Last spring, I asked your colleagues: “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.”
Here are the answers from high school teachers:
“National History Day was great. Most students really enjoyed it.” Anonymous. Find more about National History Day here.
"I don't know if it is ‘best’ but students enjoy putting Slade on trial. We read Dimsdale's chapter and Twain's version. He is found guilty perhaps 50% of the time. If students do it right, we have a decent discussion of life in the 1860s. We then discuss the sources (did the authors have motives) and then examine the textbook (Montana: A History of Two Centuries). On what sources did the textbook writers rely? Does that make a difference?" Bruce Wendt, Billings
"The Surrounded, by D’Arcy McNickle; Playing for the World: The 1904 Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School Girls Basketball Team." Kathryn Holt, Havre [OPI has a model unit on the Playing for the World DVD.]
“I used Playing for the World (PBS) to compare and contrast life at the boarding schools when reading the novel When the Legends Die by Hal Borland.” Anonymous
“I use the teaching trunks throughout the year. I also use parts of the IEFA teaching model for the book Killing Custer, by James Welch.” Michele McGuigan, Thompson Falls
"Presenting a video regarding a Navajo rug and its authentication process. The lesson discusses the taboos that were crossed when the rug was originally crafted in the early 1900s. This leads into a discussion and a journal entry or CRT style essay. What concerns should the owner address? Compare the rug to the video of the Chief's blanket. How are they similar (beyond their colors and designs)? How are they different? Which video provided information that you found most interesting and why?
Navajo Rug Link
Chief's Blanket Link
This was an activity that I was assigned through an NAS online course at MSU last fall." Kathleen Hughes, Dodson Public Schools, Resource Setting
“Crow Culture through storytelling and drumming. We read three chapters of Parading through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935 by Frederick Hoxie. In the chapters we discovered our history and culture through the Crow who lived in this place.” Bill Shannon, Livingston [Editorial comment: Hoxie's book is great scholarship, and I'm very glad to see it being used in high school.]
“Plant pages listing medicinal uses of native plants. Cooking with native plants. Applying lessons of yesterday with those of today." Nancy Scott, Northern Cheyenne Tribal Schools
“I used the Library of Congress FSA photos depicting discrimination to introduce awareness to students of blatant anti-Indian sentiments and to compare that segregation to other racial discrimination in the U.S. I created an activity for analyzing the pictures to prepare for a unit using To Kill a Mockingbird.” Tom Thackery, Roundup
“In my Montana History class, students read the Lewis and Clark journals and then they read writings from various Indian perspectives about L&C. They created a movie of their own interpretation with digital podcasts and their own photographs—hard to describe but met the criteria for IEFA, definitely.” Anna Baldwin, Arlee, 9-12
"I really liked the notice of the Bakken article in the Helena paper. A compare/contrast with Butte history is engaging. Custer Battlefield Lessons-Multiple Perspectives [There are several lesson plans that do this including this one from Gilder Lehrman and this one from OPI." Joe Kusak, Bozeman High School, 11th grade
“Using the Eloise Cobell case as the central example students explore the Dawes Act, the pros and cons, and how it still has an effect on us today.” Gary Carmichael, Whitefish, 11th grade
"I found Shawn Orr's lesson on the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 very valuable. Using the Socratic Circle approach to group learning lent itself to great analysis and discussion.” Patrice Schwenk, Missoula, 9-12
"I taught the ‘Blood on the Marias’ lesson plan. I also required my students to write 4-5 page, MLA-style papers with at least three citations per page and at least eight sources total answering one of two questions about the Baker Massacre: ‘Why did Baker attack Heavy Runner's band?’ or ‘How did attitudes to the event change over time and how did geography and ethnicity influence perspective?’ (Because we live in Helena, I required my students to do research at the Montana Historical Society Research Center.) I will definitely do this lesson again. And, I discovered that our principal Greg Upham is a direct descendant of Chief Heavy Runner—so he came and talked to the class, which was an amazing connection!" Jill Van Alstyne, Helena
And that’s it for recommendations from your fellows--unless I get new recommendations from some of you (nudge, nudge).
P.S. September 28 is the deadline for applications to participate in this year’s Big Read for My Antonia and Girl from the Gulches. Details here.