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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

From the Ground Up: Montana Women and Agriculture Oral History Seminar

"From the Ground Up" is a six-hour seminar that will teach community educators and leaders how to engage teenagers in the art of collecting oral histories on the women who ranch and farm in their county.

Shelby, MT: June 5, 2012,9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Register by May 31, 2012

Helena, MT: June 28, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Register by June 22, 2012

Registration Fee:  $15

Rich Aarstad, Oral Historian at the Montana Historical Society will teach participants how to engage students in the preparation of conducting an oral history focusing on the “Five Rs:”

  • Research, so they have a basic understanding of the topic and individual they will be interviewing; 
  • Rapport, to establish a working relationship with the individual being interviewed so that they trust the interviewer and are willing to share their story/stories; 
  • Restraint, or the art of knowing that the interview is about the narrator; 
  • Retreat, or understanding when the interview is a wrap; 
  • Review, ensuring that all the steps and procedures are covered so that the interview will be properly conducted and the master copy legally owned by the proper repository.

Katie Beall, from the Montana State Library, will introduce participants to the Montana Memory Project--a statewide digitization project that will enable students and educators to work in collaboration with their local libraries to preserve and share valuable oral histories.

To register, contact: Linda Brander, MT Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (406) 444-0520, LLbrander@mt.gov. UPDATE: Online registration now available at http://dnrc.mt.gov/cardd/ConservationDistricts/OralHistoryProject/Default.asp.

Attendees will earn six OPI Renewal Units. The workshop is sponsored by your local conservation district, Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation, Montana Historical Society, Montana State Library,  Montana Stock Growers Association.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crime and Boomtowns

The Helena Independent Record had an article on April 23, 2012, about an increase in crime in Montana and North Dakota oil boomtowns.
Reading the article made me think about the crime that accompanied the Montana gold rush. Students (and adults) love to learn about the vigilantes, road agents and prostitutes of the Old West—to whom time has lent a glamorous patina. But are they really so different than today’s boomtown criminals?

Sharing current articles on the problems faced by today’s boomtowns might provide a “teachable moment.” The comparison might help students studying the gold rush think more deeply:

  • about questions of law and order, 
  • about the problems that accompany instant cities, 
  • about how you know who to trust when everyone is from somewhere else, 
  • and about how boomtown residents responded to challenges associated with being far away from established systems of justice. 

It would also strip some of the romanticism away from the outlaws of the Old West.

Would that be a good thing? I think so. But I can imagine someone arguing that the mystique of the Old West fascinates students, nurturing in them a lifelong interest in history.

What do you think? Is grade school—or middle school or high school, for that matter—a time for romance or for realism? Can they exist side by side?

Monday, April 23, 2012

If You've Ever Wanted to Attend the Western History Association Conference...

Now's your chance.

The Western History Association and the Charles Redd Center are sponsoring four K-12 Teaching Awards that will enable awardees to attend the Western History Association Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting will be held in Denver, Colorado, on October 4-7, 2012.

The Award will include the following: conference registration, award banquet ticket, ticket to the opening reception, and $500 towards conference related costs including: hotel, travel, conference tours, or Continuing Education Credits.

*Application Materials Must Include:*
   - Resume
   - Short statement of how winning the award will benefit your students (no more than one page)
   - One letter of recommendation (Principal, Administrator, colleague, etc)
   - Lesson plan on the American West (any grade level K-12). The lesson plan must include examples of Active Learning and Assessment and be factually correct. All lessons should include a bibliography of both materials and sources used to create the lesson as well as historical scholarship upon which the lesson is based.
* Lesson plans must also adhere to the scoring guidelines in the rubric.  For rubric, see http://www.westernhistoryassociation.org/awards/

Award Recipients will be asked to present a part of their lesson at the conference to other teachers.

All files should be submitted either in Word or .pdf document formats and saved as YOUR NAME_TITLE

*Deadline for 2012 award submission: August 6, 2012*

Award details can be found at http://www.westernhistoryassociation.org/awards/  

Please direct all materials and questions to Leisl Carr Childers (Leisl.Carr-Childers@nau.edu).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Linking Literature and History

I’ve been working with a Helena High School teacher who is developing a unit on Fools Crow for sophomores. Her curriculum includes “writing a research paper”—so she decided to have the students write their research papers on the Baker Massacre, also known as the Marias River Massacre (a historical event important to Welch’s novel.) 

I’m not exactly sure about how she’s teaching the novel’s literary content. But I know that her plan for connecting it to the historical event includes having her students

  1. Complete the primary source based lesson plan Bozeman teacher Derek Strahn created for the Montana Historical Society on the Baker Massacre. 
  2. Read at least one nonfiction article on the Baker Massacre.
  3. Spend time in class learning the difference between primary and secondary sources
  4. Conduct primary source research at the Montana Historical Society and online (lots of documents transcribed here).
  5. Write a research paper addressing one of the following questions: 

    • Why did Baker attack Heavy Runner's band?
    • How did attitudes to the event change over time and how did geography and ethnicity influence perspective?
    • How does Welch's account compare to the historical event?

I look forward to seeing how this project turns out—and am excited to see our resources being used in an English class. 

I’m also excited to see students working on papers that involve research in both primary and secondary sources. I hope I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem as if students are writing as many research papers in history classes as we did when I was in high school. (Does that make me sound old and grumpy? Just wait until I tell you how we walked five miles to school in the snow, uphill both ways.) 

Seriously though: I do think traditional research papers provide important educational opportunities (my first real research paper, written in 10th grade, was formative)—and so does Will Fitzhugh, who wrote this provocative paean to the research paper, published in American Educator, in the Winter 2011-12 issue.

How about you? If you teach high school, do you have your students engage in substantive research—and then have them form conclusions and present them in a 12- to 20-page paper?  Could you feasibly, given the number of students you teach? 

And if you teach high school English—are there other books that would work for this type of unit plan? Drop a line and let me know. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fast Approaching Deadlines--And Still More Professional Development Opportunities

If you are interested in participating in the 2012-2013 Museum & School Collaborative Grant Opportunity to Integrate Indian Education for All, you need to submit your letter of intent by April 23. The program, jointly sponsored by the Office of Public Instruction and the Montana Historical Society, will provide support for collaborative efforts between a local museum and school district to address a two-fold purpose: exploring ways to become co-educators in topics of Montana American Indian culture and history in a museum setting and the public school classroom, and  improving the  presentation of American Indian history, artifacts and related documents in museum collections. Six grants will be awarded for amounts of $7,000 - 10,000, with priority given to communities which have not participated in a prior IEFA museum – school grant. Find more information here.

If you would like to attend one of the workshops that the Montana Historical Society is offering this summer, but will need help covering your travel expenses, please note that the application for travel scholarship is due May 1.

The first workshop, "A Grand Union: Connecting Students to Place," will be held in 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.

The second workshop, "Treasures for Teaching the Treasure State: Montana History Resources for Elementary Classrooms," will be held in Helena, June 18-19.

  • 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.

Find more information and links to registration and scholarship applications here.

The Society is also cosponsoring the David Thompson Kalispell Encampment in Thompson Falls, June 28-30. I just looked at the schedule and it looks as if it will be a completely amazing experience. Camas baking! Fish trap making! And much more, of course, but nothing else I can make rhyme on a Monday morning.

We don’t have scholarship money available for this one—but are offering both renewal units and continuing education credits. Schedule is here. Online registration is here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More Summer Professional Development

Last week, I posted spring professional development opportunities collected by our friends over at the Indian Education Division of the Office of Public Instruction.

Here is the list they’ve made of summer options. Please note that the application deadline for “Worlds Apart but Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All” is April 20, 2012.

To my knowledge, OPI renewal units are available for all workshops, and continuing education/graduate credits are available for many of them. Click through or contact the organizer for more details.

Presenters and topics include: Dr. Tammy Elser (The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All); Joe McGeshick (IEFA from A-Z); Leo Bird and Jennifer Flatlip (Montana Skies – Blackfeet and Crow Astronomy); Dottie Susag (IEFA Book Talks and OPI Resources); and Dr. Michael Scarlett (The Federal Boarding School Era).
TO REGISTER, email Kim Stanton (pvcc@midrivers.com and provide name, school, grade level, cell or home phone and email. Participants are required to mail a $25 deposit (check made out to PVCC) to Kim Stanton, 707 South Stacy, Miles City, MT 59301. The $25 deposit will be refunded the first day of class. Contact Kim Stanton, 406-853-1908, pvcc@midrivers.com 

JUNE 4-22, 2012 MONTANA WRITING PROJECT INSTITUTE, Chinook High School, Chinook, 9:00am–4:00pm 
Participants will: pursue targeted interests during a three-week intensive Summer Institute; explore current and foundational research of writing as a tool for thinking and learning; engage in inquiry through writing and reading; prepare and demonstrate presentations that could be shared with districts and departments; network and learn with teachers from across the Hi-Line; discover strategies for empowering students to be producers of knowledge, increasing literacy across the content areas and addressing the Montana Common Core shifts in literacy; learn and apply Indian Education for All strategies and philosophies in a local setting.
To request an application, email donnamiller@itstriangle.com. Also see MWP Summer Institutes 

Julie Cajune, Executive Director of the Center for American Indian Policy and Applied Research Center at Salish Kootenai College, recently completed a three-year project developing tribal history materials funded by the Montana State Legislature. Julie will share her findings in her Wednesday keynote presentation History Matters and in her session Montana Tribal Histories and Governments.
Contact Marsha Sampson, MSampson@msubillings.edu or 406-657-2085. Also see Summer at MSUB

JUNE 11 – JULY 6, MONTANA WRITING PROJECT INSTITUTE, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, Four-week program. 
The MWP Summer Institute (ENT 540) is a writing- and teaching-intensive, four-week program at the University of Montana-Missoula. The MWP invites teachers of all content areas, kindergarten through university levels, to participate in the Summer Institute. Generally, mornings are devoted to writing experiences for all participants, writing workshops and editing groups, presentations by visiting consultants, review of curriculum materials, and research interpretation for classroom implementation. In the afternoons, participants present workshops based on personal, successful teaching strategies, participate in “hot topics” discussions and book talks. Throughout the Summer Institute, participants have hands-on experience in writing across the curriculum and with the computer as a tool for writing and teaching writing. Throughout the academic year, MWP Teacher-Consultants conduct in-service activities that promote and improve the teaching of writing in their schools and districts. They also participate in follow-up activities such as developing curriculum guides, assessing writing skills of Montana students, attending programs and presenting sessions at professional meetings.
Also see MWP Summer Institutes
Summer Institute Application 2012

JUNE 11–14, 2012, PROJECT ARCHEOLOGY INVESTIGATING A PLAINS TIPI, Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman 
Two graduate credits. Instructor, Crystal Alegria. Learn how the exciting field of archaeology can bring literacy, science, social studies, math, and scientific inquiry to your classroom. A full copy of the Project Archaeology materials is yours to take home.
Registration opens March. 26. See full course descriptions and registration information.

(More information to follow – Check OPI Hot Topics and Professional Development)
Led by Julie Cajune and Tammy Elser, participants in the interactive workshop will experience tribal content blended with best practices teaching pedagogy using the Montana Tribal Histories: Educators Resource Guide and Companion DVD and The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All.
To register, please email Joan Franke, jfranke@mt.gov with the following information: NAME, SCHOOL, SUMMER ADDRESS; SUMMER EMAIL ADDRESS; PHONE #; POSITION AND GRADE LEVEL; AND ANY SPECIAL FOOD NEEDS.
For more information, contact: Mike Jetty, mjetty@mt.gov or 406-444-0720.

JUNE 28-30, 2012, DAVID THOMPSON KALISPEL ENCAMPMENT, Rocky Point Ranch, Thompson Falls
Co-sponsored by David Thompson Bicentennial Partnership, the Office of Public Instruction and the Montana Historical Society.
From 1807-1811, David Thompson, a North West Co. employee, established contact with the Kalispel, Kootenai, and Salish tribes and built trading posts in present day British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The 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. Side by side with the Kalispel encampment will be a camp of fur trade living history instructors from Friends of Spokane House. The two "villages" will trade, communicate, and collaborate much the same as encampments during the fur trade era.
Find more information and register here.

The Montana Writing Project recognizes the need to educate Montana students about the contemporary and historical contributions of Indian peoples in this state. MWP is committed to the promise of reconciliation inherent in Indian Education for All and the mandate that IEFA be incorporated at all grade levels and in all subject areas. The 2012 Eastern Montana Summer Institute will be an intensive three week course blending Native cultures, place-based education and best literacy practices.
For information or an application, contact: Marcia Beaumont, beaumontm@billingsschools.org or 406-281-5969 or Casey Olsen, cougarenglish@gmail.com or 406-290-9798
Also see MWP Summer Institutes

One of five satellite seminars nationwide, sponsored by New York City’s Memorial Library in New York City and the Montana Writing Project, Worlds Apart But Not Strangers is designed for individuals who currently teach or are interested in teaching the Jewish Holocaust and/or Indian Education for All, and would like to discover ways to make connections between these topics. Relevant to teachers grades 4-12 as well as college and university faculty, the purpose of the course is to provide novice and experienced teachers with knowledge about and teaching strategies for both Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All, using literacy, and especially writing, as tools to drive inquiry. Offered at NO COST. Additional information and Application, Worlds Apart But Not Strangers

JULY 26-27, 2012, DVDs, POETRY, AND WRITING STRATEGIES TO MEET COMMON CORE STANDARDS, Hampton Inn, Great Falls, 8:30 am – Noon and 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm 
Presenter – Dorothea M. Susag, Target Audience – Grades 5-12 Educators
Participants will view and review engaging DVDs, poems in the new OPI Montana Indian Poetry Collection, and picture books, with strategies and activities that help teachers meet the requirements of the Common Core Standards and Indian Education for All. Participants will design their own units or lessons for using Native-authored poems, picture books, or DVDs. Resources will be available for review and loan during the workshop as well as the opportunity to make digital copies of bibliographies. This is low stress with take-back activities that can be implemented easily right away.
Registration Information – See SUMMER INSTITUTE 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Teachers Offer Place-based Learning Opportunities

It clearly takes a substantial teacher commitment and perhaps some outside money—but teachers all over Montana are providing amazing opportunities for students to connect to places, serve their state, and deepen their understanding of Montana’s history, literature, and Indian cultures, sometimes all at once.

Here are two examples.

You can read here about the Selway Sojourn taken by Freshmen from Cheryl Hughes’ Sentinel High School’s English class. The trip followed study of Darcy McNickle’s Surrounded and Pete Fromm’s Indian Creek Chronicles.

Columbus High English teacher Casey Olsen takes his students on a series of fieldtrips, immersing them in area history and Crow culture. Among them was this fieldtrip to the archaeological dig at the second Crow Agency. His students also work with the local museum to provide research for exhibits. (By the way: Olsen received funding from OPI/MHS's Museum-School Partnership Program. A new round of grants will be offered for next school year. Letter of intent is due April 23. See more here).

Place based learning can also happen on a less ambitious scale. One of our summer workshops, “A Grand Union: Connecting Students to Place,” will offer ideas for introducing students to the architecture of their own communities. There are still a few open spots for this workshop, which will be held Fort Benton, June 11-12, 2012. See here for more information.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April-May Professional Development Opportunities

There are lots of exciting professional development opportunities this spring and summer in addition to the two workshops the Society’s hosting in June.

Our friends at OPI’s Indian Education Department have pulled together such a long list that I’m going to divide it into multiple posts—starting with this list of what’s going on in April and May in Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell, the Bitterroot, Dillon, and online.

APRIL 9 – MAY 25, 2012, The Dance House by Joseph Marshall. OPI Renewal. Facilitator, Sindie Spencer Kennedy
APRIL 9 – MAY 20, 2012, Getting To Know Our Neighbor. OPI Renewal. Facilitator, Sindie Spencer Kennedy.
Additional Information, see IEFA BOOK CLUBS
Click here for the Montana Professional Development Portal 

Participants will receive copies and integrate strategies and content from the MT OPI documents The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All (Elser) and Montana Tribal Histories: Educators Resource Guide and Companion DVD (Cajune). Based on the MT Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians and multicultural education, lessons may include Tribal Creation Stories, Colonization, Treaties and Sovereignty, Reservations, Boarding Schools, Allotment and Homesteading, Indian Reorganization Act, and Relocation and Termination. 3 hr OPI Renewal. NO COST.

APRIL 11, 2012, Kalispell, 4:30 – 7:30 pm, Linderman Educ Cntr. Facilitator, Sandy Vashro

APRIL 17, 2012, Missoula, 4:30, Rattlesnake School, Facilitator, Suzette Archibald

MAY 2, 2012, Bitterroot, 4:30 – 7:30. Victor School. Rm. V. Facilitator, Chris Kuschel
Click here to register on the Montana Professional Development Portal 
Need assistance with creating an account or registering? Contact Sindie Kennedy, sindiekennedy@wmcspd.org, 406-728-2400, Ext. 1031

The 31st Annual Montana Indian Education Conference will be held at the Best Western Plus Gran Tree Inn in Bozeman April 12-15. The theme this year is “Leadership through Action and Participation.” The conference is open to everyone involved in Indian education, both Indian student achievement and Indian Education for All, from preschool to college. The conference begins with an opening reception Thursday evening at 6:00 pm, continues with an awards banquet Saturday evening, and concludes Sunday morning.
Registration forms and information are available at www.mtiea.org.

MAY 18-19, 2012, MONTANA SITE STEWARDSHIP TRAINING, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. University of Montana Western, Dillon, MT 
The Montana Site Stewardship program trains volunteers to protect archaeological and historical sites for the purposes of conservation, study, and interpretation. If you would like to become a Montana Site Steward, please consider attending. If you know of anyone who may be interested in becoming a Site Steward, please pass on this information. At the Dillon training we will spend the first day in the “classroom” at University of Montana Western learning about site stewardship. We have a great lineup of guest speakers including Leo Ariwite from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and many archaeologists including Jason Strahl, Shannon Gilbert, and Ryan Powell. There will also be a flint knapping demonstration. The second day we will spend in the field at two archaeological sites (one being a fascinating rock art site) learning how to recognize archaeological sites and their components including artifacts, rock art, and historic mining structures. NO COST. Free lunch will be provided both days. Registration deadline: May 11, 2011
To register contact Crystal Alegria at calegria@montana.edu or visit the Project Archaeology webpage.

Happy learning!

Monday, April 2, 2012

April is Archaeology Month

April is Archaeology Month in Montana.

The Society will have a table at the Montana Archaeological Society Meeting in Helena, April 13-15.

In addition, lectures, demonstrations, and tours are occurring across the state. You can find a list of events on the Montana Archaeological Society website events page.

Archaeology Month can provide an important opportunity to reinforce the difference between archaeology and treasure hunting. Recent television shows—including “Diggers”—have sparked controversy among archaeologists, who are concerned that, as American Anthropological Association's president Leith Mullings explained, this type of “program wrongly represents archaeology as a treasure-seeking adventure, in which our collective heritage is dug up and sold for monetary gain."

The topic has recently hit the news, including articles in the Billings Gazette and the New York Times.

Interested in exploring further the importance of preserving archaeological sites? 

The Montana Historical Society has produced a rich archaeology curriculum, Montana Ancient Teachings. Among many other lessons, it includes a short article (written for upper elementary students) on why it is important to protect archaeological sites.

The Society has also created a 50-minute PowerPoint lesson on types of archaeological sites in Montana that reveal important information about the region’s earliest history. (It does NOT cover historical archaeological sites, however.)

For an amazing collection of Chinese artifacts from German Gulch, an archaeological site focused on the Gold Rush period, see this University of Montana site.

Thanks for all you do to train students to protect our irreplaceable heritage.