.








Monday, May 4, 2015

Crop It and Other Photo Analysis Tools

A teacher recently asked me for about tools for analyzing photos.

Among my favorites: Crop It

I learned about Crop It on Teachinghistory.org. This is a fabulous website that I recommend you explore at your leisure this summer. Per TeachingHistory.org, "Crop It is a four-step hands-on learning routine where teachers pose questions and students use paper cropping tools to deeply explore a visual primary source."

Teachers ask students to use the easily created Crop It tool (template provided) to slow down and "carefully explore their image by using the tools." Teachers "pose a question and ask students to look carefully and 'crop' to an answer. For example, ask students to:

Crop the image to the part that first caught your eye.
Think: Why did you notice this part?
Crop to show who or what this image is about.
Think: Why is this person or thing important?
Crop to a clue that shows where this takes place.
Think: What has happened at this place?" 

In "Tools for Teaching with Historic Photos" I discuss other techniques, including the ever popular Barat Thinking Triangle. Both the Library of Congress and the National Archives also have templates for analyzing photos.

p.s. Looking for a great lesson using historic photographs? Try our Women at Work Lesson Plan: Clothesline Timeline Lesson Plan (a high interest, one-two class period lesson for the end of the year).

Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Professional Development Opportunities

There are great opportunities to learn while earning OPI renewal units this spring and summer. First up:

Fort Benton, May 22-24, 2015. Mullan Road Conference

Celebrate the 155th Anniversary of the completion of the Mullan Military Wagon Road with the National Mullan Road Conference. The conference begins with a reception, tours and entertainment Friday evening at reconstructed Old Fort Benton. Saturday features talks about people and events on the Mullan Road and in the Region. A road tour along portions of the original Mullan Road is on tap Sunday, including stops at Fort Shaw Military Post, St. Peter’s Mission and along Bird Tail Rock. 16 OPI Renewal Units for participating in Saturday and Sunday program.
Find a full schedule here.
More information at Facebook.
Register here. Registration deadline is 5:00 p.m. Friday, May 15.

 Billings middle school and elementary librarians Ruth Ferris and Kathi Hoyt are offering three FREE workshops this summer.

Billings, June 10-11, "Indian Boarding Schools: The Legacy" (focus on sports).

In this two-day workshop participants will explore the history of Indian Boarding Schools, its impact upon the lives of those exposed to this method of assimilation, and how it continues to affect the culture of Native Americans today.
Using historical documents and other resources, participants will look into this complex issue through many "lenses"--in particular sports. According to John Bloom, sports at boarding schools were complex. Sports help individuals look at important issues that affected Native Americans in the 20th century. Sports are still a medium to not only examine popular culture, but also important issues like cultural memory, national identity, and historical context.
Participants in this two-day workshop will look at Indian Boarding Schools and the role sports played in the history and lives of Native Americans with its continuing impact in today's life. Participants will use primary sources and explore the rich collection of resources found in the Library of Congress and through the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program.
Register here

Missoula, June 22-23, "Introduction to teaching with primary sources"
Billings, June 25-26, "Introduction to teaching with primary sources"

These 2-day workshops, designed for K-12 Educators and Teacher Librarians, will introduce you to the vast collections of the Library of Congress's rich reservoir of over 19 million digital resources and explore how you can use them to engage students in the classroom. Workshops will include information on:
  • Navigating the Library of Congress website
  • Searching digitized materials and lessons
  • Analyzing primary sources and discussing lesson implementation strategies
  • Exploring copyright information
  • Designing lessons utilizing Library of Congress materials and meeting Common Core standards
  • Engaging and challenging students using primary sources
  • Addressing Common Core standards
Certificate of Attendance is awarded at conclusion of workshop.  While the workshop is free, meals, lodging, and travel are at the attendee's expense.
Register here.

Project Archaeology also has a great line up for the summer.

Project Archaeology: Investigating Nutrition

Date: May 2, 2015
Place: Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
Cost: $105 (scholarships available and early bird rate of $95 if you register by April 1) for 8 MT OPI renewal units. For more information or to register, click here.  

Project Archaeology: Investigating a Plains Tipi (EDCI 591-800)

Date: June 15-18, 2015
Place: Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
Cost: $540 for 2 graduate level credits
For more information or to register, click here 

Project Archaeology Educator Field School (EDCI 588-801)

Date: August 3-7, 2015
Place: Virginia City, MT
Cost: $565 for 2 graduate level credits and lodging included
For more information or to register after April 1, 2015 click here.

For questions about any of the Project Archaeology workshops, contact Crystal Alegria at calegria@montana.edu

P.S. Don't forget that tomorrow, May 1, is the deadline for applying for a scholarship to attend the Charlie Russell Symposium in Helena, June 18-20. The application is quick and easy. Find out more here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Exploring the History of Montana's One-Room Schools

I came across this article on one-room schools (on Facebook, of course)--recently published in the Bozeman Chronicle. Larry Cebula, a professor who teaches public history at Eastern Washington University, commented on my friend's post. He mentioned a project he assigned one of his students: to map all the schools in Spokane County in 1927. The densely populated map provides a graphic representation that "reminds of us of the pervasiveness of this vanished institution." I was immediately enamored.

Check out Larry's student's map and then tell me if you think a similar project could be completed by high school students. Your County Superintendent of Schools should have a list of all the one-room schools in your county--and likely additional information as well (for example, how many books were in the libraries, what the school terms were, how much the teacher was paid, etc.) We have some of those records in the Montana Historical Society Archives as well. 

Another great resource is Charlotte Caldwell's beautiful photographic history, Visions and Voices: Montana's One-Room Schoolhouses.  100% of the net profits from the sale of this book go directly to the Preserve Montana Fund for the stabilization and preservation of Montana’s Historic One-Room Schoolhouses.

And speaking of ... Montana Preservation Alliance is working to document and preserve remaining one and two-room schools (active and inactive). You can share information about schools that are still standing here

I ran this project by Corvallis teacher Phil Leonardi to ask him what he thought--and what other sources he'd recommend a teacher using if s/he decided to take this on. Here's what he wrote: "Wow! I really like this but it doesn’t need to even be ‘ancient history” considering all of the consolidation taking place in Montana.  I like the idea of County Supts as a starting point…." He also recommended checking with your local historical society. "They usually have the photos needed which you need to really generate interest and recognition. ... Here’s another resource…. Nostalgia of old yearbooks.  What I’ve found is that there always seems to be a class in the last 70 years that will dedicate a section of their yearbook to “yester year” and school history…. generally around 1950-1960 since they are now recalling the educational experience of their parents from the 1920’s and 1930’s from the generation before consolidation or many of Montana’s rural schools." County history books almost always have sections on school histories too. (You can find these in your community--and many have been digitized by the Montana Memory Project.) Finally, make sure to check the National Register of Historic Places: many school buildings are listed.   

If anyone ends of trying this, let me know (mkohl@mt.gov) and I'll see what I can do to help! It would take time and work, but what a gift of scholarship a classroom project on one-room schoolhouses would be!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scholarship Deadline for Charlie Russell Symposium is May 1

It's not too late to register for "Montana's Charlie Russell: 21st Century Perspectives on the Cowboy Artist," a three-day symposium which will be held in Helena, June 18-20, 2015.

Nor is it too late to apply for a scholarship to help cover your expenses:

  • Tickets for the receptions and meals ($95 value)
  • $200 travel scholarship (for those outside of Helena).
Scholarship application deadline is May 1.

The Symposium is going to be fabulous. Here are the highlights:

Thursday, June 18, Educator Workshop, 10-4, featuring Visual Thinking Strategies, a hands-on art lesson, and ELA lessons exploring Russell's work. All attendees will receive a copy of the new Teaching Montana's Charlie Russell Packet, with 15 glossy prints and a CD with PowerPoints and lesson plans.

Friday includes talks by Joan Carpenter Troccoli (formerly of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art of the Denver Art Museum), George Catlin and the Native American West of Charles M. Russell

Jodie Utter ((Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX) ), The Unconventional Genius of Charles M. Russell: His Watercolor Materials and Techniques   

B. Byron Price (C. M. Russell Center, University of Oklahoma) On the Frontier of Fantasy: Charles M. Russell and Hollywood

Saturday includes a roundtable discussion on Russell’s continuing significance, a performance by Jack Gladstone, and a sneak preview of a new PBS film on Russell. 

It is absolutely worth applying for a meals scholarship because Friday lunch includes a performance by Mary Jane Bradbury as Nancy Russell (I’ve heard she’s great!) and the banquet speaker will be Brian Dippie, one of the smartest, most interesting western art historians I know.

The Thursday workshop (including lunch) is free. The remainder of the conference is also free (except for meals).

Those attending just the Thursday workshop can earn 5 OPI Renewal Units. Attend the entire conference to earn up to 18 OPI Renewal Units.

Find the full schedule and register here. Attendees must register as space is limited.

Apply for a travel scholarship or a meals scholarship here





Monday, April 20, 2015

Field trip on the cheap: Explore your neighborhood

Springtime is field trip time! This year, consider exploring the historic areas of your own community.


Historical walking tours of varying quality are available for the following communities: 

For our Women's History Matters project last year, Ellen Baumler created women's history themed walking tours for Helena, Butte's Red Light district, and Virginia City. Dick Gibson placed a Butte women's history tour on HistoryPin--as well as several other Butte virtual tours. We also digitized an older tour created for Bozeman's women's history sites and one for women's history sites on the University of Montana campus

Don't see your town on the list? Consider working with your students to make their own tour, using National Register information (you can find out what properties have been listed in the register here), Digital Sanborn maps (contact mkohl@mt.gov for the username and password), historic photographs, community history books (some of which have been digitized here), National Register sign texts, and oral histories. "Investigating a Historic Building" provides a good starting point for this type of assignment as does this Guide to Researching Your Historic Property.

Want to take it one step further? Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers suggests resources you can use to have students record oral histories about places, and then link those places to a map in "Recording & Mapping Local History - Project Idea."

If you have access to historical photos of your town (and especially if you have a local historian who will help you pull this together) consider creating a "Then and Now" tour--using photocopies of historical photos for the "Then" and taking students to the spots shown in those photographs for the "Now." It is a great way to start a conversation about what has changed and what has remained the same. Ellen Baumler created a tour like this for Helena, which she calls "Camp to Capitol." It's a great model for anyone wanting to create something similar for their own communities. Anyone traveling to Helena can download this booklet--and, if she's available Ellen's happy to give group Camp to Capitol tours (contact ebaumler@mt.gov to check her availability.) 

If you do have students explore local sites, consider deputizing them as Community Historical Tour Guides. For many years, some Helena third grade teachers took their students on Camp to Capitol tours, and then required students to take an adult on a tour of three historic spots. The adult completed a tour guide evaluation form, which the students returned to school in order to become "Official Historic Tour Guides." Sometimes the mayor would hand out badges--other years the principal oversaw a simple ceremony--but either way, the kids loved it and took real pride in their new status as purveyors of local history.

You can find more resources for studying your community history and built environment on the Educator Page for Chapter 14 of Montana: Stories of the Land: "Towns Have Lives Too."

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tarr's Toolbox and History Tech: Two Great Blogs on Strategies and Tools to Improve History Education

I've discovered three new exciting blogs/websites recently.

The first is Tarr's Toolbox. Created by a British history teacher, Tarr's Toolbox promises "quick and easy ways to spice up your lessons.

The entries range from creating subject themed Spotify playlists to "Three creative ways to use jigsaw groups." He provides lots of templates--like this Source Evaluation Overlay Template, this Causation Diagram Template, and even a template for creating a Pacman style quiz. I was particularly taken with the idea of having students design a new page for their textbook emphasizing a topic that was not sufficiently covered and his post "Ditch Debates, Adopt Arbitration," (No surprise there: those of you who are longtime readers know I'm not a big fan of classroom debates.)

The second is History Tech, which is so much more than its title suggests. Yes he sometimes suggests tech to improve history education (for example, this post on tips for using Google), but he also suggests low tech exercises (for example, having students organize hexagons to emphasize how ideas, events, people are related), offers links to downloadable tools to encourage historical thinking in elementary classrooms, and talks philosophically about the goals of the history classroom.

History Tech is where I first learned about Tarr's Toolbox--and also where I learned about the Teaching with Primary Sources Journal, "an online publication created by the Library of Congress Educational Outreach Division in collaboration with the TPS Educational Consortium. Each issue focuses on pedagogical approaches to teaching with Library of Congress digitized primary sources in K-12 classrooms." History Tech's post includes a list of his favorite issues--since I love curated lists, I recommend starting there, but you can head straight to the source if you prefer.

I'm learning a lot from both these bloggers. Are there other blogs or sites that you'd recommend?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tools for creating timelines

Back in 2012, this community had a lively discussion about how to use timelines after some teachers asked us to create a wall timeline based on the timelines in Montana: Stories of the Land. Ultimately, we did not pursue the project, mostly because of a lack of resources. But we also heard from lots of teachers who thought the best timelines were ones created by students.

Low-tech timelines are great. But for those who like to incorporate technology in the classroom, there are many free timeline tools, including HSTRYTimeline JSRWT TimelineTimeGliderDipity, and MyHistro. FreeTech4Teachers reviewed HSTRY and these other timelines in two very useful articles. (HSTRY got its own article because FreeTech4Teachers learned about it only after he created this chart comparing the other timeline tools.)

Have you used any of these? Share your experiences and opinions.