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

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