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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Favorite Elementary Lessons

I've been sharing 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.” (Here are high school and middle school teachers' responses.) Below are the answers we received from elementary school teachers. [I've added a few comments and links in brackets--couldn't resist putting my oar in.] 

MonDak Heritage Center Museum Educator Jessica Newman gave a shout out to using "Visual Thinking Strategies in the analysis of art and historical documents." [I love VTS too! We integrated the technique into our Montana's Charlie Russell lessons, the Coming to Montana footlocker, and our BRAND NEW footlocker, "The Original Governor’s Mansion: Home to the Stewart Family in Turbulent Times, 1913–1921"--coming soon Intrigued? read more here.] 
 
An anonymous 3-5 grade teacher wrote: “The students choose a tribe in Montana to research. They produced a report, a replica of the flag, and made models to represent food, shelter, economy, and religion traditionally part of that tribe.”


Another anonymous teacher is excited about ArcGIS mapping: “The best resource that I learned about was the ArcGIS and I have set up an account already.  I look forward to using as we study Montana history.  Students will be able to create an interactive timeline and put information about the Montana famous person or explorer that they do research on for their reports.” 

3-5 grade teacher Sarah White of Shelby wrote, “IEFA Lesson - Comparison of maps of 1850's vs 2000's of land territory, the students made maps of both time frames to get a good visual of how the land territories changed (reservations vs non)  The students also did a spotlight research project on a Blackfeet Tribe concept (flag, small pox, Indian days, tipi, cradleboard, language, etc.)  on a big posterboard - they turned out wonderfully!”


Along the same lines, Whitefish Technology teacher Michael Carmichael worked with his third graders to create animations of the shrinking tribal land. I was intrigued so I asked him to share details. He wrote: "Students were given different animation project choices including one about  Montana Reservations. The students’ task was to show how traditional tribal areas changed and shrank with the introduction of reservations. Students needed to select three tribes to animate the boundary changes. This lesson activated prior classroom knowledge, utilized free online animation program that was age appropriate and allowed students multiple ways to create their animated infographic. Students accessed traditional tribal territory maps and modern Reservation maps to use as their background before using the drawing and painting tools to create the visual of the shrinking reservations. Animate is free and easy to use on all platforms via the web. Some of the map resources students utilized are:
They also used the  student safe search resource “Bing in the Classroom.”(Free for Schools)

Maps were big: Another teacher said her most successful lesson was “Making Land form maps our of salt dough.”

Susan Seastrand, from the Ayers Colony School, Grass Range, MT, K-8, school liked our new Montana’s Charlie Russell packets. “I love the pictures and the lesson. My students really enjoyed learning about Russell and the time period.” Ditto Billings elementary librarian Ruth Ferris of Billings and K-2 Bozeman teacher Jamie Winjum Chapman. Another teacher recommended our footlockers. "I will order the trunks again next year. I especially like the homesteading one." [We have a brand new footlocker of which we are very proud: “The Original Governor’s Mansion: Home to the Stewart Family in Turbulent Times.” Check it out and then be the first to order it.]
 
An anonymous librarian wrote, "The book that my students loved the best in 4th grade was It Happened in Montana.”

Another teacher takes her kids on a field trip to a buffalo jump after studying the topic. [Place based learning is the best--and we've got several buffalo jumps to choose from, including 
First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, near Great Falls (Related IEFA lesson plans are available), Madison Buffalo Jump State Park, near Three Forks (Related IEFA lesson plans are available), and Wahkpa Chu'gn Buffalo Jump, near Havre.]

K-2 Bainville teacher April Wills does book studies using “Shep and B is for Big Sky.” And, she wrote, “I also really enjoy doing a large Montana history project that ends with a technology piece attached. Usually an iMovie however, we collaborate with high school students for research and putting together the final project.”

Another teacher does a very in depth, 2-month persuasive writing unit on Native Boarding Schools with her 3-5 grade class.

Laura Dukart from Wibaux recommends “Mapping Montana: A to Z,” as did another anonymous teacher.

A librarian recommended "Jim Thorpe for IEFA." [I assume she used the OPI Indian Education Division's Model Teaching Unit.]
  
Ashlie Fleming, 3-5 teacher at Edgerton Elementary in Kalispell, wrote: “IEFA Heritage Day: I planned a school wide event with 2 of my teaching partners. Each grade level received a reservation in Montana and we planned lessons for each of the 7 reservations. The students then rotated through all 7 classes."

Another teacher uses holidays: "I teach an IEFA Columbus Day and Thanksgiving Day IEFA lesson to our 4th -6th graders that deals with historical inaccuracies and common misconceptions." [Not sure what she uses, but here are some ideas for Columbus Day and some resources to teach about Thanksgiving from Project Archaeology.]

Fourth-fifth grade teacher at Broadwater School in Helena Jodi Delaney's favorite lessons this year related to American history rather than Montana history (because she teaches Montana history every other year), but her recommendation was still worth sharing: “I asked my students what was their favorite lesson(s) and the overwhelming answer was the historical simulations we did (Early Explorers, Revolutionary War, Trail of Tears, Civil War, etc.)  I really like using the Explorers simulation to get at many of the ideas from that time period without getting into 'hero-fication' of the famous explorers.  I have purchased pre-made simulations from Scholastic, and make my own too.  I highly suggest buying the Scholastic ones as they are very easy to use and have everything to you.  I add more information of my own, but the bare bones version works just fine too.” [What do you think? Should we make these for some Montana history topics?]   

Another teacher enjoyed teaching about Henry Plummer and the Vigilantes/gold rushes. She wrote: "We had a great visit from Ellen Baumler-the kids loved her ghostly visit." [You may be able to get Ellen to come to your classroom too--through Humanities Montana's Speakers in the Schools.]

It's not too late--if you have a great lesson you'd like to tell teachers about, send it along


Monday, September 19, 2016

Hazel Hunkins, Billings Suffragist

Last year, we proudly announced a new lesson plan: Hazel Hunkins, Billings Suffragist, created by Billings school librarian Ruth Ferris. Since that initial launch, I had the opportunity to work with Helena High School American history teacher Kelley Edward to test the lesson. We've revised the lesson based on the feedback we received from Kelley and her students, taking what was an amazing lesson and making it that much better--and easier to use. 

The primary-source based lesson plan challenges students to analyze and contextualize historical evidence; consider how authorship, intention, and context affect meaning; and construct an argument about the contributions of Billings, Montana, high school graduate Hazel Hunkins to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Everything you need to teach this four-to-six-day lesson is online. And, while supplies last, you can request a free printed and bound copy of this lesson plan by emailing MHSEducation@mt.gov, subject line: Hazel Hunkins. Make sure to include your mailing address in your email. 

This election season, remind your students how precious the right to vote is by examining the hard-fought fight for women's suffrage using Hazel Hunkins: Billings Suffragist.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Reservation Ambassadors Are Back

Have you heard about Reservation Ambassadors, a club located at Arlee High School on the Flathead Reservation? 

From Anna Baldwin, one of the club's advisers: "Our mission is to build relationships and understanding about reservation life. We do this through school visits where we work in small groups with students to talk about texts in order to address misconceptions and stereotypes. If a school is too far to visit, we use skype. Last year we worked directly with over 200 students and teachers in grades 4-12 across Montana and even in another state!" The club won a "Program of Excellence" award from the Office of Public Instruction last spring.

I've said it before but it is still true: I think Reservation Ambassadors is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Maybe even since before sliced bread. 

If you are interested in helping to break down stereotypes by making a connection with the Reservation Ambassadors, please contact Anna Baldwin at abaldwin@arleeschools.org.


Want to read more? Here's an article about the Reservation Ambassadors published last year in the Missoulian. Or connect with the Reservation Ambassadors on Facebook.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Favorite Middle School Lessons

Last week I shared high 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 middle school teachers to the same question. [I've added a few comments and links in brackets--couldn't resist putting my oar in.] 

Mary Kinnett of Hobson wrote: “All students pick a famous Montana history person and write a report on them, then they do a Chatter Pic of them and hit the highlights of their lives.  After that, the students group up and put on a play depicting their character or do a monologue if they want to do a skit alone.  They really get into character and bring props and costumes.  They become the famous Montana people from our state's past." [Looking for sources for Montana biography projects? Here's a good starting place--although several people who answered the survey implored me to encourage the use of print resources and--especially--working with your school librarian on research project--so that's probably the best way to go about a project like this.]

Several teachers recommended OPI's Indian Education Division's Model Teaching Units, including Sweetgrass Basket (Tammy Dalling, Gardiner), Birchbark House (Traci Manseau, Deerfield School) and Counting Coup.

Ryan Antos, of St. Regis, wrote: “Students had to research then write a letter home from the perspective of a Native American student that had been taken away to a boarding school."

Several teachers highlighted chapters and activities from the Montana history textbook, Montana: Stories of the Land.

April Wuelfing, Sheridan, wrote: "My students loved chapter 8, "Livestock and the Open Range." With this, we did cowboy poetry, short-stories, created our own animal brands, and studied the effects of ranching in Montana in relationship to Native Americans. The kids loved how interactive this chapter was for our class! (Our school recently purchased a plasma cutter and we are hoping to turn the student's brand into real, novelty-sized brands!)"

Lauren McDonald, Whitehall, wrote: “To finish up Chapter 4 (Newcomers Explore the Region), I had my students create historical looking journals written from the perspective of someone on the journey with Lewis & Clark.  They created their own weathered looking paper as well as an authentic cover for it." Another teacher recommended visiting nearby Lewis and Clark sites after studying the Corps of Discovery. There are LOTS of these in Montana. 

Cindy Hatten of Colstrip wrote: “The Constitutional Convention lesson [Chapter 21: A People's Convention].  Kids these age need to who, how, and why we held the convention and the aspects of it that are still viable today.”

Sixth grade Plains teacher Lisa Brown wrote: “My partner teacher and I have our students make double ball sticks and double balls for our 6th Grade Camp Out. They learn to play the game during the camp out. We also invite my stepfather to our classroom to give a presentation on flintknapping, primitive weapons, tools, and the atlatl. Students are shown the science behind creating a spear point, and how to use the atlatl for throwing spears, and then the students get to throw spears at a target.”

Mary Koon of Joliet has her students “writing and illustrating Native American Ledger Books." [I don't know if she uses any of our material, but you can find great images, information, and a lesson on ledger art here.]

Danielle Parsons of Havre has her students do OPI’s Symbols of a Nation unit on tribal flags.

One teacher recommends the documentary about the Northern Cheyenne called "The Chief's Prophecy."

Librarian Norma Glock of Columbus wrote: “Some old photographs were found behind a file cabinet in the vault.  I had an octogenarian from the community come talk to the kids to identify people and hear stories about our school.  One picture was the 1915 championship girls basketball team.  Another was a band picture with names from 1941.  Others were championship teams from the 30's.  After our initial introduction to all the students, I asked if anyone wished to pursue metadata for other pictures.  Nine students were excited to keep going with this project.  There were interested in hearing stories about the people and the school from these time periods.  They were given time during library classes to pursue this project. We examined old yearbooks, used the Montana Memory project, and newspaper databases for this project.  Next year, I plan to do work on past community leaders if we do not find any more old photos to explore." 

An anonymous teacher gave a shout out to the lesson plan "Russell on Indians," part of our Montana's Charlie Russell packet, donated to every public K-12 library and available online here. {She must have meant it--she used three exclamation points!!!]

Michael Herdina (Gallatin Gateway) wrote: “The best lesson that I used this year was about how rivers, lakes, large streams and old Native American trading trails affected the settlement and the development of Montana. Why did this town survive while one 40 miles away faded away?”

Did we miss your favorite lesson? It's not too late--let me know what it is and I will share it with the group.

P.S. If you are teaching Montana history, we hope you'll join us for our first online PLC. We'll be the second Monday of every month, September-November and January-April at 4:00, starting September 12. You can also join us after the fact by watching the videos and participating in writing. You can find more information about the class here





Friday, September 9, 2016

Favorite High School Lessons

Every spring, I survey readers, both to get feedback on how to make Teaching Montana History better, and to gather everyone’s favorite lessons so I can share them with the group. I love learning what has actually worked in the classroom—and being able to share teacher-approved lessons. So, without further ado, here are some of the answers high school teachers gave to the question “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.” Stay tuned for future posts featuring the answers from middle and high school teachers. [I've added a few comments and links in brackets--couldn't resist putting my oar in.] 

Kim Konen, Beaverhead County High School, wrote: “I really enjoy using all of the Native American lesson plans especially the unit where the kids can create their own winter count.” [Kim may be referring to the National Museum of the American Indian's lesson plan on Lone Dog's Winter Count. You can find our Native American lesson plans here.] 

Bruce Wendt, Billings West, wrote: “Mike Mansfield--a human being no Montana student should leave school without knowing about his contributions.”

Several teachers responded with topics rather than lessons: War of the Copper Kings elections, Montana women, ledger art, homesteading. [I’ve added links to resources on these topics, which may or may not be the resources these teachers used.] 

Lorrie Tatsey, from Browning High School, wrote this reminder: “The footlockers are ideal for any age.”

One teacher wrote: "I have had my students look through historical newspapers to get a glimpse of what life was like.  They choose 5 ads and write a brief bio of a person based on what was for sale." [Two great resources for newspaper research are Chronicling America and Montana Newspapers.]

Used biographies from Montana Historical Society, working with Grade 10 English [Possibly, this teacher is referring to our lesson plan "Ordinary People Do Extraordinary Things! Connecting Biography to Larger Social Themes." Find all our Teaching with Biographies resources here

Little Bighorn Battlefield fieldtrip

Mary Jo Bremner, of Browning High School, teaches her students “What the Marshall Trilogy means to Indian Country and how these Supreme Court decisions still influence today.” They talk about setting precedence in Indian Country, whether it should be changed and how it could be.

Betty Bennett at Missoula Sentinel wrote: “I really liked using Blood on the Marias with Fools Crow.  I'm also thrilled with the unit from the Richest Hills on the Chinese in Butte and the Bitzer-Ah Chow Incident. [Resources to do this lesson are here]. We're following up with a field trip to the Mai Wah Museum next week in Butte.  There are others I really like as well and rely on the IEFA units for big units I do with Native American Literature and research every spring.” (She uses these units with juniors.) 

Special education teacher Jane Kolstad from Glasgow wrote: “I am currently reading:  Counting Coup by Joseph Medicine Crow.  I am using the IEFA Model Teaching Unit as a guideline.  I do this every year and the kids love it.  The extra resources are amazing.  We watched a video on the Battle of the Little Bighorn where Mr. Medicine Crow speaks.  It is a nice piece because the kids get to hear the voice behind the story.  We are also going to watch the Montana PBS video on Indian Relay which features a Crow youth in the competition.”

One teacher was intrigued by an article we posted last year about Greenlander children taken from home and placed in Danish boarding schools, to use as part of her boarding schools lesson.

Jennifer Graham, from Granite High School in Philipsburg, wrote: “A field trip to the Historical Society.....IT IS AMAZING!  Every student in Montana needs to go see what is there and experience the museum.” [Thanks for the shout out Jennifer. We have great standard field trip options but we are also happy to work with you to personalize your students’ experience. For example, we have had several teachers bring students to our research center to conduct research on specific Montana history topics and have designed special gallery tours and scavenger hunts focused on specific eras and topics—for example territorial Montana and women’s history.] 

Stay tuned for Favorite Middle School Lessons and Resources next week. You can find teacher favorites from previous years by clicking on the "best of" tag.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative (WM-PLC) is offering two Indian Education for All Online Book Courses.

The Dance House
September 12 to October 23, 2016

Participants will discuss Joseph Marshall's The Dance House in an online Moodle Book Club. The Dance House is a combination of essays and short stories based on incidents or events which took place on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Marshall tells personal stories of the often frustrating, adversarial and sometimes laughable relationships between Indian tribes and the federal government.  This course is divided into weekly “modules.” Participants will have one week, starting on Monday and ending on Sunday, to complete each consecutive module. The assignments in each module can be completed anytime within the scheduled week. This course will include scheduled chat sessions (days and times TBD). To see additional course requirements, contact the course instructor for a copy of the syllabus. The book is available by purchase from Amazon or equivalent.
Instructor: Sindie Kennedy (sindie.kennedy@gmail.com)
Registration fee: $95
Credit: 15 OPI Renewal Units or 1 Semester Credit (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $135. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form).

The Boarding School Era
October 24 to December 11, 2016

Read and explore books focusing on the Boarding School Era including My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling, Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola L Campbell, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000 by Margaret L Archuleta, Brenda J Child and K Tsianina Lomawaima and Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell. This course is offered online through a Moodle platform. It is divided into weekly “modules.” Participants will have one week, starting on Monday and ending on Sunday, to complete each consecutive module. This course will include weekly live chat sessions (days and times TBD). The course books are available for purchase from the instructor. To see additional course requirements, contact the course instructor for a copy of the syllabus. 
Instructor: Sindie Kennedy (sindie.kennedy@gmail.com
Registration fee: $145
Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $135. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form).

To register for either class, go to: https://goo.gl/forms/PjPLACXXY2mJnbzH3 

For a copy of the syllabus, email the instructor: sindie.kennedy@gmail.com. If you have other questions, please contact the WM-PLC.

P.S. If you are in the Missoula area, you may also want to check out their IEFA Virtual Field Trip. Each month the class will focus on a different reservation. Attendees may earn college credit (2 credits) from the University of Montana OR 30 OPI renewal units.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

2016-2017: Here We Come!

Welcome back! Or if you are new to Teaching Montana History, welcome. I hope everyone had a good summer. The first post of the school year is always business, so let's get started.

Montana History Conference Scholarships

Don’t forget: We have travel scholarships available to teachers wishing to attend the 42nd Annual Montana History Conference (held this year in Hamilton and Stevensville) September 22-24. Scholarship applications are due by 11:59 p.m. September 9, 2015. Awards will be announced the following week.  You can find the conference program and the quick-and-easy scholarship application information here. If you can't attend the entire conference, consider just joining us for the Thursday educator workshop ($20, lunch included, 6 OPI Renewal Units.)

Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and the MHS Educator Resources Page

I hope most of you are already using the Montana history and Indian Education for All resources posted on our sites. If so, would you help us out? Please email mkohl@mt.gov if you find any broken links or other problems. We can usually fix things quickly--but only if we know about them.

New This Year: The Teaching Montana History Online PLC

With the help of OPI, we’ve set up a 7-part course that includes an online meeting and Learning Hub course.  The online meetings will be held on the second Monday of every month, September through November and January through April, from 4:00-4:30. You may complete individual sections of this course for 1 renewal unit each or complete all 7 parts for a total of 7 renewal units.

Each month we’ll focus on a different topic, beginning with “The Big Picture: Essential Questions and Enduring Understandings.” The sessions will be recorded, so if you can’t join us live, you’ll still be able to learn from your colleagues and contribute—in writing—to the conversation.

Some boilerplate for signing up and enrolling in courses:

The Hub is an online learning platform dedicated to providing free, high quality professional learning for all K-12 educators across Montana.  It aims to minimize the time teachers spend away from their classrooms to attend training, as well as save school districts money on professional learning.

Get started by creating an account or browsing through the course offerings. 

For full access to courses you'll need to take a minute to create a new account for yourself. Each of the individual courses may also have a one-time "enrollment key", which you won't need until later. Here are the steps:
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.

Questions--about the HUB course, the textbook or something else? Please ask!