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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Summer Workshops

It's never too early to start planning for summer, and we hope you will include us in your plans.

The Montana Historical Society is offering THREE exciting workshops this summer: one in Fort Benton, one in Helena, and one in Thompson Falls. OPI Renewal Units will be available for all three workshops. One workshop also offers continuing education credits through MSU-Northern. A limited number of travel scholarships are available for two of the workshops. And attendance at two of the workshops are FREE.

A Grand Union: Connecting Students to Place
Fort Benton, June 11-12, 2012

Explore Fort Benton, “the birthplace of Montana,” and learn how its buildings reflect its rich history. Discover how you can use historic places and community studies to engage your students and meet the new Common Core standards. Acquire new resources for researching the history and architecture of your own community and learn how—and why—other teachers have incorporated local history research into their classrooms.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided Monday evening; lunch will be provided on Tuesday. A limited number of travel scholarships are available.

Cosponsored by the Montana Historical Society, the River and Plains Society, and the Golden Triangle Curriculum Cooperative

Total possible OPI Renewal Units: 10
Limit: 40 participants

Registration Cost: Free
Schedule and registration: http://mhs.mt.gov/education/2012%20Teacher%20Workshops.asp  

Treasures for Teaching the Treasure State: Montana History Resources for Elementary Classrooms
Helena, June 18-19, 2012

Discover interactive lessons to introduce your students to Montana history. Learn how introducing grade school students to primary sources can excite them about history, teach them media literacy, hone their historical thinking skills, and help you meet the new Common Core standards. Discover other teachers’ best lessons and share your experience to improve the Montana Historical Society’s hands-on history footlockers.

There will be a reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres Monday evening, and lunch will be provided both days. A limited number of travel scholarships are available.

OPI Renewal Units: 15
Limit: 30 participants

Registration Cost: Free
Schedule and registration: http://mhs.mt.gov/education/2012%20Teacher%20Workshops.asp

David Thompson Kalispel Encampment
Thompson Falls, June 28-30, 2012

The seventh annual Educator Workshop and Encampment in Thompson Falls will provide interactive opportunities for educators to learn traditional Kalispel skills over the course of two days. The opening evening event will include a tipi raising contest and campfire presentation by respected Kalispel elders and Jack Nisbet. OPI Renewal units and Continuing Education credits through MSU-Northern will be made available. For more information on costs and registration information, email Deb Mitchell at dmitchell@mt.gov.

Cosponsored by David Thompson Bicentennial Partnership and the Montana Historical Society
Schedule, registration, and cost information: coming soon

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Travels

Montana Historical Society staff members are participating in several conferences this spring. If you are attending any of these, we hope you will stop by our booth and say hello, or consider coming to one of our sessions.

February 27-28, 2012, Billings
At the  6th Annual Indian Education for All Best Practices Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, we’ll have a booth and will be presenting “Primary Source Documents and Thought Provoking Practice,” Feb. 28, 2:30-3:45

March 9-10, 2012, Helena 
At Montana State Homeschool Convention, Carroll College, we’ll be presenting three sessions:

“Free Resources for Teaching Montana History,” Friday – March 9, 2012, 11:15 am-12:15 pm
“Teaching History and Critical Thinking Using Primary Sources,” March 9, 2012, 1:30-2:30 pm
“National History Day Comes to Montana,” March 9, 2012, 2:45 pm- 3:45 pm

March 22-24, 2012, Bozeman
At the Annual Museums Association of Montana Conference, Museum of the Rockies-Montana State University

“Busting Community Myths," March 23, 10:30-11:45
“Working with High School Students: Promises and Pitfalls” March 23, 1:45-3:00
“Museum/School Collaborative Opportunities for Community Partnership," March 23, 3:15-4:30

More information here.

April 12-15, 2012, Bozeman
At the Montana Indian Education Association 2012 Conference, Grantree Inn, we’ll have a booth, so please stop by.

More information here.

April 21, 2012, Helena
We’re hosting the National History Day competition at the College of Technology. We need judges—so consider volunteering your time. If this interests you, contact volunteer coordinator Katie White: kwhite@mt.gov.

June 2012
We are sponsoring or cosponsoring three educational workshops, one in Fort Benton, one in Thompson Falls, and one in Helena. OPI Renewal units available. More information will soon be available on our web site.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Honoring Montana's Heritage Keepers

Every Montana community has someone it looks to tell them about their history and to protect their historic documents, artifacts and important sites. Who’s that person in your community?

Now that you have a name in mind, consider nominating him or her for the Montana Heritage Keepers Awards. The award, given by the Montana Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, will be presented at the Society’s Montana History Conference,  September 21, in Helena.

The awards honor individuals, families, organizations, educators, historians and others whose efforts have had a significant impact on generating interest in and the preservation of Montana history and heritage at the local, area or statewide level.

The nominees must be Montanans who have demonstrated commitment to a significant state history goal that goes beyond the confines of making a livelihood for themselves.

Nominations must be received no later than April 1 and include narrative and examples of the work the nominee has done including such things as newspaper articles, letters of support from the community and award.

Find more here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Teaching with Maps

I opened my email to find messages from three different sources about teaching with maps—making a ready-made post.

The first was a request for an online map of Montana’s original nine counties. The Newberry Library has created a great interactive showing how Montana’s counties have changed: “Atlas of Historical Montana Counties.”

The other emails were links to ideas for using maps in the classroom.

Billings elementary school librarian Ruth Ferris sent me a link to a presentation on ideas for teaching using google maps. (You’ll need a google account to access this. Accounts are free.)

And Ann Savage, an educational resource specialist at the Library of Congress, wrote an informative post for the Teaching with the Library Congress Blog: "Getting Started with Maps in the Classroom."

In her post, Savage suggests choosing a map for students to analyze from
Maps From The World Digital Library; or
Primary Sources by State (click on a state).

The Montana Memory Project’s Mapping Montana and the West collection is also a good source for historic maps to analyze.

Savage also recommends teacher take the self-paced, online professional development module “Analyzing Primary Sources: Maps Online.” Remember, the Montana Historical Society offers OPI Renewal Units for completing this, and other, LOC trainings.

Awhile back, I also stumbled upon this article, about a University of Kentucky college professor who had his students geocode historic photographs. Could high school students do this? And would it be a worthwhile learning experience?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Visit our other blogs

Staff at the Montana Historical Society are blogging.

Montana Moments
Montana Historical Society Interpretive Historian and author, Ellen Baumler, shares fascinating vignettes on Montana history. These are brief stories would be great to share with students.

This Week in Montana History
Discover interesting tidbits about yesterday through these very short spots.

Montana History Revealed
These very occasional posts from the Society’s research center staff offer behind-the-scenes look at interesting discoveries.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Titles Added to Chronicling America

I don’t mean to be all Chronicling America all the time—but this just in:

Chronicling America, the Library of Congress web portal to historical U.S. newspapers, has been updated with more Montana publications. The following are now available:
The Montana News (1909-12). Published on Park Avenue in Helena, the News was avowedly Socialist. (Letters to the editor opened with “Dear Comrade.”) Read the Montana News here. And make sure to look below the thumbnail for a brief history of the paper.

The Colored Citizen (1894) was founded by J. P. Ball, Jr., (son of the photographer). Critical of what he saw as the anti-black hiring practices at The Anaconda Company, Ball urged his readers to vote for Helena as the capital city. Read the Citizen here.

The September-December 1894 issues of the Helena Independent document the battle for the state capital, events that were, of course, also covered by the already digitized Anaconda Standard. Read the Independent here.
For a list of all Montana newspapers to be digitized in 2012-13, visit the Montana Digital Newspaper Project.

I promise this will be the last post on Chronicling America for a good while.

Monday, February 6, 2012

More on Chronicling America

Last week I wrote a post about  our new lesson plan, “Thinking Like A Historian,” which asks students to explore Montana newspapers on Chronicling America, digitized as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program. 

Here are some other resources for using Chronicling America in the classroom.

Back in September, NDNP staff at the Ohio Historical Society hosted a webinar for educators and National History Day coordinators to teach them how they can use ChroniclingAmerica to access primary resources for use in National History Day projects and other lesson plans. You can also access the recording from Ohio’s NDNPProject Wiki, as well as materials that they provided to attendees (including a Guide to Using Chronicling America).

The Library of Congress’s blog, “Teaching with the Library of Congress,” has two good posts about using Chronicling America in the classroom. I found some of the comments in response to the blogs particularly interesting:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Lesson Plan Focusing on Historic Newspaper Research and Virginia City

I’m proud as punch to announce that we have added a new lesson plan to our website: “Thinking Like a Historian: Using Digital Newspapers in the Classroom,” created by Billings school librarian Ruth Chandler Ferris. Easily adaptable for use in grades 4-8, the lesson asks students to exercise their historical imaginations while introducing them to the research process, the richness of historic newspapers, and the social history of gold-rush era Montana.

We have placed links to the lesson plan on our website's Educator Resources page and in the “For Educators” section of Chapter 6 (“Montana’s Gold and Silver Boom”) on the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and Online Teachers Guide.

The lesson provides a good entrĂ©e to Chronicling America, an amazing website jointly sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. At this site you can find digitized, searchable newspaper pages from across the nation—as of last October, 4.1 million searchable pages from 581 newspaper titles, published in 25 states and the District of Columbia between 1836 and 1922.

The site continues to grow, as libraries—including the Montana Historical Society—digitize their newspaper collections. The Society has received two National Digital Newspaper Program grants to digitize Montana titles. Currently online from our collection are

More are coming! You can find out which other Montana titles and date ranges are scheduled to be digitized here.

While there is no doubt that Chronicling America is an amazing resource, it is also true that it can be daunting to first time users. That’s where this lesson plan comes in. Don’t have much time but want to tantalize your students with a taste of what life was like 150 years ago? Just use the scavenger hunt (p. 6). Want to introduce your students to primary source research through a study of the Montana gold rush?  This is your plan.

As you can tell, I really like this lesson—but it’s really what YOU think that’s important—so check it out and let us know.