A Note on Links: When reading back posts, please be aware that links have a short half-life. You can find working links to all of the MHS resources on our Educator Resources Page.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Monday, January 7, 2019
"Jigsawing" the Textbook to Make Room for Primary Source Investigations (Plus Links to Fur Trade Resources)
The first idea comes from Great Falls teacher Jana Mora, who created her Montana Fur Trade: Four Square Primary Source Lesson Plan as part of a three-year Teaching American History professional development program coordinated by the Montana Council for History and Civics Education. Jana designed her lesson for grades 9-12, but I think it is adaptable to middle school classes as well.
Jana asked students to look at a variety of sources--journals, pictures, stories, and biographies to explore four specific areas in depth before creating a four square display with the information they uncovered.
One thing I particularly love about her lesson is her use of "jigsawing." Jana assigns groups of students different parts of Chapter 5, "Beaver, Bison, and Black Robes: Montana's Fur Trade, 1800-1860." Each group becomes an expert on their section. Then she reorganizes the groups so that an expert for each section is in each group and can teach the other group members. That way, everyone gets all the information from chapter 5 without having to read the entire chapter. This make sure that everyone has basic background while freeing up time to dive into primary sources.
Jana required each student to examine two journals and two pictures. Under the journals, the students create "dialectical journals, creating a dialogue by selecting phrases they find important or interesting and writing a reaction for each phrase. For each image students complete an image analysis worksheet she created called "Stepping into a Picture."
Each day of the project, Jana ends the class with a brief discussion, during which she asks, "What did you find out today that you didn't know or that challenges something you thought you knew?" What a great question! She also has students tie what they learned that day back to essential questions she posed at the beginning of the lesson plan. (Her questions included "How did beaver change the history of Montana?" "In what ways were the Indian people involved in the fur trade?" "What induced the shift in the marked from beaver to bison?" and "Who were the 'Black Robes' and what influence did they have on Indian living in Montana during this time?")
After all students have completed their four squares (which show the journals and pictures and their analyses), students complete peer evaluations, rotating and responding to each others' work. I love this part, too, because it engages students in even more sources and asks them to note connections and ask questions. Finally, students write a paragraph summarizing the overall significance of the fur trade and responding to the essential questions that kicked off the investigation.
Jana's lesson plan includes detailed instructions, a rubric, and list of likely primary sources, so it's more or less plug-and-play for Chapter 5 of Montana: Stories of the Land (though, of course, you'll want to check the links). But it is also a great model for other topics, because it balances
- the need to provide background information (students can't do a good job learning about a topic or analyzing primary sources without it) with
- allowing students to conduct their own investigations and
- having students spend time experiencing primary sources, which is often what brings history alive.
Monday, December 31, 2018
The Boarding School Era, January 7 - March 10, 2019. 30 OPI renewal units or 2 graduate credits. Registration fee: $175 (graduate credits an additional $155.)
Read and explore books focusing on the Boarding School Era including My Name is Seepeetza, Shi-Shi-Etko, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, and Sweetgrass Basket. This course is offered online through a Moodle platform. It is divided into weekly “modules.” It is designed for kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers.
Learn more and register here.
The History of the Flathead Reservation, January 14 - March 3, 2019. 30 OPI renewal units or 2 graduate credits. Registration fee: $175 (graduate credits an additional $155.)
This online Moodle course explores the history of the Flathead Reservation by studying the following texts:
- In the Name of the Salish & Kootenai Nation: The 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the Origin of the Flathead Indian Reservation
- A Brief History of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille Tribes
- Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
- Coming Back Slow: The Importance of Preserving Salish Indian Culture and Language
Learn more and register here.
P.S. Best wishes for a joyful 2019.
Monday, December 24, 2018
The nomination process for the 8th Advocacy Award for Excellence in Indian Education for All is open from now until January 24, 2019. Please take the time to nominate someone whom you know that is an outstanding Indian Education for All Advocate. And while you are at it, register to attend the 13th Annual Indian Education for All Conference, March 2-3, 2019, Carroll College, Helena, MT.
Gilder Lehrman is looking for nominations for state and national History Teacher of the Year. Any full-time educator of grades K–12 who teaches American history (including state and local history) is eligible for consideration. American history may be taught as an individual subject or as part of other subjects, such as social studies, reading, or language arts. Nominees must have at least three years of classroom teaching experience and show
- A demonstrated commitment to teaching American history (including state and local history)
- Evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom
- Effective use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary sources to engage students with American history.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I went to look at some of the videos the students have created in the past (impressive!) and the first one I saw wasNo Trespassing: Seeking Justice for Native Women, which begins with an interview with Montanan and Northern Cheyenne tribal member Gail Small.
On some level, the project reminds me of National History Day in that it asks students to create a product (in this case a documentary) around a theme. If you are interested in this type of project-based competition but teach history rather than civics, you might want to think about National History Day. You can learn more about this year's NHD theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History," at the National History Day website. You can learn more about next spring's regional and statewide competitions at the Montana NHD site. (The state competition will be held in Bozeman on March 30, 2019. And there are projected to be FOUR regionals this coming year.) Finally, you can learn about the cash prizes offered by the Montana Historical Society for the best Montana topic and the best use of digitized newspapers at the our NHD page.
This year's theme is made for Montana history. For example:
- Triumph: The construction of the Fort Peck Dam, the invention of the Holter heart monitor, the creation of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
- Tragedy: the Montana Sedition Act, the Hard Winter of 1886-87, the Speculator Mine Disaster, Indian boarding schools, the Marias Massacre.
- Triumph and Tragedy: Homesteading boom and bust, construction of the transcontinental railroads, the creation of Glacier National Park, Butte: the Richest Hill on Earth, Cobell v Salazar (the mismanagement of Indian Trust Funds and Blackfeet banker Elouise Cobell's campaign to set things right).
Questions? Contact Montana's NHD coordinator and Plentywood social studies teacher Michael Herdina, who is both the brains and the brawn behind NHD's resurgence in Montana.
P.S. To write this post, I spent a little time exploring the Montana National History Day website, which is well worth to time. It is there I found a link to this Framework, created by the National History Day Minnesota. Some of it is specific to Minnesota but a lot of it will be useful to you--especially if this is your first time incorporating NHD into your curriculum. It includes graphic organizers, lesson plans, readings, and more.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Never explored them? Stop reading RIGHT NOW (I promise, we'll be here for you to come back to), click on this map, and choose a newspaper close to where you live. Then go to an early paper published on your birthday (or during your birthday week).
Are you back? Good! Find anything interesting? Did you get sucked into exploring? I thought so!
- The Thompson Falls Public Library has finished their huge push to make the Sander County Ledger/Sanders County Independent Ledger available. With this addition of the Sanders County Independent-Ledger (1925-1929) the whole surviving run from 1917 to 1963 is now available. Unfortunately a gap since exists from 1921 to 1924 but as far as we know no copies of these issues have survived. This particular date range is a great addition, since it was a new find which had never been microfilmed.
- Hellgate High School has added the Hellgate Lance (1964-1982 and 2013-2017) to their previous run of 1983-2008.
- The Lewistown Public Library has made possible the addition of the Fergus County Argus (1920-1929), which adds to their contribution of Lewistown papers.
- Celebrate the addition of a new city with Grass Range Review (1917-1923), made possible by the Grass Range Community Foundation.
- The River Press has made it possible to extend the date range for The River Press another 19 years, so 1889-1902 and 1915-1976 is now available.
- The University of Montana Western and the Dillon Public Library has added three years of the The Dillon Tribune (2013-2015). Dillon now has papers available from 1883 to 2015!