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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Favorite Elementary Lessons and Resources

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, by grade level. So, without further ado, some of your fellow teachers’ favorite elementary lessons/resources:

“We did Mapping Montana A-Z this year. The kids were so thrilled taking their road trip across the state.  They were amazed at some of the names they found—even though some of the towns were just down the road from us.  It is a keeper!” Kristin Hopkins, Bozeman, 4th grade

Tammy Elser’s unit on Jim Thorpe (Joseph Bruchac’s Jim Thorpe: Bright Path) using the Jack Gladstone song “Bright Path.” Anonymous [This lesson is available online and was donated to public school libraries.]

“I loved using the OPI IEFA Blackfeet star/creation lesson with my 4th graders.  We turned off the lights and let them spread out on the floor and view the DVD like the night sky.  They loved it.” Cindy Gavin, Big Timber [Both the Blackfeet Star Stories and Crow Star Stories were donated to public school libraries. They are also available online:
Boarding school trunk from MHS [‘To Learn a New Way.’ Order here. View the Teacher’s Guide, including lesson plans here.] I also use my own trunks to teach each reservation.” Andree Anderberg, Helena, K-5 librarian

“I teach a lesson that integrates traditional Crow designs into geometry. After learning the different designs used by the Crow in their beadwork, students look at examples of various Crow beadwork to identify geometric shapes.  Students then create their own design following the traditional Crow designs.  This lesson teaches about geometric shapes, symmetry, and Crow culture.” Anonymous

“I most definitely will let my students research a Montana topic of their choice. They research  their topic and then make travel brochures on their topic. They present these in a ‘walking museum’.” Genelle Hocevar, Great Falls, grades 3-5

“I like interaction and hands-on learning within the fifth grade classroom, so we made parfleche bags to hold all the Montana History materials we made. It was a great extension for the IEFA lessons as well. I have already been doing this project each year but will most definitely continue it.  The kids love making them, and I like the way everything is neatly kept tucked inside.” Bonnie Boggs, Miles City, 5th grade

“The lesson I taught about the effect of boarding school mandates on Montana tribes was very effective. I read excerpts from picture books and biographies about the boarding school experience. Then I had the students visualize someone coming into their own home, pulling them out, telling their parents that the children must attend school far away from home and that they wouldn't see their children again for many months or years. Next, I had the children write about how they thought it might feel. Then we discussed the experiences of what happened after children arrived at the schools, again reading excerpts from books. I asked them to think of any experiences that they'd had in their own lives that were akin to what happened to those children. I think they all realized that what happened to those kids was so horrible that we hopefully wouldn't experience much that was comparable.” Anonymous, 5th grade

It’s not too late to share what you’ve learned. If you have a favorite resource/lesson, send it in by emailing mkohl@mt.gov.

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