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.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Resources for Teaching about Women's Suffrage in Montana

As I've noted in previous posts, including Women's History Matters and Montana Women's History Articles to Use in the Classroom, 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in Montana.

In celebration, we've created the Women's History Matters website, with resources to spread awareness about Montana women's contributions, challenges, and stories.

We are working on curriculum--and are planning a educator workshop focused on incorporating women's history into the classroom for June 16-18 in Helena. (Mark the date and stay tuned for more information.) Meanwhile, I wanted to point out a few resources that might available that you may want to use to teach about women's suffrage in Montana, and nationally.

We've gathered links to Montana resources on the Women's History Matters web site under the suffrage tab. These include a brief history of the suffrage struggle (a longer one is here); links to historic newspaper articles about women's suffrage (digitized by Chronicling America); a video on the history of Billings suffragist Hazel Hunkins; a Montana women's suffrage bibliography, and an interactive map that shows how each Montana county voted when on the question in 1914.

It's all cool, but I'm most excited about the map, which did exactly what a good map is supposed to do--helped me visualize patterns more clearly. Click on any county to see the total number of votes cast, and how many voters supported and opposed suffrage, in that county.

It isn't Montana, but I'm also in love with this Lady Gaga parody on YouTube: Suffrage: Bad Romance. If you know your suffrage history you can find at least 10 sound historical references to actual events during the campaign for suffrage--and maybe more. (Plus--it's just a great video. "I laughed. I cried." Really.)

P.S. I'm heading to St. Louis next week on vacation so I won't be posting--but I'll be back at it March 3.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Now Available: The Montana Geospatial Education Online Toolbox

The new Montana Geospatial Education Online Toolbox (MTGEO Toolbox) is now available!

Educators and teachers can easily access lesson plans and tutorials through the Montana Geo-
graphic Alliance website. Activities include

  • Creating a Community Tour
  • Exploring Map Projections in ArcMap
  • GPS Accuracy 
  • Magnetic Declination 
  • Mapping a Story 
  • The Amazing Race 
  • The Hand-held Compass

Teachers can also borrow classroom sets of GPS units and compasses for up to four weeks. All the lessons correspond with National Geography Standards.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Viewing, Printing, and Saving Maps from the Library of Congress

Do you share my love-hate relationship with digitized map collections? I love the fact that these amazing sources are available online for me to use. I get REALLY frustrated trying to navigate and print them.

If you feel the same way, perhaps Primary Source Nexus's tutorial "Viewing, Saving & Printing Maps from the Library of Congress" will help.

Looking for more map resources? Check out these earlier posts:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nominate a History Hero

The Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees is seeking nominations from across the state for its prestigious Heritage Keepers Awards. Do you know of someone in your community whose local history work deserves to be recognized? If so, read on.

Two Heritage Keepers Awards are presented each year to those who have had a significant impact on generating interest in and the preservation of the rich and diverse history of Montana. One award is given for eastern Montana and another for western Montana with the dividing line at Lewistown. The awards will be presented at the MHS Montana History Conference, September 18-20, 2014 in Helena. (Put those dates on your calendar and think about attending--it is going to be a great one.)

One of the purposes of the award is to encourage everyone to become engaged and involved with their own personal and local histories. “Better understanding of the past in the present gives us knowledge to better our future for the good of our families, our state, and our nation,” MHS Trustee Shirley Groff of Butte explained.

Nominations can be submitted for a living individual or a currently active group that has significantly contributed to history or heritage with a statewide, regional or community focus covering any aspect of the long and varied history of the state.

Examples of nominees are cultural groups, artists, educators, authors, genealogists, historians, preservationists, archivist or historical groups and clubs.  The nominees’ work or project should enhance, promote or encourage interest in Montana history.

Nominations must be received by April 1, and nomination forms are available on line at or by calling 406-444-1799.There are three questions limited to 500 word answers: contributions to Montana history; strengths and impacts of the history goals achieved by the nominee; and a biographical sketch of the nominee. Supporting documentation such as news clips, commendations and letters of support can be attached.

Past award recipients can be viewed here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

PowerPoints/Chapter Notes for Montana: Stories of the Land

Jack Young of Harlem High School wrote me recently asking if I knew of anyone who had made chapter notes and/or PowerPoint presentations for the chapters in the textbook Montana: Stories of the Land.

If you have—and you are willing to share them with him—please contact me at mkohl@mt.gov and I'll pass along your material or otherwise put you two in touch. (I’d be interested in seeing your PowerPoints/Chapter Notes as well, but I doubt I could share them widely without a fair amount of work due to image copyright issues.)

Another Option: Student-Generated PowerPoints

One option for teachers interested in creating this sort of resource is to assign specific chapters to individual students or groups of students, making them responsible for constructing the PowerPoints and for sharing them with the class. Students could copy images from the PDFs we’ve posted online of each chapter  as part of the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and Online Teacher's Guide.

Reading specialist Sue Dailey worked with us during the creation of the textbook to make sure it was easy to outline by insisting that

  1. That each chapter opened with a set of questions that previewed the main chapter topics (Read to Find Out) 
  2. That each chapter also had a “Big Picture” statement summarizing of its main theme, and 
  3. That we incorporated clear, consisted subheads into the chapter organization

If students used these guideposts (especially the subheads and big picture statement), I bet their chapter notes/PowerPoints would be pretty successful.

PowerPoints that Complement (But Don’t Summarize) Textbook Chapters

Although we’ve never created PowerPoints that summarize the material in the textbook, we have created several PowerPoints that supplement and expand upon that material.

MHS Interpretive Historian Ellen Baumler created a PowerPoint-based lesson plan, "Children of the Mining Camps," which links to a PowerPoint presentation of the same title to complement Chapters 6 and 10.

Ellen also created a PowerPoint-based lesson plan, "What They Left Behind," which links to a PowerPoint presentation on the various types of archaeological sites found in Montana, to complement Chapter 2.

The PowerPoint-based lesson plan, "Railroads Transform Montana," complements Chapter 9—and is one of my favorites. The lesson—which includes a PowerPoint presentation—emphasizes the how trains affected the social, economic, and physical landscape of Montana.

And our new hands-on history footlocker, Coming to Montana: Immigrants from around the World, includes a PowerPoint lesson on twentieth-century immigrants (Hutterites, Hispanics, and Hmong) that would expand nicely on Chapter 20. (See Lesson 7 in the User Guide for the PowerPoint script and a link to the PowerPoint itself). (For more on this fabulous new footlocker, see this earlier post).