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, December 22, 2014

More Facebook Finds: Influential Americans, the Montana Authors Project, and Indigenous Music Videos

Remember a few weeks ago, when I talked about Facebook as a source for inspiration and work-related material?

Here are a few things that have popped up on my feed lately:

National History Day Project Ideas 

The Atlantic sponsored a link to this article on the 100 most influential figures in American history. This would be great for students looking for topics to compete in this year's National History Day, the theme of which is "Leadership and Legacy in History." (For more on National History Day in Montana see this post about itvisit the Montana Historical Society’s NHD page or visit the Montana State NHD page.)

Montana Authors Project Map

Humanities Montana is asking for input on which author it should add next to its fabulous Montana Authors Project Map.  Right now the map features Mary Clearman Blew, A. B. Guthrie, Judy Blunt, James Welch, Debra Magpie Earling, Norman Maclean, Richard Hugo, D'Arcy McNickle, Ivan Doig, and Andrew Garcia. If you teach Montana literature (or just like it) and haven't played around with this map, stop reading and go there now! If you have an author you'd like to see added to the map, send Humanities Montana an email or contact them on their Facebook page.

Indian Education for All

This link to an article about the Real Life Indian photo project came from the National Museum of the American Indian's Facebook page: " 'Real Life Indian' Photo Project Geared to Defeat All Those Stereotypes". It looks as if the project accepts outside submissions including student work!
And finally, for a more enjoyable winter break, I give you for your listening pleasure the Best Indigenous Music Videos of 2014. My own personal favorites are (at number 4) A Tribe Called Red: "Sisters" and (at number 3) Supaman: "Prayer Loop Song." (Added bonus: Supaman is from from the Crow Reservation.) I think these music videos are a powerful way to remind students that Indians do NOT live only in museums, that tribal cultures are alive, and that, like all cultures, they adapt and change over time.

Need more of a rationale to bring some of this music back to your classroom (as is age/school appropriate)? How about Essential Understanding #2: "There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian."

Best wishes for a merry Christmas--and a joyous new year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Common Core and Images

I have long believed that we should teach students to apply close reading strategies to primary sources, including visual sources like photographs and that, conversely, having students work with visual sources gives them an important (and accessible) opportunity to practice close reading.

TPS-Barat (whose work I mentioned in this recent post) created this useful comparison between Common Core Reading Anchor Standards and Image Analysis Skills that I pull out every time I need to persuade someone that having students analyzing images is real, worthwhile work. 

So it was great to see the video Applying Common Core Habits to Arts Lessons on the Teaching Channel recently. It focused on teaching students to use close reading habits and asking/answering text dependent questions when they look at art. 

Looking for other tools that use images to help students practice close reading (and make evidence-based claims)? I'm completely enamored with Visual Thinking Strategies, a technique discussed in more detail here

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chronicling America Rocks. Oh--and Happy Chanukah

Hanukkah starts tonight, so just for giggles, I decided to search "Hanukkah" and "Chanukah" in the Montana newspapers digitized as part of the Library of Congress/National Endowment for the Humanities Chronicling America project.

I found two articles from the Anaconda Standard, both about programs (one in 1897 and one in 1898) put on children by attending the Butte Bnai Israel congregation's religious education program .

Montana is one of the 39 states participating in Chronicling America. Right now, issues from 38 Montana newspapers are online and searchable by key word. Newly available are

  • Bozeman Weekly Chronicle, 1887-1888
  • Great Falls Daily Tribune, 1919-1922
  • Neihart Herald, 1891-1901
  • River Press (Fort Benton), 1905-1914 

There will be even more titles available by the end of 2015, including the Dupuyer Acantha (1894–1899), Ekalaka Eagle (1910–1915), (Hamilton) Western News (1900–1910), Whitefish Pilot (1908–1912) and the Wibaux Pioneer (1907–1914).

Want to know more about Chronicling America and ways to use it in the classroom? This post from last March is a good starting point: Searching Chronicling America

EdSITEment, the National Endowment for the Humanities site for educators, also has great resources for using Chronicling America, including tutorials and lesson plans.

For more on Hanukkah, see last year's post, my Favorite Montana Hanukkah Story--and Resources to Teach It.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Buffalo Jumps and Depression Era Photos: Cool Stuff I've Seen Lately

No theme this time--just info about some cool resources I've seen recently.

Buffalo Hunters

I was fascinated by this article, "The Buffalo Chasers: Vast expanses of grassland near the Rocky Mountains bear evidence of an extraordinary ancient buffalo hunting culture" published in Archaeology, about research being conducted on the Blackfeet Reservation. (For those of you who use the textbook, the article complements Chapter 2: People of the Dog Days).

According to the article, many scholars historically believed that the Blackfeet only constituted themselves into well-organized tribes after the arrival of horses and guns. This new research on buffalo jumps pushes the development of a complex political society back to 900 A.D. and better reflects the tribes' understanding of its own cultural development. “We have 11 separate, elaborate drive-line systems in just a 20-mile stretch of Two Medicine River. That took coordination and a level of planning for the future that haven’t normally been associated with nomadic people in this part of the world,” archaeologist Maria Nieves Zedeño explains. The article continues:
The Old Women’s Phase people did not leave behind elaborate burials or evidence of long-term storage facilities, signs that archaeologists have typically used to measure the social complexity of prehistoric societies. Scholars therefore believed that these buffalo-hunting people were essentially simple foragers, without any of the complex political arrangements that organized farmers to the east or the fishing cultures of the Northwest Coast had. “Bison hunters have been dismissed as being not as sophisticated as other cultures,” says Royal Alberta Museum archaeologist Jack Brink, who excavated at Canada’s Heads-Smashed-In, a noted buffalo jump. “There was this idea that they were opportunistic hunters skulking across the northern plains. But what we’re finding is that their way of life was complex and thought out in ways that reflected powerful social controls. http://www.archaeology.org/issues/155-1411/letter-from/2587-letter-from-montana-buffalo-jumps

Depression Era Photographs

Jumping ahead a millenia, a new resource from Yale and NEH, Photogrammar brings together 170,000 images by photographers employed by the Farm Securities Administration and Office of War Information from 1935 to 1945. The images (all owned by the Library of Congress) are searchable by keyword, and you can filter your search by state, county, city, date, and photographer.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Techniques for Analyzing Primary Sources (aligned to Common Core)

TPS-Barat (Primary Source Nexus Teaching Resource Blog) has great stuff--including a "Thinking Triangle" Graphic Organizer that I often use for photo analysis. 

Here are two articles they published that I thought were particularly interesting and could be widely adapted.

For Middle School and High School Students

In "Determining the Main Idea of a Text," high school teacher Glen Jensen, outlines his technique for having students analyze complex primary sources (in his case, President Franklin Roosevelt’s first inauguration speech).  It's worth reading his description, but here's a summary:

  • I gave them time to re-read the text and underline the five most important words. (If students are having a hard time selecting five words, you may suggest that they look for words that will answer the five Ws.)
  • Through class discussion, they chose the best five words. 
  • Then students write a sentence that tells the main idea of the passage using the five words they chose or the five circled words the class agreed were best.
  • As a class, they chose the best sentence. 
  • Then students rewrite that sentence using informal or street language. Creating these slang sentences allow students to relate historical texts to contemporary times while requiring them to climb to the top of the cognitive thinking ladder. The students also find this activity to be engaging and fun. 

For Elementary Students

In Analyzing Primary Sources: Sensory Exploration, TPS-Barat introduces its Sensory Exploration Graphic Organizer

"The sensory exploration graphic organizer is a great way to introduce students, especially younger ones, to primary source analysis. It also helps with vocabulary development. Encourage students to write to fill in each column for each sense. After, you may have students create a poem of their choice using the words they brainstormed; they may choose to write the poem from the point of view of someone outside the image or from a person, animal, or thing inside the image. If students drew images, have them combine their images into a pictograph to which they will add spoken word."

For National History Day

TPS-Barat has also created a number of really useful posts on National History Day, including several that provide primary source sets relating to specific topics that fit this year's theme (Leadership and Legacy in History); one that details the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources; and one that reviews tech tools for creating citations. Find them all here

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Useful Facebook Pages

Facebook is great for cute baby pictures, recipes and political rants--all of which I enjoy on my feed. But more and more I find Facebook useful for work related material. My Facebook reading isn't systematic--it is recreational--but I'm finding a lot of great recreational content related to teaching, history, and primary sources--some of which I pull out and feature here, but most of which I enjoy privately.

If you are on Facebook, here are a few history oriented pages you might want to check out and like/follow:

Montana Memory Project: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaStateLibrary.MMP

  • For almost daily posts featuring really cool Montana primary sources 
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian: https://www.facebook.com/NationalMuseumoftheAmericanIndianinDC  
  • For links to articles on contemporary Indian issues and artists, cool artifact photos, and even your Mayan horoscope
U.S. National Archives: https://www.facebook.com/usnationalarchives
  • For "Documents of the Day"from the serious (Rosa Parks' fingerprint card from her arrest) to the frivolous (a picture of President Harry Truman pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey). Also for info re online professional development opportunities.
  • For photos and other featured items from their collections

Montana Historical Society: https://www.facebook.com/MontanaHistoricalSociety

  • For tidbits about Montana history, pictures of cool artifacts, documents, and historic buildings, and interesting links.

Montana Women's History Matters: https://www.facebook.com/montanawomenshistory

  • For short posts on Montana women's history with links to longer essays
What are your favorite work-related Facebook pages? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West and Other Summer PD from the NEH

It's cold outside (-9 this morning in Helena)--so what better time to start thinking about summer!

Next July, the Montana Historical Society is once again offering an NEH  Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers workshop: The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West, 1862-1920.
Teachers (scholars, in NEH parlance) will travel to Montana  from across the country to spend a week visiting Bannack, Virginia City, Butte, Anaconda, and Helena to learn about  the mining West and ways to better teach with historic places and primary sources.  Instruction and materials are free and NEH provides a $1,200 stipend to help pay travel expenses, including hotel rooms, meals during the week, and travel to and from Helena. 
“The Richest Hills” offered an amazing week of learning last time around (you can read what past scholars have said about the experience here and see some of the lesson plans they created here). Each time we offer the workshop we fine tune it, and we expect that 2015 will be the best year yet. 
We encourage applications from Montana teachers—but you should know that the application process is very competitive (we had 250 applicants for 80 slots last time). Additionally, NEH requires that equal access be given to applicants coming from out of state and encourages projects to consider geographic diversity as part of their selection process. The good news is that there are LOTS of really cool, free offerings this summer in addition to “The Richest Hills.”
Through various NEH summer programs for teachers, you can spend a week in Atlanta studying the Civil Rights movement or in New York City studying the Gilded Age. There are longer programs too: imagine spending five weeks in Madrid, Spain, learning about Spanish art and literature (stipends are higher for longer programs to help cover costs.) Programs that include Indian Education for All content include
Please help us spread the word about “The Richest Hills” and take a look at all the other NEH workshops available. 
Applications are due March 2, 2015.

A full list of summer 2015 courses is available here

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Indian Ed for All through Photo Analysis Activity plus a Poster Contest

What a pleasant surprise to open my TPS Western Region newsletter and see the article, Primary Sources in Action with Ruth Ferris. A Billings elementary librarian who has collaborated with us on many lesson plans, including Thinking Like a Historian and Montana’s State Flower: A Lesson in Civic Engagement, Ruth was featured for a Gallery Walk she created for Chief Plenty Coups State Park's Day of Honor. For the walk, she chose pictures from several different reservations to show the differences and similarities of the horse culture in Montana.  

According to Ruth, "The pictures selected were all taken during the late 1800s to early 1900s. They represent many of the tribes and reservations in Montana. I then put together a lesson that dealt with photo analysis, and could be completed independently by participants. This lesson met Essential Understanding #1 for Indian Education for All [“There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments.  Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.”].  

Ruth also took a map of Montana that shows the Montana reservations, identified each picture by tribe and posted it near that reservation. "When I used the lesson with my younger students I provided greater scaffolding." 

Friends of Chief Plenty Coups Association has posted Ruth's lesson, "Hoofprints and Heartbeats," as she modified it for elementary students on its site. In addition to the photographs and resources for scaffolding are links to a variety of primary source analysis tools and a tutorial on the why and how of "Gallery Walks."

On a related note: The Indian Education Division of the Office of Public Instruction is conducting a poster contest for middle school students (grades 6, 7, and 8) regarding What Does Indian Education for All Mean to you.  Submissions are due Dec. 22, 2014. Find out more here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

9th Annual Indian Education For All Best Practices Conference and IEFA Resources

When my son was four he announced to me that “Indians only live in museums.” You can imagine my horror as I rushed to supply him with examples of contemporary American Indian life.

According to this article in Indian Country Today, most children still think that “All Indians Are Dead.” I don’t think study accurately reflects the reality on the ground in Montana because the researcher only coded state mandated history standards, and thus ignored Montana’s influential Essential Understandings Regarding MontanaIndians, which increasingly have guided classroom instruction since their adoption in 2001. Nevertheless—the article impressed upon me how important and transformative Indian Education for All has been—and how important it is to maintain momentum.

The 9th Annual Indian Education For All Best Practices Conference will be held in Bozeman this year on Feb. 22-24. Up to 14 CEUs will be available. At the heart of the conference will be “Tribal Culture Immersion Sessions” led by well-respected members of tribal culture committees, tribal college faculty and other cultural experts. Space is limited for what looks to be an incredible learning opportunity so I recommend registering early. Learn more here. 

Looking for some plug-and-play IEFA lesson plans? Here are ones we’ve created—almost all of which are primary source based. 

Of course, OPI has an even larger number of lesson plans, searchable by subject matter, grade level and topic. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Share Tour Story of Youth Agricultural Education with the Smithsonian

This came in at the end of last year. It’s another great crowd-sourcing project that your high school students could become involved in. More crowd-sourcing project ideas here and here. The Library of Congress Veterans Project also encourages community participation--including work by students 10th grade and above.

By the way, the Montana Women's History Matters blog featured an article about 4-H in Montana: "Head, Hearts, Hands, and Health: Montana's Women and Girls in the 4-H Movement."  


Share your story of childhood agricultural education, whether with FFA, 4-H, or another organization, with the Smithsonian.  

If you were a member of FFA, 4-H, or other agricultural education program as a kid, you know just how powerful these experiences can be.

Some still remember lessons learned in these organizations as adults:

"We're in this enormous coliseum and you look around and it's all blue jackets," said Smithsonian Gardens Supervisory Horticulturist Brett McNish, who was a student FFA member in Illinois. "It was a pretty powerful moment, as a teenager, to stop and really recognize that you're part of something great and important."
Brett was first to add his story to the National Museum of American History's Agriculture Innovation and Heritage Archive, an online archive where anyone can explore American agricultural history shared by people like you. Check out Brett's story and add your own.

Curator Peter Liebhold


Monday, November 10, 2014

Tying Primary Sources to Literature

In a quick note thanking me for the links to post on the 1964 Civil Rights Act anniversary, Browning teacher Brenda Johnston mentioned that her students were going to start To Kill a Mockingbird soon, and that she liked to include Civil Rights material to provide context.

Especially with the Common Core's emphasis on including informational texts and helping students learn to interpret primary sources, using literature as a jump off point to investigate the historical events makes good sense. (Actually--I always thought this made good sense and am glad to be able to reference the Common Core to back the practice.)

We've worked with literature teachers at Helena High School to gather resources for Fools Crow and The Grapes of Wrath--and I'd be delighted to work to develop resource sets relating to other commonly taught novels. I've talked about both of these projects before--but here's a quick recap:

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?”

They also came into the historical society to find a photograph that  illustrated one way non-Indian immigration to Montana changed the world that Montana Indians knew. That part of the project is discussed in Using Historic Photographs to Complement the Study of Literature

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 here. Jean also asks her students to read the first chapter of Mary Murphy's book on FSA photographers in Montana during the Great Depression: Hope in Hard Times, which we digitized for teachers to use with their students. And, she has students analyze photographs in the Library of Congress's Farm Security Administration photo collection. Details of her project are here.

Do you have a historical novel you'd like to tie to Montana history resources? Let us know and we'll see what we can find.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Nominate an Elementary Teacher to Be Named Montana History Teacher of the Year

Do you know an elementary history teacher who brings history alive for his or her students?  The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History and the Montana Council for History and Civic Education are seeking nominations for the Montana History Teacher of the Year.  The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City and the HISTORY Channel sponsors this award.  The Montana winner will receive a $1,000 check, and they will become finalists in the National History Teacher of the Year award (Montana nominees have placed in the top three.).  In addition, their school library will receive a collection of history books and educational materials! 

Gilder Lehrman is looking for nominations from principals, administrators, or parents.  Below are the qualifications and procedures for this year’s award.   

Qualifications: The nominee must meet the following criteria:
  • 3 years’ teaching experience
  • Full time elementary teacher, (K-6) during the 2014-2015 school year.  Middle and high school teachers may be nominated in the next cycle (2015-2016)
  • Teaches thoughtful and creative United States history. (This may include state and local history, and American history may be taught as an individual subject or through social studies, reading, language arts, and other subjects.)
  • Effectively uses primary sources to engage students in American history.
To nominate a teacher, you merely submit the following:

  1. Visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy and nominate a teacher, which will include providing contact information for you your and your nominee as well as a very brief statement about why your nominee should be honored. Deadline for nomination is February 1, 2015.  That’s all you have to do.
  2. Once you submit your nominations, your nominee will be asked to submit supporting materials via an online submission form by March 16, 2015.  A committee of  Montana educators will receive their materials and select a winner by May 11, 2015.
  3. If you have questions, visit www.gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy or e-mail your state coordinator: James Bruggeman at james.bruggeman@mchce.netPlease do not send nominations to me! Your nominations and your nominee’s submission must be done on line at the Gilder-Lehman website. 

P.S. Just after I post this, I’m heading over to the Capitol to celebrate the  25th Annual Montana Statehood Centennial Bell Award Winner, Montana City middle school teacher  Moffie Funk. Moffie is being recognized for teaching Montana history—both the creativity and enthusiasm she shows for the subject in her own classroom and the work she did as a teacher-advisor on the Montana Historical Society’s textbook, Montana: Stories of the Land. For that project, Moffie created the worksheets, tests, end-of-chapter material, and answer keys that are used by teachers across the state. It’s great stuff. If you haven’t already, I urge you to check it out for yourself on the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website. And congratulations Moffie!

Monday, November 3, 2014

50th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Today's the actual anniversary of the Nov. 3 vote that passed women's suffrage in Montana. (You can find out how  your county voted here.)

 I've been very focused this last year on the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage (see posts here, here, and here.) But there are other incredibly significant anniversaries in 2014, among them the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

"Teaching with the Library of Congress" has had some good blog posts about primary source documents on the American Memory Project to help teach the Civil Rights Act, including "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Title VII: The Freedom to Work" and "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Making Our Nation Whole." TPS Barat Primary Source Nexus provides information on interviews collected as part of the Library of Congress's Civil Rights oral history project in this "Collection Spotlight." In addition, the Library of Congress has created a database of civil rights oral history collections in libraries, museums, universities, and historical societies in 49 states and the District of Columbia--including Montana.

The Library of Congress focuses primarily on national topics and resources--but these issues certainly affected Montana as well. Did you know, for example, that many Great Falls restaurants didn't serve African Americans patrons? Or that in Billings, Hispanic children were at one time not allowed to participate in the annual Easter egg hunt or go to bowling alleys? Montana Indians, of course, also faced much prejudice--including being denied their right to vote. Passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act helped begin to change these discriminatory practices--as did local organizing on the part of African Americans, Indians, Hispanics, and their allies.

Finding resources to teach the Montana civil rights story is difficult. Chapter 5 of Montana Mosaic (in every public middle and high school library and on YouTube) includes a short discussion of Mexican Americans in the Yellowstone Valley, including their experience with discrimination. (You can find the teacher's guide for this video here.) Montana Legacy: Essays on History, People, and Place (Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2002) has articles on Indian voting rights and Mexican Americans in the Yellowstone Valley. The Montan
a Historical Society's Montana History Revealed blog has an article on the 1964 Civil Rights Act at Fifty: Senator Lee Metcalf and the Fight for Equality (as well as interesting articles on Metcalf's role in passing War on Poverty legislation.) In addition, photo archivist Matthew Peek (who authored the Montana History Revealed articles and has cataloged the Society's Lee Metcalf collection) has a written longer essay, including extensive bibliographic references, on Metcalf's role in the Civil Rights Act (as well as the Economic Opportunity Act and the Wilderness Act, which also turned fifty in 2014.)

 There's an interesting post on the Women's History Matters website about the Montana Federation of Colored Women's Clubs' attempt to get civil rights legislation through the Montana legislature in the 1950s. (Interestingly, prejudice against Hispanics and Indians were a greater barrier to passing comprehensive civil rights legislation than prejudice against African Americans.) That website also features an article on Salish voting rights activist Lucille Otter

But, really, this is a history that still needs to be written. Maybe your students can help--by investigating the topic locally through interviews and preserving that information for future generations. Find more about student oral history projects here.

Friday, October 31, 2014

IEFA Resources

I'm particularly proud of our Indian Education for All resources--and because of where they reside on our website, I'm not sure everyone's aware of them, so I thought I'd provide a quick overview here.

"Picturing the Past: Understanding Cultural Change and Continuity among Montana's Indians through Historic Photographs" is a two-day learning activity designed to complement Chapter 11 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Recommended for use in grades seven through twelve, the activity challenges students to examine historical photographs while considering issues of cultural change and continuity over time.

The Art of Storytelling: Plains Indian Perspectives (K-12). These materials are designed to provide you and your students with an exciting way to incorporate Indian Education for All into your art curriculum. The material includes grade-appropriate lesson plans which are aligned with the Essential Understandings and the Montana Art Content Standards; three PowerPoint presentations, one focused on winter counts and two about ledger art (one of which is designed for grades K-6 and the other for grades 7-12); and additional material that explores winter counts and biographical art.

"Native American Trade Routes and the Barter Economy" includes two learning activities intended designed to complement Chapter 2 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Designed for use in grades seven through nine, Activity One, "Resources and Routes," focuses primarily on mapping pre-contact trade routes, with a special emphasis on Montana. Activity Two, "Trading Times," asks students to simulate the process through which various products from different regional tribes were bartered and disseminated to gain a better understanding of pre-contact barter economy and how it compares with the modern-day cash economy.

"Mining Sacred Ground: Environment, Culture, and Economic Development on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation" is a learning activity designed to familiarize students with an important and contentious issue now facing Montana's native peoples: whether or not to develop their reservation's coal and coal-bed methane resources. Recommended for use in grades seven through twelve, this activity challenges students to better appreciate the complexities of promoting resource-based economic development when such action conflicts with traditional cultural values.
"When Worlds Collide: The Salish People Encounter the Lewis and Clark Expedition" is a flexible one- to four-day learning activity designed to complement Chapter 4 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Recommended for use in grades seven through nine, the activity challenges students to grapple with historical evidence and to better recognize the complexity of native-white encounters.

"Blood on the Marias: Understanding Different Points of View Related to the Baker Massacre of 1870" is a flexible one- to three-day learning activity designed to complement Chapter 7 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Recommended for use in grades seven through twelve, the activity challenges students to grapple with historical evidence and to better recognize the complexity of native-white encounters. In considering a variety of historic documents, students will have an opportunity to raise questions and draw meaningful conclusions about a historically significant event: the Baker (also known as Marias) Massacre.

A Beautiful Tradition: Ingenuity and Adaptation in a Century of Plateau Women's Art (Designed for 4th-12th) These materials are designed to provide you and your students with an exciting way to study this colorful art form while incorporating Indian Education for All in your classroom. There are three grade-appropriate versions of this curriculum: fourth/fifth grademiddle school, and high school. These interdisciplinary units include grade appropriate lesson plans, aligned with the Essential Understandings; PowerPoint presentations; worksheets; and other material that explores this remarkable art form.

"Hearing Native Voices: Analyzing Differing Tribal Perspectives in the Oratory of Sitting Bull and Plenty Coups" is a flexible one- to three-day activity designed to complement Chapter 7 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. Recommended for use in grades seven through twelve, the activity focuses on excerpts from a number of speeches and addresses given by two well-known leaders of native peoples closely associated with the story of Montana's past: Sitting Bull, of the Hunkpapa Sioux, and Plenty Coups, of the Crow. This lesson seeks to challenge students' preconceived stereotypes of American Indians as one-dimensional, inflexible caricatures who were merely acted upon by outside forces. In comparing and contrasting brief excerpts of these leaders' speeches, students will come to appreciate that great diversity existed among individual American Indian leaders and the ways they responded to changing circumstances during the late nineteenth century.

"Montana's Landless Indians and the Assimilation Era of Federal Indian Policy: A Case of Contradiction" is a week-long primary-source based unit designed to introduce students to the history of the landless Métis, Cree, and Chippewa Indians in Montana between 1889 and 1916, while giving them an opportunity to do their own guided analysis of historical and primary source materials. In this Common Core-aligned unit, students will wrestle with issues of perspective, power, ideology, and prejudice and will closely examine the role Montana newspapers played in shaping public opinion toward the tribes’ attempts to maintain economic independence and gain a land base and political recognition.

p.s. Just as I was writing this post, I saw a notice from Humanities Montana, which sponsors the fabulous free-to-you Speakers in the School program. Among the speakers that they will send to your school are Darnell and Smokey Rides At The Door, Blackfeet traditionalists, historians, educators. The way it works: You contact Darnell and Smokey directly and set up an agreeable time and (406) 338-2607 or dratd@3rivers.net

Then you complete an online application.

Here's a description of their program: Two South Peigan elders and traditionalists share the history of the South Peigan from their genesis stories through to their contemporary way of life. Audiences learn about the South Peigan origination stories, spirituality, language, songs, relationship to the cosmos, family dynamics, and role of arts and sciences in Indian life. These topics are melded together to give a greater appreciation of the Ampskapii Pukuni of Montana. The presentation captures a worldview expressed in modern context and explores where tradition meets technology, from "smoke signals to satellites."

Other Humanities Montana Speaker in theSchools IEFA and Montana history programs can be found here

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What do elections and wildflowers have in common? Check out this new lesson plan to find out.

Looking for a nonpartisan way to teach your fourth through seventh graders about campaigns and elections? One that also has them developing research skills with a science focus and exploring primary sources in the form of historic newspapers? Check out the latest addition to our lesson plans: Montana’s State Flower: A Lesson in Civic Engagement.

This seven-period, Common Core-aligned unit asks students to recreate (and investigate) the 1894 Floral Emblem campaign organized by Bozeman suffragist Mary Long Alderson. Alderson organized the campaign on the advice of Susan B. Anthony, who believed that such non-controversial "practice" campaigns could teach women the political skills they needed to win the right to vote.

This lesson is designed to introduce your students to electoral politics, just as the original floral emblem campaign introduced women to the political process,

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Using historic photographs to complement the study of literature

I've talked to several teachers who've had success integrating historic photographs in their students' study of historical fiction.

Jason's Gold (the story of a journey to the Klondike gold rush) is based in part on the authors' research in the Hegg Photograph Collection. So it's no surprise that Hegg's photos make perfect illustration for the novel. A teacher (I'd give credit, but I'm drawing a blank on the name) told me that she had her students visit the Hegg photo database after they'd finished the novel to choose a picture (or three) to illustrate different chapters. She asked them to choose a quote to demonstrate what passage they were illustrating and to write a paragraph about the historical image.

Jill Van Alstyne of Helena High had her sophomore honors students visit the Montana Historical Society Research Center as part of their study of Fools Crow. They had several tasks (see here), but one of them was to find a historic photograph that illustrated a way that non-Indian immigration to Montana changed the world that Montana Indians knew. The actual assignment, called "My Home Montana" is copied below:

My Home Montana
Different people throughout time have called Montana “home.” For example, the Pikuni band of Blackfeet in the 1800s made their home in northern Montana, and their lives in connection to the land are described by James Welch in his historical novel Fools Crow.
How did white immigration into Montana change the world that natives knew? Find one photograph that illustrates an aspect of this transformation. Answer the following:
  • Who took the photo (if known)?
  • When and where was it taken (if known)?
  • For what purpose do you think this photo was taken? (advertising, family history, documentation, etc.)
  • How does the photo illustrate this transformation? (Write one paragraph)
  • Staple your paragraph to the photocopy of the photo you chose and turn it in for 35 points.
Have you had success using historic photographs to enrich your study of literature? Let me know what's worked in your classroom, and I'll share out.

For more ideas for teaching with photographs, see here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two Great PowerPoint-based Lesson Plans

Last year we revamped our website. I tried to be conscientious about updating all the links that broke as a result, but last week, while preparing for the MEA-MFT educator conference, I realized that the links to download the PowerPoints haven't been working. We've fixed these now and I highly recommend both lessons for fourth grade and up.
"Picturing the Past: Understanding Cultural Change and Continuity among Montana's Indians through Historic Photographs" is a two-day learning activity designed to complement Chapter 11 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. The activity challenges students to examine historical photographs while considering issues of cultural change and continuity over time.
The Montana Historical Society created the lesson plan "Railroads Transform Montana" to complement Chapter 9 of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook. The lesson -- which includes a PowerPoint presentation -- emphasizes the how trains affected the social, economic, and physical landscape of Montana.
We do our best to keep our links up to date, but I need your help. If you ever come across a broken link in material the Montana Historical Society has produced, please let me know. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

IEFA sessions at MEA-MFT

Jennifer Stadum at the Indian Education Division of OPI created this handy list of all the IEFA related sessions she could find at MEA-MFT. Thanks, Jennifer!

MEA-MFT: IEFA Related Sessions Cheat Sheet


K-12 MCCS for Mathematics with IEFA – Justine Jam
08:00 AM - 08:50 AM      SHS206
This workshop is to provide “processes and proficiencies”, which includes problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, representation, and connections. Integrating IEFA within a culturally relevant context allows students to investigate mathematical reasoning and apply the concepts to solve problems in everyday life, society and the workplace.

Montana Indian Poetry-Themes and Strategies – Dorothea Susag
* (Offered once Thursday and once Friday)
09:00 AM - 09:50 AM      MCAD05
Using Birthright—Born to Poetry: Montana Indian Poetry, participants will practice reading/writing strategies that meet MCCS while they make connections between lessons/texts/units they teach and poems in this collection. Each will receive a copy of the collection.

Analyzing Historic Images to Meet MCCS (7-12) – Deb Mitchell
10:00 AM - 11:50 AM      SHS246
Deb Mitchell, Program Specialist at the Montana Historical Society will demonstrate analysis of historic images through Visual Thinking Strategies along with the importance of learning to source images, and aligning to meet MCCS for grades 7-12.

The Round House: A Book Trailer – Anna Baldwin
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM      MCAD05
Arlee HS students’ collaborative project, a digital book trailer for Erdrich's The Round House, will showcase their critical thinking about the plot and characters and demonstrate how digital literacy can simultaneously address the Common Core standards and Indian Education for All.

Saving Lives with IEFA – Mike Jetty
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM       SHS244
Saving lives with IEFA. Affecting more lives than all other preventable deaths, tobacco use is the single greatest cause of preventable death, annually killing 1,400 Montanans. The tobacco industry spends $27,000,000 marketing in Montana yearly. Use IEFA content to show students how culture, media, technology, and tobacco marketing influence choices.

Native People of the North - Donna Love
01:00 PM - 01:50 PM       SHS502
From time immemorial Native Alaskans have lived a subsistence lifestyle getting everything they needed from nature. Explore the main groups of the Far North and how they lived before "first contact" (with Europeans), including food, shelter, clothing and where they lived.

Information Transfer the Key to Human Development – Tim Ryan
02:00 PM - 02:50 PM       Auditorium
Human Development is based on effective transfer of knowledge and information. From our ancestors beginnings on this earth we have been passing down the knowledge to keep ourselves safe, comfortable and prosperous. Will we be able to continue in light of future doom? TEK or Traditional Ecological Knowledge maybe the answer.


Indian Sports Mascots and Critical Literacy – Mike Jetty
02:00 PM - 02:50 PM       SHS244
 “What’s the big deal with Indian mascots, why don’t they just get over it?” This session will examine the hegemonic forces that helped shape the current social environment that allows for ongoing stereotypical portrayals of American Indians. The workshop will provide resources and strategies for teaching contemporary American Indian issues.

Native Games of the North - Donna Love
02:00 PM - 02:50 PM       SHS502
From time immemorial, Alaskan Natives have lived a subsistence lifestyle gathering everything they needed from nature. They developed games of strength, endurance, balance, and agility to stay fit through the long winter months. Join author Donna Love to learn about these unique games.

Mentoring, Achievement & American Indian Students - Glenda McCarthy
02:00 PM - 02:50 PM       MCAD13
We will present information about successful programs at Senior High to better engage and support American Indian student achievement, including a teacher-student mentoring program, targeted tutoring and celebrating culture throughout the school.

Contemporary American Indian Issues – Terry Kendrick
03:00 PM - 03:50 PM       MCAD13
This session will address ways to incorporate current issues in Indian Country and tribal sovereignty into the classroom.

Reading a Treaty--Loss and Survival – Dorothea Susag
04:00 PM - 04:50 PM       MCHB01
Using DVD clips, Montana Indian poems, and portions of “Agreement [regarding the Fort Belknap Reservation] made Jan. 21, 1887” participants will use reading/writing strategies to understand perspective and the ways underlying meaning of treaties impacted Montana’s Indian People and how those people have survived.


Indian Music: Even More Than Drums & Flutes - Scott Prinzing
08:00 AM - 09:50 AM      MCHB01
While drums and flutes are still important in American Indian culture, Native musicians have made significant contributions to virtually every major genre of music, including jazz, pop, rock, country western and hip-hop. Recent video profiles of Montana Indian musicians produced by Scott Prinzing for OPI will be featured.

Crossing Boundaries: IEFA Visual Arts K-12 Lesson – Teresa Heil
08:00 AM - 09:50 AM      SHS186
View the newly created IEFA visual arts model lesson and explore selected components from the learning plan. Discuss how it meets MT Standards for the Arts, IEFA Essential Understandings and also cites MCCS for ELA. Gain access to new resources which encourage students to gain knowledge about MT Indian tribes.
Montana Indian Poetry-Themes and Strategies – Dorothea Susag
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM      MCAD05
Using Birthright—Born to Poetry: Montana Indian Poetry, participants will practice reading/writing strategies that meet MCCS while they make connections between lessons/texts/units they teach and poems in this collection. Each will receive a copy of the collection.

Reaching Native students, Teaching Native Content – Molly Joyce
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM      MCAD17
How can we provide students with authentic literary voices that resonate with their own lives? What are the challenges? In this workshop, we will share ways to overcome censorship issues, particularly with American Indian texts, and we will share online resources and strategies for engaging students that address the MCCS. We will uncover how the integration of IEFA can lead to deep understandings of text.

Wanji Oyate Education Cohort Speaks Out - Jioanna Carjuzaa
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM      MCAD11
Wanji Oyate Education Cohort provides academic, personal, career, and financial support and guidance to American Indian pre-service teachers at MSU. In this session Wanji Oyate members share the barriers and successes they face as well as their experiences with Indian Education for All on their journey to joining the teaching corps.

Fort Peck PlaceNames: Integration and MCCS – Jennifer Stadum
11:00 AM - 12:50 PM       SHS243
Using the Fort Peck PlaceNames Curriculum participants will experience culturally relevant instructional practices to teach about the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation. They will gain strategies to integrate the Common Core ELA standards and use primary documents that are significant to the tribes.

Class 7 Native Language Teacher's Best Practices - Terry Brockie
03:00 PM - 03:50 PM       MCAD13
This sectional is an opportunity for Class 7 Native Language Teachers to present & share methodology of what they are doing in their respective classrooms and develop a working network or possible association of Class 7 teachers statewide. Teacher are encouraged to bring examples of their work.

Check out all the great Montana Writing Project Offerings, too!
The NWP keynote speaker is SONDRA PERL!!! Treat yourself to this amazing teacher/author’s presentation on Thursday, October 16, 10:00-11:50 at MCHB06.
10/17 –Thursday (MWP and IEFA Integration)
Heather Bruce – Writing and IEFA: 9:00-10:50 MCHB11
Casey Olsen – Stillwater Co. IEFA Driving Tour: 3:00-3:50 MCHB06
Casey Olsen – Framework for Teaching Argument: 4:00-4:50 MCHB06