate credit through Montana State
University-Northern. MSU-N will charge $150.00 for this credit which is
paid at the workshop.

For more information and to register, click here.