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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Teaching with Objects

I found this short post on why teach with objects enlightening, and all the more reason to encourage folks to check out the Montana Historical Society’s Hands On History footlockers or footlockers from other museums. (Please note: It is NOT too early to reserve your footlockers for next year. Our most popular trunks go fast!)

I also know teachers who have successfully brought in their own historic objects—or had students bring something one from home. Among them is Renee Rasmussen. For details on how she conducted her family heirloom project, email mkohl@mt.gov.

Teacher and Student Scholarships to the Montana History Conference


The Montana Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is again funding a number of scholarships for teachers and/or STUDENTS who want to attend the history conference. Last year a teacher at Butte High received scholarships to bring two of his students (both sophomores I believe) who were active in the Butte High History Club. It was really fun having young faces at the conference and they said they had a great time.


The deadline for applying for the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation scholarships is August 30. We recognize this is an awkward deadline (August 30 is the first day of school in Helena, anyway)—so we encourage teachers to recruit students and put in their own applications before school gets out this summer. More information on the Washington Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation scholarship is available here: http://mhs.mt.gov/education/washingtonfoundation.asp 


The full conference program will be posted on our website by early June. Visit http://mhs.mt.gov/museum/historyconference2011.asp

Friday, May 6, 2011

Making Sense of Documents and Scholars in Action

I just stumbled on History Matters “Making Sense of Evidence" Page. The page contains a series of links designed to help students and teachers make effective use of primary sources. It is organized into two sections:
  • “Making Sense of Documents” provide strategies for analyzing online primary materials, with interactive exercises and a guide to traditional and online sources.
  • “Scholars in Action” segments show how scholars puzzle out the meaning of different kinds of primary sources, allowing you to try to make sense of a document yourself then providing audio clips in which leading scholars interpret the document and discuss strategies for overall analysis.
Because there was so much interest in the emails I sent out over the last year on using photographs as historical sources, I looked specifically at the links involving photo analysis, “Making Sense of Documentary Photography” and “Scholars in Action: Analyzing Photographs.” Both are nicely interactive, asking users to participate by answering questions or otherwise engage with the material before learning what the experts say.

In Making Sense of Documentary Photography, historian James Curtis offers a brief history of documentary photography, examples of what questions to ask when examining a documentary photograph, and an annotated bibliography and list of online resources for documentary photography.

“Scholars in Action: Analyzing Photographs” presents historian Frank Goodyear’s interpretation of an 1850s daguerreotype of Niagara Falls. I couldn’t get the sound to work, but I could read the transcripts—which I found insightful but maybe less enjoyable than hearing the actual interview.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop

If you are a Montana 6-12 grade teacher, I hope you will consider applying for “Teaching with Primary Sources: War, Resistance and the Montana Experience.” Participants will receive a travel stipend and scholarship to attend the Montana History Conference, No Ordinary Time: War, Resistance, and the Montana Experience,  in Missoula, September 22-24, 2011, including the Thursday Educator’s Workshop (full description below) and the Friday and Saturday sessions and fieldtrips. (OPI Renewal Credits available).

Educator’s Workshop, Thursday, 8:30-4:30 (lunch provided). Many teachers successfully use primary sources to engage and excite students about history, teach media literacy, and introduce the art of historical research.  The Montana Historical Society is making it easy for Montana educators to harness the power of primary sources in their classrooms. In keeping with the conference theme, the workshop will focus on war and resistance, from the Indian Wars through the Gulf War. Participants will learn where to find and how to analyze primary sources relating Montanans’ experience during wartime, including material on the Library of Congress’s American Memory and Veterans Oral History Project websites, the Montana Historical Society’s website, and the Montana Memory Project website. Hands-on activities will offer participants opportunities to hone their primary source analysis skills. Participants will also learn about educational technologies (like Glogster and Animoto) and programs (like Teaching with Primary Sources and National History Day) that make it easier to integrate primary sources into the classroom. Presenters will include Martha Kohl, historical specialist at the Montana Historical Society, Dr. Tom Rust, co-director of Montana National History Day, and Peggy O’Neill-Jones, director of Teaching with Primary Sources-Colorado.

Participants will also receive a travel scholarship to attend the Montana History Day Competition in Helena, April 2012. (OPI Renewal Credits available). For schools that need it, money will be available to pay for substitutes. In exchange, participants will be asked to share what they have learned with teachers or students at their schools.

Applications are due May 15, 2011. More information and forms here: http://mhs.mt.gov/education/TPS.asp. Or feel free to contact me with questions: mkohl@mt.gov.