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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Project Archaeology Course in Virginia City, Aug. 5-9

Here is another summer learning opportunity: Project Archaeology is offering its “Investigating Shelter” course in historic Virginia City, MT, August 5-9, 2013.

I hear rave reviews about Project Archaeology’s “Investigating Shelter” course—teachers especially like the ready-made take home curriculum that they can immediately implement with their students.
Here’s the scoop:
  • Project Archaeology Educator Field School
  • Date: August 5-9, 2013
  • Place: Virginia City and Nevada City, MT
  • Cost: $568 for 2 graduate level credits – EDCI 588-801 or $250 for 30 OPI Renewal Units
  •  To register and for more details: http://btc.montana.edu/courses/aspx/descrip3.aspx?TheID=618.
  • Still have questions after exploring the link? Contact Crystal Alegria at (406) 994-6925 or calegria@montana.edu.
This course and the curriculum guide, "Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter" will give you everything you need to engage students in scientific methods and historic inquiry and show them how archaeology can help us solve problems today. Your students will apply archaeological concepts as they investigate an archaeological site using primary data sources such as maps, artifact illustrations, historic photographs, and oral histories. Back in the classroom, you can use the curriculum to fulfill many core requirements in social studies, science, mathematics, language arts, and art, while the students are discovering archaeology and history through engaging hands-on activities.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PowerPoint Presentation on the Primary and Secondary Sources

Last year a Helena High School teacher asked me to come to her sophomore English class to talk to her students about the differences between (and various strengths and weaknesses of) primary and secondary sources. This was part of a larger project that involved having her student write a research paper on the Baker massacre using both primary and secondary sources after reading the James Welch novel Fools Crow.

Given the Common Core’s emphasis on primary sources, I thought some of you might find this presentation useful so I’ve posted it here. Feel free to use or modify as you see fit. Explanatory notes are in the “notes” field.

P.S. Because I created this for the Fools Crow project I described in a recent post, you’ll notice Fools Crow is one of the sources I use in the raucous game of “Primary or Secondary”? It’s a trick question. As a work of fiction, Fools Crow is neither a primary or secondary  source.

P.P.S. If you in Helena for the Best Practices in Indian Education for All conference, make sure to stop by our booth and say hello and/or sneak up to the Society and check out our new exhibits: “An Artist's Journey: The Life and Works of E. S. Paxson,” “And the Bride Wore: Montana Weddings, 1900-1960” and “Dora’s Laundry.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Capitol Reenactment March 5

March 5 might be a good day to tour the capitol and the Montana Historical Society Museum.

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the current House Chamber in the Capitol House members will hold a special historical, one hour re-enactment from the 1913 session Tuesday, March 5th, at 1 p.m.  According to the press release:

     “On March 5th, history will come to life as we celebrate 100 years in the House Chamber. Traditions, authentic attire as well as the actual Floor Session, will be a reflection of 1913,’ Chief Clerk of the House Lindsey Grovom said. “Please join us as we visit the century old, House of Representatives!”
     The Chamber will be decorated to reflect what it looked like 100 years ago, and the House staff developed a script based on the issues that were being discussed at that time. Those on the floor will dress in clothing appropriate to the era.
     The re-enactment also will pay tribute to artists Charles M. Russell, Edgar Paxson and Ralph DeCamp, whose work still adorns the Capitol. It is the 100th anniversary of Russell’s masterpiece “Lewis and Clark Meeting the Indians at Ross’ Hole” above the rostrum that still dominates the House Chamber.
     The new wings of the Capitol were built in 1911 and 1912 and finished for the 1913 session. The Senate passed a resolution in 1913 thanking the three artists for their work in making the Capitol not only beautiful but also reflecting the pride Montanans had in their state and their culture.
     The Montana Historical Society will have a booth and display in the House Lobby just off the House floor from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with information on what were then the new additions to the Capitol, historic photographs and other historic documents from the period. MHS Government Archivist Jeff Malcomson will be on hand at the booth in the character and dressed as Gov. Sam Stewart, who was governor in 1913.
     MHS staff will have guided tours from noon to 2 p.m. of the DeCamp artwork in the Capitol and Paxson’s  artwork tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There also will be free admission tickets at the booth for the nearby MHS Museum , which currently features a major exhibit on the life and times of Paxson.

If you want to bring your class, please call Nicole at 406-444-3695 either to schedule a tour or to let us know how many students to expect.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Students Using Archival Material--Three Examples

It’s been an exciting year for partnerships. I’ve especially been enjoying working with my colleagues in the Research Center and Helena High School teachers to develop a series of projects that have students conducting primary source research.

All three projects also involve having the students visit the MHS Research Center and do some of their research on site—but all of them could be adapted for students who live too far away to make a trip into the historical society.

The first two projects were designed with English teachers and complement the reading of specific texts (Fools Crow and Grapes of Wrath). The third project was developed with an American history teacher to enrich students’ study of World War I.

Fools Crow/Marias Massacre project

 We created this project with 10th grade honors English teacher Jill Van Alstyne. After her students read Fools Crow, she has them look at the Marias Massacre, an event that occurs at the end of James Welch’s novel.

After completing the MHS lesson plan: “Blood on the Marias: Understanding Different Points of View Related to the Baker Massacre of 1870`,”  and reviewing the difference (and different uses for) primary and secondary sources, she assigns a research paper focused on the Marias Massacre. Students are asked to answer one of the following questions: “Why did Baker attack Heavy Runner's band?” “How did attitudes to the event change over time?” or “How did geography and/or ethnicity influence perspective?”

As part of their research, they visit the Montana Historical Society, look for newspaper articles on microfilm and other relevant information. A fuller description of her project is here.

By the way, Jill and I are presenting on this collaboration at the upcoming IEFA Best Practices Conference February 25-26 in Helena. (You can register for that conference here.)

Grapes of Wrath project

 Helena High School Junior Honors American Literature teacher Jean O’Connor worked with us to develop this project, which will have students conducting research in the Governors Records to gain a deeper understanding of what life was like in Montana during the Great Depression. Although “Governors Records” sounds deadly, the collection actually contains heartrending letters from farmers and others detailing their struggles on drought stricken farms. (You can view some of those letters on the Montana Memory Project by searching for “Governor Erickson” in the “Letters, Diaries and Documents from the Montana Historical Society”. (Make sure you limit the search to that specific collection or you will get hundreds of irrelevant hits.) Details of her project are here.

Alien and Sedition Act project

 We designed this one with eleventh grade American history teacher Kelley Edwards, who is going to have her students explore the question “what should be the limits of free speech in wartime?” through research on the causes and effects of Montana’s Alien and Sedition Act. These students will dig into historic newspapers, the records of the Montana Council of Defense, even digitized prison records. Details of that project are here.

This is the second year for the Fools Crow project, and the first year for the other two, which we may find will need some refinement. Bottom line, though, is that we’re delighted to be playing a role in encouraging student research. I’m happy to work with any teachers interested in adapting these lessons to their own classes no matter where they teach in Montana.

P.S. I learned from Julie Saylor that, at the Best Practices in Indian Education for All Conference, OPI will be handing out hard copies of the revised Elementary Level Language Arts Model Teaching Units (now aligned to the Common Core) that I talked about last post. Those who want a hard copy of the two volume set but can’t make it to the conference can email Julie (jsaylor@mt.gov) with your mailing address and she’d be happy to send it to you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Elementary teachers: A handy new guide aligns OPI's IEFA lesson plans to the Common Core standards

If you teach elementary school and are revisiting your curriculum to make sure you are meeting the new Common Core standards, these new guides from the Indian Education Division at the OPI can help!

“In support of educators’ efforts connecting IEFA and MCCS, the Indian Education Division at the OPI has:
  • Constructed elementary level COMPANION GUIDES—to provide guidance for instruction that incorporates IEFA resources aligned with Montana Common Core English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects Standards that have been identified as facilitating information about American Indians.”
  • Links to the COMPANION GUIDES are available on the Indian Education web pages, as well as the Montana Common Core Standards web pages. You can also find them here.

The Indian Education division has also revised its elementary literature units to reflect MCCS alignment. As the introduction to the revised teaching units points out, these “IEFA units feature text dependent questions—those which specifically ask questions that can only be answered by referring explicitly back to the text being read—promoting close analytic reading.”

In addition, “in support of the greater emphasis on proficient reading of complex informational text, each unit specifies the use of related informational texts (regardless of whether the unit focus is fiction or non-fiction), within the lessons and/or extension activities.” You can check out the revised units here:
UPDATE: I just learned that after February 27, hard copies of these elementary guides will be available from the Indian Education Office on request. To receive a hard copy, contact Julie Saylor at jsaylor@mt.gov.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Women as Community Builders--Share a Story Project

Looking for an interesting class project this spring (or next fall)? One that involves research, interaction with community members, and that has an authentic audience?

Check out The Story Project: Celebrating Montana Women as Community Builders.

This project is part of a larger project to create a new mural for the Montana State Capitol Building--the first in over 80 years. Initiated by the 2011 Montana Legislature with Senate Bill 59 and supported by private donations, the mural will honor the history of Montana women as community builders. It will be installed in November 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of woman suffrage in Montana.    

The Story Project is designed to extend the commemoration’s reach, to raise awareness about the centennial of woman suffrage in Montana, to recognize Montana women’s contributions to the state and their communities, and to celebrate the creation of the Montana Women's Mural in the State Capitol.

How will it work?

The Story Project is inviting people across Montana to collect stories about individual women and women's organizations who have helped shape our communities and state, past and present. At the completion of The Story Project (November 2014, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage), stories and photographs donated to the project will be offered to the Archives of the Montana Historical Society for use by future generations of researchers.

What types of stories is The Story Project looking for?
 According to its website, The Story Project “welcomes stories about a woman or group of women whose type of contributions and achievements will help the artist painting the Montana Women's Mural envision how Montana women built our social institutions: libraries, museums, theaters, parks, playgrounds, schools, shelters, hospitals, labor unions, and social clubs.”

The Story Project has developed a questionnaire to guide participants’ research and storytelling, as well as forms you’ll need to submit information.

This has a potential to be a really interesting project. If anyone decides to work on this as a classroom project, I’d love to hear about it. Regardless of whether you and your students participate, I hope you’ll help spread the word to local community organizations to encourage their submissions.

Friday, February 8, 2013

As I've mentioned in previous posts, this summer the Montana Historical Society will host a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop for Schoolteachers.

Consider applying to attend this in-depth, intensive exploration and study of "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West, 1860-1920." The workshop will examine the mining history of the American West and its relevance to today’s classroom. Two sessions will be offered—July 14-20 and July 28-August 3. Each week, 40 educators from across the country will join with university professors and public historians to investigate the cultural legacies and rich historical resources of Bannack, Virginia/Nevada Cities, Butte, and Helena, Montana. Faculty members include Dr. Paula Petrik (George Mason University); Dr. Ellen Baumler (Montana Historical Society); and Dr. Mary Murphy (Montana State University.)

Participants will receive a $1,200 stipend from NEH, which they can use to help defray travel expenses.

The deadline for applying is March 4, 2013. For more information and application materials visit: http://www.archiva.net/richesthills/index.html or email dmitchell@mt.gov.

For a complete listing of other Landmark workshops visit http://www.neh.gov/projects/landmarks-school.html

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ready for African American History Month?

Are you looking for resources to support teaching African American history--this month or any other month?

The Montana Historical Society’s African Americans in Montana Heritage Resources Page includes links to two model lesson plans (fourth grade and eighth grade+) as well as a link to a PowerPoint presentation created by interpretive historian Ellen Baumler, “Profiles of African American Montanans.” You’ll find these links at the very bottom of the page, so keep scrolling.

Teachinghistory.org has created a page spotlighting some relevant resources.

The Library of Congress has pulled together a list of resources (including lesson plans) from their own collection, the National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, and the National Park Service

And here’s material from the Smithsonian.

Finally, here's a handy list of "dos and don'ts" from Teaching Tolerance on teaching black history.

Happy surfing.