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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Free Half Day Workshop at Fort Missoula

Interested in place-based learning, student activism inspired by historical events, and/or practical approaches to teaching about Japanese Americans during World War II?

Join the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula and Hood River Middle School Teacher Sarah Segal for a free half day workshop, "From Roots to Results: Exploring Japanese American Incarceration and Student Activism.  Learn how Ms. Segal’s students embarked upon an exploration of local history which resulted in testifying in front of the Oregon State legislature and recording a video letter to President Obama in support of the important work done by former internee, Min Yasui.  Ms. Segal, a graduate of UM, will discuss ways in which local teachers can engage their students in issues of social activism and see results.

The workshop will be held at HMFM (3400 Captain Rawn Way, Missoula, on Saturday, February 11, from 9-12. It is free and OPI credit will be available.  To register, email kristjana@montana.com.

Monday, January 16, 2017

World War I Resources

With anniversaries come attention. Since 2017 markes the centennial of the U.S.'s entry into the war, I'll be writing several posts on World War I this year, to add to the great post my colleague Natasha Hollenbach wrote last month on studying WWI through digitized historic newspaper collections.

I thought I'd start by surveying some existing resources.

The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919, is a free curriculum aligned with U.S. Common Core and UNESCO Global Learning standards for secondary school classrooms worldwide. The curriculum helps students analyze the history of World War I through the lens of volunteer service, both before and after the period of American neutrality, and aims to continue the legacy of volunteerism established during World War I by encouraging students to engage in local, regional, and international service. Learn more about the project, download twenty-two free lesson plans, and visit the Teacher Toolkit for additional resources.


The National World War I Museum and Memorial has great resources, including an interactive timelineonline exhibits and a newsletter for teachers.

As many of you know, World War I was particularly contentious in Montana. German, Irish and Finnish immigrants all questioned the U.S. government's decision to ally with England. Labor organizers--particularly members of the radical Industrial Workers of the World--decried it as a "rich man's war but a poor man's fight." Other Montanans embraced the war with patriotic fervor.

In 1918, the Montana legislature passed the Sedition Act, which made it illegal to criticize the federal or state government, the military, the war, or any war programs. To whit: 
"Whenever the United States shall be engaged in war, any person or persons who shall utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, violent, scurrilous, contemptuous, slurring or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the constitution of the United States, or the soldiers or sailors of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the army or navy of the United States or shall utter, print, write or publish any language calculated to incite or inflame resistance to any duly constituted Federal or State authority in connection with the prosecution of the War shall be guilty of sedition."
Seventy-nine Montanans were convicted under the act. Was it a necessary wartime measure or an outrageous violation of free speech rights? (Governor Schweitzer, who in 2006 pardoned all those convicted under the law, thought the latter. Governor Stevens, in office when the law was passed, supported it.) 

The Sedition Project is a great website for you and your students to use to explore this topic--though certainly one with a point of view. It features information about all of the people convicted under the law, including photographs, occupational information, profiles, prison intake forms, etc. Note that the site does repeat some vulgar language so you may want to preview before sharing with students. The creator of that website, University of Montana professor Clem Works, was also involved in the production of the hour-long documentary, Jailed for Their Words: When Free Speech Died in Wartime America. I found a "for educational use only" copy on YouTube--but no guarantees how long it will stay up. You can also buy the DVD from MontanaPBS.

Other resources for studying World War I in Montana can be found on the Montana: Stories of the Land website for Chapter 16 and its accompanying Educator Resources page.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Nominate a Deserving K-12 Teacher for National History Teacher of the Year

The National History Teacher of the Year Award recognizes outstanding American history teachers across the country.  Each state will select a state winner who then will be placed in competition for the National History Teacher of the Year award. Nominate a teacher today!   ­
  • State winners receive a $1,000 prize, an archive of classroom resources, and recognition at a ceremony within their state.
  • National winner receives a $10,000 prize presented at an award ceremony in their honor in New York City.
You can nominate any K-12 Teacher for the 2017 HTOY award

Nominations may be made by clicking the link above or going to:


Important Calendar Dates:
  • Deadline for 2017 nominations: March 31, 2017
  • Deadline for 2017 nominees to submit supporting materials: April 30, 2017
The 2017 awards honor outstanding elementary school teachers. The 2018 awards will honor middle or high school teachers. Teachers may be nominated in either category throughout the year.

The Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History, New York, NY sponsors this competition.  The Montana Council for History and Civics Education (MCHCE) administers the Montana state competition for the Gilder-Lehrman Institute.  Visit the MCHCE at: mchce.net or on Facebook.

Note: This post has been edited to reflect the fact that the award is open to all K-12 teachers, not just elementary teachers as I originally posted. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

NEH Summer Programs for Teachers

It's never too early to think about summer! Check out these great NEH Summer Programs in the Humanities for School and College Educators, tuition-free opportunities for educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1200-$3,300 help cover expenses for these one- to four-week programs. And, I'll let you in on a secret--programs directors are generally looking for "geographic diversity" when they award spots, so your application from Montana will be very competitive. (Never done this before? You get points for being a "first-timer," too.)

Looking for relevance? Try one of these relating to American Indian history.

Teaching Native American Histories

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: July 16-28, 2017 (2 weeks)
Project Director(s): Alice Nash, Linda Coombs
Visiting Faculty: Jessie Little Doe Baird, Lisa Brooks, Peter d’Errico, Amy Lonetree, Harlan Pruden, Debbie Reese, Byron Stone
Location: Cape Cod, MA
For more information: msolomon@fivecolleges.edu (413) 542-4018 https://teachnativehistories.umass.edu/neh-programs/2017.

Native American and African-American Educational Experiences in Kansas, 1830-1960

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: June 18-24 (commuters only) or July 9-15
Project Director(s): Cassandra Mesick, Celka Straughn
Visiting Faculty: Gina Adams, Angela Bates, Brenda Child, Deborah Dandridge, Saralyn Reece Hardy, Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Chester Owens, David Trowbridge, Connor Warner, Kim Warren, Jancita Warrington
Location: Lawrence, KS
For more information: cmesick@ku.edu (785) 864-5253 http://SMA-NEH-Landmark.drupal.ku.edu

Following in Ancient Footsteps: The Hopewell in Ohio

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: July 9-14 or July 23-28
Project Director(s): Elizabeth Hedler, Bradley Lepper
Visiting Faculty: Terry Barnhart, Robert Riordan, Stephen Warren, Glenna J. Wallace, Joe Watkins, Christine Ballengee Morris, Marti Chaatsmith, Linda Pansing, Mary Borgia
Location: Columbus, OH
For more information: ehedler@ohiohistory.org (614) 297-2538 http://hopewell.creativelearningfactory.org.

Grand Coulee Dam: The Intersection of Modernity and Indigenous Cultures

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: July 16-22 or July 23-29
Project Director(s): Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted, David A. Pietz
Visiting Faculty: Ben Columbi, Vincent Langendijk, Robert McCoy, Francene Watson
Location: Cheney, WA
For more information: dzeislervral@ewu.edu (520) 621-0632 http://sites.ewu.edu/grandcoulee

Looking for something completely different, to rejuvenate your spirit and love of learning? How about

The Immigrant Experience in California through Literature & Theatre

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: June 25 - July 9 (2 weeks)
Project Director(s): Matthew Spangler, David Kahn
Visiting Faculty: Ping Chong, Glen Gendzel, Khaled Hosseini, Persis Karim, Maxine Hong Kingston, Andrew Lam, Erika Lee, Kinan Valdez, Luis Valdez, Judy Yung, Sara Zatz
Location: San Jose, CA
For more information: matthew.spangler@sjsu.edu (408) 924-1373 http://immigrationtheatreinstitute.org/
Visiting faculty includes Maxine Hong Kingston!
Or

Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations

Deadline: March 1, 2017
Dates: July 9-14 or July 16-21, 2017
Project Director(s): Robert Stephens, Mary Ellen Junda
Visiting Faculty: Cornelia Bailey, Emory Shaw Campbell, Erskine Clarke, Leroy Campbell, Ron Daise, Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters, Georgia Sea Island Singers, Victoria Smalls, Mary Moran, Wilson Moran, Peter Wood, Karen Wortham
Location: Savannah, GA
For more information: robert.stephens@uconn.edu (860) 486-5760 http://gullahvoices.uconn.edu
And so many more....
The deadline for applying for any of the NEH Summer Programs is March 1--but you don't want to wait until the last minute, since you'll need time to craft your application essay.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Join Our January 9 Teaching Montana History Online PLC

As you may know, we've been experimenting with mixed success with leading an online PLC for Montana history teachers the second Monday of every month from 4:00-4:30. Month 1, September, we had a good crowd, but I wasted our time writing instead of talking. Month 2 and 3 had many fewer participants, but I think very good presentations on reading strategies and on tools for honing historical thinking skills. (You can still get the information and earn a renewal credit by listening to the recorded sessions recordings and participating in the course discussion forums. To do so, you'll need to register at the Teacher Learning Hub--but that is quick, painless and free.) 

We took December off but we are reconvening at 4:00 on January 9. The topic: "Beyond the Textbook: Activities and Lessons that Bring Montana History Alive." I would REALLY like this month's PLC to be an opportunity for teachers to talk with other classroom teachers about what has worked. Can you help me make that happen? 

  • Before the January 9 GoTo Meeting, please spend 5 minutes sharing information about one of your most successful Montana history lessons on our google doc. We'd also love it if you uploaded lesson plan/outline/notes or resources in the shared Google folder.
  • Then, join us to talk about your experience on January 9 at 4:00.
To participate in the discussion, you'll need to register for the class if you haven't already.
To do that, you'll need to start by creating an account at the Learning Hub. 

1.      Fill out the New Account form with your details.
2.      An email will be immediately sent to your email address.
3.      Read your email, and click on the web link it contains.
4.      Your account will be confirmed and you will be logged in.
5.      Now, select the course you want to participate in.
6.      If you are prompted for an "enrollment key" - use the one that your teacher has given you. This will "enroll" you in the course.
7.      You can now access the full course. From now on you will only need to enter your personal username and password (in the form on this page) to log in and access any course you have enrolled in.

After you have created your account, enroll in the Teaching Montana History Online PLC by going directly to the course.

I'm hoping for a lively discussion on January 9. Please help make this happen.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Transcribing Documents for the National Archives

Anyone here teach keyboarding? Or have a good relationship with the business teacher?

The National Archives is working with volunteers to transcribe the millions of digitized records in its catalog to improve search results and increase accessibility. There missions What a great way to engage with historical documents (and practice reading cursive!). The Archives has created various transcription missions, including Native American Records, Exploring Space, African American history, and documents from the House on Un-American Activities. I poked around and saw in need of transcription "Letter from Captain John S. Poland to the Assistant Adjutant General of the Department of Dakota in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Which Gives an Account from Seven Sioux Indians of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer's Defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn on June 25, 1876" and "U.S. v. Sale of Negro Man, Woman, and Two Children." Below is the National Archives call to action.


Improve Your Transcription Skills

Help us transcribe the millions of digitized pages of records in the National Archives Catalog. Transcription helps us improve search results and increase accessibility to our historical records.

New to transcribing? Our newly designed Transcription Tips webpage shows you how to get started with transcription, and includes some helpful examples of documents so you can see transcription in action.



Teachers can download and print a PDF version for use in their classrooms.
By transcribing, you are helping unlock history and discover hidden details of records and the stories they contain.
Check out our transcription missions! We’ve curated groups of records on particular subjects to help you get started transcribing. Take a look at our missions page to start transcribing documents related to exploring space, African American history, and more! If this is your first time participating - read the Transcription Tips and begin with the getting started instructions.
Happy transcribing!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

These are a few of my favorite things

The last couple of weeks I've been publishing thematic lists of old blog posts that I thought might still be interesting to folks (one focused on elementary classrooms, and a second on teaching strategies.) Today I thought I'd turn from the blog to our Educator Resources page to feature a few of my favorite older, and sometimes overlooked, lessons and resources.


Montana Women at Work: Clothesline Timeline Lesson Plan (Designed for grades 4-12) This primary-source based lesson asks students to analyze historic photographs to draw conclusions about women and work from the 1870s through the 2010s. Students will discover that Montana women have always worked, but that discrimination, cultural expectations, and changing technology have influenced the types of work women undertook.

Resources for Montana History Research Projects: This information is not gathered neatly in one place--but we've created a number of lists of suggested topics--with links to more information--that would be useful for students conducting research projects
  • First is our list of Montana History Topics for National History Day. We revise this list each year to match the theme--but your students don't have to be working on NHD projects for this list to be useful. For each topic we include a list of a few primary and secondary sources (including internet sources) to get students started on their research. 
  • Resilience: Stories of Montana Indian Women is a booklet that the Montana Office of Public Instruction published as a PDF for download. It features profiles of Indian women, originally created for the Montana Historical Society's Women's History Matters Project. The short online essays on Women's History Matters provide another rich starting point--especially since each comes with a bibliography.

Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan Study Guide (Designed for students 6-10). This study guide includes lesson plans, vocabulary, chapter summaries and questions, alignment to the Common Core, and other information to facilitate classroom use of Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan, as told to Margaret Ronan, edited by Ellen Baumler. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, this highly readable 222-page memoir details Mary Sheehan Ronan’s journey across the Great Plains, her childhood on the Colorado and Montana mining frontiers, her ascent to young womanhood in Southern California, her return to Montana as a young bride, and her life on the Flathead Indian Reservation as the wife of an Indian agent. Book One, which provides a child’s-eye view of the mining frontier, is available to download as a PDF (Lexile Level 1180L). Classroom sets of Girl from the Gulches can be purchased from the Montana Historical Society Museum Store by calling toll free 1-800-243-9900. 

Reader's Theater: Letters Home from Montanans at War (Designed for 7th-12th). This three-to-five period unit asks students to work in groups to read and interpret letters written by soldiers at war, from the Civil War to the Operation Iraqi Freedom. After engaging in close reading and conducting research to interpret the letters, they will perform the letters as reader’s theater.


"Native American Trade Routes and the Barter Economy" includes two learning activities intended designed to complement Chapter 2 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Designed for use in grades seven through nine, Activity One, "Resources and Routes," focuses primarily on mapping pre-contact trade routes, with a special emphasis on Montana. Activity Two, "Trading Times," asks students to simulate the process through which various products from different regional tribes were bartered and disseminated to gain a better understanding of pre-contact barter economy and how it compares with the modern-day cash economy.
Hands-on History Footlockers: I've recently touted our new footlockers (like the Original Governor's Mansion or the redesigned Coming to Montana) but some of the older titles are great too. Two particular favorites of mine are Stones and Boneswhich explores the earliest evidence of Montana's human history; and  The Home Fires: Montana and World War II, which describes aspects of everyday life in Montana during the 1941-1945 war years. You can see the complete list of footlockers and find information on how to order them here