Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Primary source based lesson on Montana's landless Indians

It's been seven years in the making, but good things are worth the wait. I'm pleased to announce that  "Montana's Landless Indians and the Assimilation Era of Federal Indian Policy: A Case of Contradiction" is now ready for classroom use. This  week-long primary-source based unit designed introduces students to the history of the landless Métis, Cree, and Chippewa Indians in Montana between 1889 and 1916, while giving them an opportunity to do their own guided analysis of historical and primary source materials.

The curriculum asks students to wrestle with issues of perspective, power, ideology, and prejudice and to closely examine the role of Montana newspapers played in shaping public opinion toward the tribes’ attempts to maintain economic independence and gain a land base and political recognition.

Intrigued? Here's some other notes on this curriculum:

  1. It is primary-source rich. The unit includes over fifty photographs, newspaper articles, oral history excerpts, and letters. Even if you don't have time to teach the entire unit (and you may not, see point 6), I'd encourage you to download it to look through the primary sources to see if you can integrate just a piece or two into your curriculum. 
  2. It is aligned to the ELA Common Core and Essential Understandings. Worksheets demand students read closely, interpret words and phrases and especially tone, assess point of view, integrate content presented in diverse formats, delineate and evaluate claims, and compare how different texts address the same topic.
  3. It deals with difficult subject matter. Many of the primary sources are shockingly, eye-openingly racist; even as reading them can be uncomfortable, studying these unvarnished accounts can give students a deeper understanding about our shared past. 
  4. We say the unit is appropriate for grades 7-12 but because of the difficulty of the subject matter, the quantity of material, and the complexity of some of the texts, it might be more appropriately used in high school and college classes than in middle school. (I'd love to check this perception--so if you teach this--at any grade level--let me know how it goes.)
  5. It tells a story most of us don't know. This is worth reading, whether you teach it or not, to gain new knowledge of an under-told history. 
  6. It is long--141 pages long. The unit is designed to "jigsaw"--so different groups of students are responsible for mastering and presenting different aspects of the lesson. Nevertheless, it will take six days (or possibly a week with homework) to complete the unit. 
I'm very excited about this unit--and very curious about how it plays in the classroom. Whether you teach the unit as it is designed, just copy a few of the primary sources to teach, or just read it for background, I'd LOVE to hear from you. Email me your thoughts at mkohl@mt.gov.

Monday, September 29, 2014

More Child's Eye Views: Girl from the Gulches and Boyhood Recollections

A few weeks back, I talked about our new Mining Childhood Lesson Plans, which offer a child's-eye view of the copper mining town of Butte.

Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan is another resource that presents a child's perspective, in this case that of a girl growing up in the placer mining camps of Virginia City and Helena. The Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan Study Guide (Designed for students 6-10) 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. Book One, which provides a child’s-eye view of the mining frontier, is available to download at no charge as a PDF. 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.

A shorter child's eye view, this time of the homestead frontier, is this excerpt from "Boyhood Recollections: A Narrative of Homestead Days in North Eastern Montana," by Otto Jorgensen.

On another note entirely, Anna Baldwin (2014 Montana Teacher of the Year) is offering a FREE online course: "HeartLines: Engaging Students with Tribal Materials and Common Core Skills".

The class focuses on integrating rich, tribally specific materials in ways that support the Montana Common Core Standards and your students’ engagement. Students can earn 30 OPI renewal units or 2 graduate credits (graduate credits cost $135).

The 10-week course begins Oct. 6. Registration deadline is Oct. 3. Find more information--including a link to register--here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Favorite High School Lessons

Over the last few weeks I have shared elementary and middle school teachers' answers to the following prompt: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson or project or resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.” As promised, here are the answers we received from high school teachers to the same question.

Gary Carmichael in Whitefish created a "lesson based around campaign finance and 'Dark Money'. As the campaign season evolved the lesson entitled 'I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale' kept changing as things were added and removed to fit what was happening. I used this lesson two years ago and will modify it and use it this fall during the elections.

Bruce Wendt of Billings wrote: "A quick hour long exercise I do is to first discuss how street names reflect communities and how we often use streets to honor folks from the past.  I then have the students list the street names around West High (include Broadwater, Alderson, King, Custer, Howard, Miles, Lewis, Clark and so on).  A rather interesting list is it not?  I then ask the students to list street names that reflect Native Americans from the past.  We can list tomahawk, Navaho, Tipi, etc.  We do have Sacajawea Park, Indian Cliffs, Two Moon Park (the latter is rarely mentioned).  The point of course is how we remember the past and how we drive (literally) on it every day."

Julia McCarthy-McLaverty of Missoula wrote: "I love the lesson(s) on the railroads in Montana & will continually use them.  Additionally, I use various different lessons from the Richest Hills NEH Summer Workshops focusing on mining." By the way: We're going to be offering the weeklong NEH-funded Richest Hills workshop again this summer. Stay tuned for details. Re railroads: I hope Julia is referring to our PowerPoint lesson "Railroads Transform Montana," because it is one of my favorites. 

Lorrie Davis Tatsey of Browning found last year's Indian Education For All posts "most useful, and adaptable." She also appreciated the information on teaching Montana women's history and Historical Community Research 

Dottie Susag, who travels to classroom through Humanities Montana's Speaker in the Schools program, wrote: "I just finished teaching a 50 minute lesson using clips from PLAYING FOR THE WORLD, with readings from FULL COURT QUEST.  We looked at the Fort Shaw Indian Girls Basketball Team, responded to the question of how people survive cultural and personal loss and survival." (By the way: Speakers in the Schools is a FREE way to bring in guest speakers. You should check it out!)

Toni Henneman from Valier wrote: "I found a list of Native American legends on firstpeople.us (a great resource!) and had each student choose a tribe and a different legend. They then read through, summaraized it, and created "comic books" for their legend.  I found they really got into this since most of the legends deal with very visual elements and good action which lends themselves to good comics or 'graphic novels'."

Other teachers contributed their thoughts anonymously:

"I loved the website that gave descriptions of New Deal projects by state so students could look at local New Deal work."  

"Chapter 17, of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook is a very good chapter. The kids love the history of the car in Montana."

Have a favorite lesson (either one you created or one you didn't but love) that you didn't get around to sharing? It's never too late. Email me at mkohl@mt.gov and I'll spread the word.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Women's History Matters Scavenger Hunt. Cool Resources Plus a Prize--Who Could Ask for More?

Have you--and your students--checked out our Women's History Matters project yet?

Created as part of a commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of women’s suffrage in Montana, Women’s History Matters is designed to promote an increased appreciation and understanding of the role of women in Montana’s past. The website includes bibliographies of manuscript collections, oral histories, government documents, pamphlets, magazine articles, videos and dvds, and published material; over 130 articles published in Montana The Magazine of Western History to download and read; information on oral historiesincluding what’s been collected and how to conduct your own; educator resources, including lesson plans; suggestions for ways communities, individuals, and organizations can celebrate the 2014 centennial; and more.

At its core, though Women's History Matters is a blog--we post two, well-written, 600-900 word articles every Tuesday and Thursday about some aspect of Montana women's experience: from women bootleggers to the Women's Christian Temperance Union; from the Women of the KKK to the members of the Montana Federation of Negro Women's Clubs; from Kwilqs (a Pend d'Oreille woman who led her fellow warriors against the Blackfeet and Crow) to Blackfeet banker Elouise Cobell, who took on the federal government on behalf of Indians everywhere.

Need some encouragement to explore the blog? Join the Women's History Matters scavenger hunt (and invite your students to join as well).  

Find the answers to the following 5 questions on the Women’s History Matters blog. Then send your answers to us in a private message via the Montana Women's History Matters Facebook page  (and while you are at it, like our page!) Don't want to use Facebook? Email your answers (and snail mail address) to me at mkohl@mt.gov

We'll pick a winner at random (from those who answer correctly) to receive an autographed copy of I DO: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF MONTANA WEDDINGS. Ready?

1. Norwegian women joined the Daughters of Norway, but who joined the Daughters of Penelope?
2. Why didn't Lucille Otter attend college?
3. What was Octavia Bridgewater's military rank?
4. What was the name of Caroline Lockhart's first book?
5. In 1956, Anna Boe Dahl became president of what organization?

Good luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

IEFA Videos for American Indian Heritage Appreciation Day/Week/Month

A teacher contacted me to ask if I knew of "any videos about 10 minutes in length that would be appropriate for a 6-12th grade audience" that they could show at an assembly for American Indian Heritage Appreciation Day. I didn't, so I asked Mike Jetty over at the Indian Education division of OPI. He recommended this video from Montana Tourism: Sacred Lands From Peaks To Plains: Introducing the First Nations of Montana to the World on the Visit Montana Indians Nations page. According to Mike, it "introduces the MT Tribal Nations and it is only about 9 minutes long.  I’ve used it with both students and teachers and it always gets 2 big thumbs up.  They have also produced several brief videos about each reservation, just click on the individual reservation links on the right of the page."

He also said that OPI has "a new 10-minute IEFA music video that features Supaman – a young Crow man who fancy dances and raps.  This video also gets great feedback."  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Favorite Middle School Lessons

Last week I shared elementary teachers' answers to the following prompt: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson or project or resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.” As promised, here are the answers we received from middle school teachers to the same question.

Chronicling America
Librarian Pam Roberts in Huntley is enamored with the digitized newspapers on Chronicling America, and for good reason "We used them for class visits/lessons in Home Ec - Advertisements on Baby/Child Care items; English - Opinions and Facts; History of the West - Upper Grade Social Studies - the Trial of Tom Horn; Social Studies - American History - scavenger hunt."

Amy Williams, who teaches Special Education at Polson Middle School, wrote: "I introduced beading (making beadwork- loom, peyote stitch, eventually straight stich) to my students this year (Native and non-Native..tis IEFA afterall!!). I will absolutely carry this through next year to focus on the art of relaxation (social) as well as planning a design (math) and follow through from start to finish (dedication, goal setting, patience, pride- life long skill).  I will add more lessons relating to different traditional and contemporary designs, as well as designs important to the artist, or to the person the gift is intended for.  We discussed the importance of respect, integrity and creative expression as well as making a design your own, not copying exactly from someone else."

Massacre on the Marias - Document based analysis from the MHS.
Elizabeth Campbell from North Star (Rudyard), used MHS's lesson plan on the Marias Massacre. "Students interpret the events based on differing accounts."

Flathead Allotment Lesson
Jennifer Graham, from Philipsburg, wrote: "A four square activity with maps from the Flathead Indian reservation showing land being taken away over time.  GREAT activity that I will do over and over and over again." You can find a good description of how to use a four-square on pages 4-5 of the "Inside Anna's Classroom study guide". You can receive a set of the amazing maps she refers to by emailing Pete Gillard.

Treaties of Fort Laramie Dissection and Debate
Sally Rohletter, from Fair-Mont Egan School, wrote: "Students were each given an individual article from at least one of the two Fort Laramie treaties to summarize for the rest of the class, then they worked collaboratively in small groups to analyze the differences between the treaties and decide why the changes may have occurred. They finished with a class discussion about better solutions that may have benefited everyone without bias."

Reports on Indian Topics and a Field Trip
Karen Degel, sixth grade teacher at Twin Bridges, wrote: "My students researched and wrote 600-800 words reports on one of the following subjects:  Jim Thorpe, The Battle of the Little Big Horn (from the Native American perspective), Battle of Lone Mountain, Pow Wows, Native American stories.  The reports were excellent, but even better, they had a much greater understanding when we took our field trip north to Havre and the Bear Paw National Battlefield."

Birchbark House
My 6th grade literature class had an awesome time reading and studying The Birchbark House this year. (See OPI's Model Teaching Unit for grades 5-8.)

Model Gold Rush Town
Trout Creek teacher Wendy DosSantos, has her 7th-8th grade Montana history students build a model gold rush town: "we create a model of a fictional gold mining town (roughly based on Bannack, etc.).  The students discuss what type of buildings would exist in their town.  After brainstorming, they choose the buildings they will model with Popsicle sticks.  In conjunction, we write  western, gold mining stories that take place in the town they have created. The model from last year is still on display in the library this year.  All the kids throughout the school have enjoyed seeing the model."

Cowboy Poetry
Whitehall Middle School teacher Kim Konen has her students writing cowboy poetry: "For the stockmen, livestock and open range unit I had the students write cowboy poetry.  The kids had a blast writing these since most of my students are from ranching families!  I played some cowboy poetry from Baxter Black and some great cowboy songs from Michael Martin Murphy and Red Stegall and the Bunkhouse Gang!" (You can find a Cowboy Poetry lesson plan here.

Native American Biography
Wendy Maratita, who teaches at Harlem Junior/Senior High School, has her 8th grade students write a "book".  "They are told to pick a modern Native American to write their book on. I usually tell them from 1950 to the present.  This way they get an idea of what Native Americans are doing in a more modern era.  They are usually surprised to see athletes, singers, actors and various other artists, as well as politicians and activists. They are given what each part of the book is (frontispiece, end papers, title page, chapters, glossary, etc) and they write a book about their person."

Evelyn Cameron Unit
Cindy Hatten, from Frank Brattin Middle School in Colstrip, wrote: "I taught a lesson on Evelyn Cameron.  I used the video on her, besides reading 2 books on her.  I put in for 'One Class at a Time' and was awarded a $300.00 scholarship.  With this I was able to take the entire 7th grade class on a trip to the Prairie County Museum and the Evelyn Cameron Gallery in Terry MT." (The movie she is referring to is "Evelyn Cameron: Pictures from a Worthy Life." The Montana Historical Society also recently posted Evelyn Cameron's diaries from 1893 to 1928 (and transcripts!) online as part of the Montana Memory Project. The diaries chronicle her daily life: the books she read, the chores she completed, the social events she attended, and, along with Cameron's photographs, provide a great glimpse into daily life on the agricultural frontier.)

Montana: Stories of the Land Worksheets
John Joyce, from the LaSalle Blackfeet School, wrote: "I often used the primary source worksheets from the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. They were invaluable in helping students identify key points of information and interpreting the value of primary sources in drawing conclusions about different times, places, peoples, and events." (John may have been talking about the Learning from Historical Document units we created for almost every chapter of the textbook (See this one, from Chapter 7: Two Worlds Collide, for example. ) Or he may be referring to the skill-based worksheets we created--two per chapter--many of which ask students to analyze primary sources, for example, this one from Chapter 13: Homesteading.

Butte, America DVD
Jolene Onorati Manning, who teaches 8th grade U.S. history in Golden, Colorado, uses the DVD Butte, America to teach about the industrial revolution, immigration and unionization across America.  Jolene discovered the DVD when she joined us for a weeklong, NEH-funded educator workshop, "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West." You can see some of the lesson plans teachers who attended the workshop created here. We'll be offering the workshop again this summer--stay tuned for details.

Other teachers submitted some very intriguing ideas anonymously:

Google Maps
"Mapping history through the use of google map and google earth placemarks."

"I taught a lesson on the importance of pemmican to Montana Indian tribes and I had my students make their own as an in class project."

Didn't have time to do the survey but have a great idea to share--a lesson you love, regardless of who created it? Email me at mkohl@mt.gov and I'll include it in a future post.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Upcoming National History Day Webinar from the Library of Congress

Just a quick note to share the invitation to this free NHD Teacher Webinar—because it combines two of my interests: National History Day and Women’s Suffrage.

Date: September 16, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM EST

Did you miss the last webinar? Watch it online here.

For more on National History Day in Montana see this post about it, visit the Montana Historical Society’s NHD page or visit the Montana State NHD page. This year’s NHD contest will be in Bozeman on March 28, 2015. Interested in learning more? Cathy Gorn, NHD director, will be speaking Thursday morning at MEA-MFT conference, following which there will be an hour NHD institute: Thursday, October 16th, 9:00 - 11:50 AM. Both talks are sponsored by MCHCE. Can’t make the institute but are interested in participating, contact Montana’s NHD director, Gallatin Gateway grade 8 teacher Michael Herdina.    

For more on women’s suffrage in Montana (including resources) see the Suffrage tab on Women’s History Matters.