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.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Favorite Resources/Lessons Part 4

Here’s the final installment of teachers' answers to the question: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson/project resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.”

I Can't Have Bannock But the Beaver Has a Dam by Bernelda Wheeler ISBN: 0-895411-48-3. —Ruth Ferris, Washington School Billings, MT

A unit on Indian Boarding Schools. Using the DVD - Into the West  in conjunction with the textbook and primary sources.  Students were very interested.
Two teachers found significance in powwows. One wrote: “In my school I have 2 high school students that take part in powwows as Traditional and Grass Dancers.  My most successful lessons--as expected--center around their teaching me about their culture.” The other wrote: “I taught a powwow lesson that included the dances and regalia. We learned protocol and courtesies. We ended encouraging students to attend the local powwow.”

I cannot say that there is a best project--we enhance our literature readings with learning more about local and US history. I tell all of my classes that we cannot understand literature until we fully understand the history behind it. We use the following novels in my six English classes to learn more about history: The Big Burn (fires of 1910; the development of the Forest Service); The Jungle (immigration; life in 1910); O Pioneers! (homesteading); Indian Creek Chronicles (Selway Bitterroot wilderness and study of place; finding place in our own lives); This House of Sky (study of place; researching local records and newspaper archives); Winter Wheat (region, school history); Letters from Yellowstone (regional place and history—narratives); Speaking Ill of the Dead (researching and interviewing); Vantha's Whisper & The Greatest Generation (Veterans and War); The Coffin Quilt (boundaries, feuds, history and importance of quilts through time); Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird (Depression-era both at a local and national level). I am happy to share ideas or resources I have used--many of these are already posted on our school's website. —Darlene Beck, Townsend High School

I made a match of the reservations and a map on the smart board and slowly added population and other cool facts for the kids to work with.  I also liked the Thanksgiving resources. [Note: I’m not sure which Thanksgiving resources this teacher is referring to—perhaps http://www.opi.mt.gov/PDF/IndianEd/HotTopics/ModelLesson_1621.pdf]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Indian Education for All Resources and Opportunities

Our friends at the Indian Education Division of the Office of Public Instruction are offering some exciting new resources and opportunities.

1. Sent to all public schools in Montana, and also available as a downloadable PDF: Montana Tribal Histories: Educators Resource Guide and Companion DVD, Developed by award-winning Salish educator Julie Cajune, http://opi.mt.gov/pdf/IndianEd/Resources/11TribalHistoriesRG.pdf

This resource guide provides brief Montana Tribal Histories Narratives, beginning with traditional life and aboriginal homelands. Chronologically following federal policy periods through their impact on tribes, it incorporates extensive endnotes and refers to material created by Montana’s tribal colleges as part of the Montana Tribal History Project.

While not a comprehensive history, the narrative is intended to provide a basic foundation of the historic storyline of tribes for core content guidance. The section labeled Content Topics and Classroom Activities, following each Narrative chapter, includes a variety of significant topics throughout history that have been identified, along with suggestions for their application in classroom activities. Next in order in each chapter are Model Lesson Plans (ranging from elementary to high school, with many being adaptable to several grade levels). The Teaching Tools section includes a “Source Analysis Form” that could be used with many lessons, as well as “Word Map” and “Story Board” forms and other helpful templates. The guide concludes with a Resource List of sources cited and other reference support. Finally, the resource includes a Companion DVD that includes: Montana Tribal History Timelines, listed in alphabetical order by reservation; Primary and Secondary Source Documents, which are utilized in some of the lessons, but not all; Film Interviews: Anna Whiting Sorrell and Dan Decker; and, a Slide Show of archival photos of children in traditional settings and in Indian Boarding School settings.

2. Sent to all public schools serving grades 3 – 6: Teacher’s Guide and DVD – Montana Skies: Blackfeet Astronomy and Teacher’s Guide and DVD – Montana Skies: Crow Astronomy (Also found on the OPI Indian Education website with Curriculum Resources: http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/IndianEd/curricsearch.html—search astronomy in title field.)

I saw a presentation on these two resources at the Montana Indian Education Association meeting last spring and was blown away. The DVDs and lesson plans Integrate  traditional oral star stories, told by elders and students, with ethno-astronomy and contemporary astronomy concepts. The DVDs and Teacher’s Guides provide suggested activities, lessons and resources linked to the Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians and Montana Content Standards in Science, Social Studies, and the Arts.

Funding is available for IEFA projects to “ bring history and contemporary issues alive, collaborate with tribal and non-tribal experts, and experience transformative student learning.” Public school districts or consortiums of public schools that have not previously received Indian Education for All grants are invited to apply. Grant awards are available in a range of approximately $1,000 to $10,000 for each project.  Applications are due October 24. http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/IndianEd/Update_Listings/NewsStories/2011-09-15_104705.html

For the past six years, the Indian Education Division has been engaged in the development of curriculum materials to support Indian Education for All. For 2011-2012 they will provide an opportunity for teachers to use the resources that have been developed to structure their own professional development around that effort. The pilot program will allow teachers to choose a model lesson to teach, collaborate with a colleague to arrange for classroom observation, and provide feedback on the lesson/unit. Awards will be paid directly to the teacher and observer for preparation time and time for providing feedback to OPI. The pilot will be funded at various levels, ranging from $90-$700, depending on the amount of preparation time, length of the unit and time for feedback. http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/IndianEd/Update_Listings/NewsStories/2011-09-08_115342.html

Teaching with Primary Sources

I just returned from Missoula for the Thirty-eighth Annual Montana History Conference, including a Thursday workshop on Teaching with Primary Sources, cosponsored by the Library of Congress, Teaching with Primary Sources-Western Region. Thus, it felt fitting to find this post on “Top Ten Tips for Facilitating an Effective Primary Source Analysis”: http://blogs.loc.gov/teachers/2011/09/top-ten-tips-for-facilitating-an-effective-primary-source-analysis/

Those who weren't able to attend the conference, but would like to learn more about integrating primary sources in your classrooms—while earning renewal units—might be interested in taking some of the six online modules put together by Library of Congress. Each module takes about an hour and addresses one of the following topics:
            Introduction to the Library of Congress
            Supporting Inquiry with Primary Sources
            Copyright and Primary Sources
            Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints
            Analyzing Primary Sources: Maps
            Finding Primary Sources

We have links to these modules (along with brief quizzes, which you can take to earn OPI Renewal units). Click here for more information: http://mhs.mt.gov/Education/OnlineProDevelop.aspx

In addition, our friends at TPS-Western Region put together a “wiki” with resources for those attending the Educator workshop—but those who can’t make it might enjoy these links too: https://montana2011mhs.pbworks.com/w/page/44589456/Montana%20History%20Conference

Happy learning.


p.s. A note on the last post re favorite resources: One teacher recommended Joseph Bruchac’s Code Talker.  I just found out that the Indian Education Division of OPI has a middle school-level Model Unit Plan for the book. Link here:  http://www.opi.mt.gov/pdf/IndianEd/Search/Language%20Arts/Middle_Code%20Talker%20A%20Novel%20About%20the%20Navajo%20Marines%20of%20WWII.pdf.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Favorite Lessons/Resource Part 3

Here’s the third installment of your fellow teachers’ answers to the question: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson/project resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.”

Montana Place Names lesson plan (http://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/docs/PlaceNamesLessonPlans.pdf)

In Montana History (sophomores) we did gold panning. It was so extremely fun and the kids really got into it. I just picked up a bunch of sand at the home store and bought different size fishing weights and nuts. Each size had a different value when the "miners" brought their finds into the "assayer's" office. We learned the proper technique of placer mining and also learned the pitfalls and wins of gambling. We tried to make it a realistic mining town, hence, the entertainment offered was a little game of chance with the dice. One group won big, but the other 5 lost pretty much everything. Most of them learned that they would rather just work away at their claims rather than take the risk. We also learned it takes a long time to make a living, depending on the claim you have and how many other people have been there before you. 

Code Talkers, by Joseph Bruchac (New York : Dial Books, 2005)

US History Students (gr10) choose one of MT's tribes to research, write a paper, and present a display board. They cover aspects of culture, spiritual, geography, government, legends, leaders, men's roles & women's roles, enemies.... Another great IEFA project was the Reader's Theater. "The Great Peace Council of 1855," prepared by Sally Thompson, Kim Lugthart, Margaret Scott.--Sheryl Burnham, Saco High School

Montana Mosaic DVD (http://mhs.mt.gov/Education/MontanaMosaic.aspx).

I'm in the resource business - so didn't actually 'teach" any lessons - but our library was very active in helping teachers and students locate resources.  We had several events here over the years with IEFA - mostly lunch & learns that the library initiated that were supported by classroom teachers and well attended by students - We had Henry Real Bird, MT Poet Laureate here reading poetry and talking to kids, Crow tribal members showing students bead work and talking about beading (which resulted in a beading "crew" who now sew on graduation caps of graduating Seniors if they want...), we had a lunch & learn with panels from the Western Heritage Center that showed current Northern Cheyenne and Crow tribal members and had two of those members come and present.

I found that the Glacier/100 year celebration was a great learning experience, not only for the vast state history but also for the relationship to Montana Native Americans. [Editorial note: Those interesting in this may want to check out the Montana Historical Society’s hands-on history footlocker: http://mhs.mt.gov/Portals/11/education/docs/footlocker/GlacierFtLkrR5.pdf]  

More favorites yet to come….

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Resources for Teaching Archaeology and the Pre-Contact Period

It is the beginning of the school year, so I bet at least some of you are teaching Montana’s earliest history.

If so, you might enjoy this blog entry on the importance of context to interpreting artifacts. It does a good job explaining how archaeology is different than an Indian Jones style treasure hunt.

Want a quick primer on the Bering Strait controversy? Click here

Montana Ancient Teachings, a curriculum aimed at fourth grade, offers a great look at how archaeologists work and what that science suggests about the lives of Montana’s first peoples.

 The Montana Historical Society has created a 50 minute lesson plan, "What They Left Behind," to accompany this PowerPoint presentation on the various types of archaeological sites found in Montana.

Many people don’t realize how important trade was to the earliest Montanans—and how far goods traveled by boat and with dog travois. "Native American Trade Routes and the Barter Economy" includes two learning activities 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.

Links to all of these resources (except the blog post on the importance of context) can be found on the “For Educators” page of the Chapter 2, “People of the Dog Days” section of the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and Online Teacher’s Guide.

Finally, starting October 3, our friends at Project Archaeology are offering an online professional development course, “Investigating Shelter.” Contact Crystal Alegria at (406) 994-6925 or calegria@montana.edu.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Favorite Lessons/Resources Part 2

As promised, here are more of responses from your fellow teachers to the question: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson/project resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.”

Native American Biography Book Project: Students pick a current Native American and go through the process of writing a "book" about their person. They learn all the parts of a book and how to organize the information about their famous Native American. Computer skills are learned as well as most write their book on the computer and learn how to save and insert pictures etc.

I use a Blackfeet creation story from a George Grinnell book to teach some Blackfeet vocabulary. We find specific words in the story and illustrate them and write their names in Blackfeet and English on the drawings. These are posted the rest of the year. We also fill in a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the Blackfeet creation story to the land bridge theory in our social studies textbook.

Two teachers talked about technology projects they do around Lewis and Clark. Jim Holland, (7th grade history, Townsend), breaks the Corps travel through Montana into 8-10 chapters and the students work in groups to use the online Moulton edited journals at the University of Nebraska to find out about flora, fauna, landmarks, and events during the days they are responsible for.  Each group creates a PowerPoint. Then they run the PowerPoints in chronological order to tell the whole story.  It takes about 3 weeks of researching and prep and 3 weeks in a computer lab to complete the project.

Cindy Mapson has her third and fourth graders in Denton also do a Technology project on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  “My students learned research skills, PowerPoint, flip cameras, digital cameras, and then made a CPS unit review and quiz.  They each researched their Corps member and did a PowerPoint on the person.  From their PP they produced a first person dialog about themselves as the Corps member. We did 1st person interviews on the Flip video cameras as my students were dressed as one of the Corps members each.  We then made a movie about the Corps members.  We took a fieldtrip to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and read a novel book in our reading class about the Expedition.  Students took pictures while we were at the L&C Center that they thought they would use in the final book we made together as a class.” 

Stay tuned for future installments.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Favorite Lessons/Resources, Part 1

Last spring (before the listserv went on hiatus) I sent out a survey that included this question:

“Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson, project, or resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.”

Thanks to all who responded! Listservers shared a lot of good ideas, which I will divide up into a couple of posts. So, without further ado, some of your fellow teachers’ favorite lessons/resources (part 1):

Montana History--Reading Hattie Big Sky and using the Montana Mosaic videos regarding Homesteading; Indian Education for All--new Montana History textbook; video clips from "Dreamkeeper" depicting tribal stories from different Plains Indian tribes; resources from Project Archaeology.–Marla Bray, Sleeping Giant Middle School, Livingston, Montana, Grade 7 Montana History

Unit on Playing for the World - published by OPI (http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/IndianEd/curricsearch.html)
I think my junior high students enjoyed putting on a trial for Henry Plummer. They definitely enjoyed playing different people that might have been part of a trial had there been one.  It was also fun to see them get involved in researching the different people and the time period.   

My World Cultures class used the curriculum from Project Archaeology to examine Crow tipis including a field trip to tipi rings along the Madison River and the Buffalo Jump.  I used that unit to transition into their own homes and what they can tell about their family's culture based on their homes and lives. (Several other teachers gave Project Archaeology rave reviews as well. You can order their curriculum for $45 from Crystal Alegria at 406.994.6925 or calegria@montana.edu, or get it as part of your registration fee if you attend one of their workshops. Next workshop is Sept. 17 at Pictograph Cave State Park.)

Google Earth. My kids were fascinated. We used it to compare reservations, towns, and counties.—Susan Schemmel, Dodson MT

I had my 7th graders conduct a local history project - researching local buildings and their histories. They had a fun time doing it and were able to make use of our local Daniels County Museum, a first for all of them regarding the archives. We used the Architecture Trunk from MHS as a lead-in to our research.-- Bryan Pechtl, Scobey Schools, Social Studies, Grades 7,8,10,11,12

There’s still time to share. What’s the one lesson you are going to make sure to do this year?