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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 1: The Last Day to Apply for a Travel Scholarship to Attend Teaching Montana Women's History Matters!

Teaching Women’s History Matters! Montana Historical Society’s Summer Educator Workshop will be held at the Montana Historical Society, 225 N. Roberts St., Helena, June 16-18 (Monday, June 16, 1:00-6:30, Tuesday, June 17, 8:30-5:00, and Wednesday, June 18, 8:30-12:30.) Participants must attend all three days.

Sixteen OPI Renewal Units will be provided.
Limit: 25
Cost: Free

We are offering a limited number of travel scholarships. Applications are due May 1 (that's tomorrow--but the application will only take a few minutes to complete).

Register for the workshop.
View the agenda below.

Montana Women’s History Matters Agenda

Monday, June 16
1:00-1:40 Introductions
1:40-2:30 Women’s History 101: An Introduction to Workshop Themes (Anya Jabour, University of Montana Professor in the History and past co-director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program)
2:30-2:50 Writing Reflection/Discussion
2:50-3:00 Break
3:00-5:00 Mining Childhood/Doing Oral History (Janet Finn, University of Montana Professor of Social Work and author of Mining Childhood: Growing Up in Butte, 1900-1960)
5:00-6:30 Opening Reception/Scavenger Hunt
Tuesday, June 17
8:30-8:45 Discussion of Day 1 (especially scavenger hunt results)
8:45-10:30 Women’s History for Elementary Students (Deb Mitchell, Montana Historical Society Program Specialist)
10:30-10:40 Break
10:40-11:30 Women and the Changing Law: A Historical Overview, Montana State Law Library staff
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:30-1:20 Taking Action: A Political History of Women in Montana (Diane Sands, independent scholar on women's history, Montana state representative)
1:20-2:50 Using Personal Narratives to Learn about Indigenous Women's Lives during the Treaty Period (Laura Ferguson, Indian education consultant and curriculum developer and a contributor to the Women’s History Matters blog)
2:50-3:00 Break
3:00-5:00 Women’s History Tour (Ellen Baumler, Montana Historical Society Interpretive Historian)
Wednesday, June 18
8:30-9:00 Discussion of Day 2
9:00-9:45 Overview of Available Resources (Martha Kohl, Montana Historical Society Historical Specialist and Women’s History Matters Project Manager)
9:45-10:00 Break
10:00-11:15 Crowd-Sourcing Project: Gathering Resources to Integrate Women’s History into the Teaching of Montana History (participants, led by Martha Kohl)
11:15-12:15 Crow Women in the Twentieth Century (Mardell Hogan Plainfeather, retired National Park Service supervisory park ranger, Crow field director of the American Indian Tribal Histories Project at the Western Heritage Center in Billings, and coauthor of The Woman Who Loved Mankind: The Life of a Twentieth-Century Crow Elder, by Lillian Bullshows Hogan, As told to Barbara Loeb and Mardell Hogan Plainfeather) (awaiting confirmation)
12:15-1:15 Lunch/Evaluations/Depart or Research on your own

Monday, April 28, 2014

Teaching Montana History in Fourth Grade

A few weeks ago a teacher asked me if I knew of a fourth grade textbook for Montana history. Sadly, the answer was no—but it got me thinking about how I would teach Montana history in fourth grade.

First, I would use our textbook Montana: Stories of the Land for reference and to help me organize my unit. Montana: Stories of the Land is written for grades 7-12—but it is a great quick reference for teachers as well—and a fabulous source for images to project on a document reader or by projecting pages from the downloadable PDFs (available for free on the Companion Website. The Companion Website is also packed with primary source units and links to lesson plans that (sometimes) can be adapted to 4th grade--so it is worth spending some time looking at the site. (NOTE: The URL for the Textbook Companion Website has changed.) 

Although I love the textbook, I’d probably start my 4th grade Montana history class with the lesson “Mapping Montana from A-Z.” This interactive lesson teaches map reading skills and familiarizes students with Montana places.

Then, I would build my own textbook using the historical narratives and Amazing Montanan biographies from the footlocker user guides. (You can download the PDFs of the User Guides from the footlocker page of the Montana Historical Society's web site. Usually, student narratives start around page 22--check the table of contents.)

I’d also select various activities from the footlockers to engage the class. Many footlocker lessons can be done WITHOUT ordering the trunk--though ordering the trunk is, of course, better, when possible, because then you have material culture to bring the lessons alive. (You can find information on how to order a footlocker here.) I’d also integrate a few other lesson plans from the MontanaHistorical Society’s Educator Website.

Here’s a quick look at what this curriculum might look like (using textbook chapters as the organizing principle). A few caveats: I’m listing all of our footlockers even though I’m not completely familiar with the contents of all of them. We’re slowly revising them—and, frankly, while many of our footlockers are fabulous, others are less so. Note also that I didn’t spend a lot of time on this—I’ve highlighted a few specific exercises but there are many others to choose from. I've also chosen a few other lesson plans from our educator resources. Finally, if I were really planning this curriculum, I’d spend some time over at OPI’s Indian Education for All Resources page, browsing their lessons as well.

With those caveats, here’s my starting point:

Montana: Stories of the Land (MSOL) Chapter 1: Where the Land Writes History

MSOL Chap. 2: People of the Dog Days
MSOL Chap. 3: From Dog Days to Horse Warriors: Montana's People 1700-1820
MSOL Chap. 4: Newcomers Explore the Region
MSOL Chap. 5: Beaver, Bison, and Black Robes: Montana's Fur Trade, 1800-1860
MSOL Chap. 6: Montana's Gold and Silver Boom, 1862-1893

  • Footlocker: Gold, Silver, and Coal Oh My!: Mining Montana’s Wealth – Chronicles the discoveries that drew people to Montana in the late19th century and how the mining industry developed and declined.
    • My favorite lesson in this footlocker is Muffin Mining Reclamation. It would also be a good lesson to include in later discussions of mining (e.g., copper mining or even contemporary mining in Montana.)
  • While studying the gold rush, I’d certainly spend some time having students explore the Virginia City Post (a Gold Rush era newspaper)—either using the entire Thinking Like a Historian Lesson plan or just the bingo card part of that lesson--or the lesson “What Can I Buy, What could Mary Buy, posted as part of our study guide for Girl from the Gulches: The Story of Mary Ronan.
MSOL Chap. 7: Two Worlds Collide, 1850-1887
MSOL Chap. 8: Livestock and the Open Range, 1850-1887
MSOL Chap. 9: Railroads Link Montana to the Nation
  • "Railroads Transform Montana": A PowerPoint Lesson on railroads.  I really love this interactive PowerPoint that talks about how trains changed everyday life.
  • Footlocker: Coming to Montana: Immigrants from Around the World - Showcases the culture, countries, traditions, and foodways of Montana's immigrants through reproduction clothing, toys, and activities. (Actually lessons align to chapters 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 20 of the textbook, in addition to Chapter 9)
    • I’d spend a good amount of time on this footlocker here—this is the footlocker we just revamped and it is Common Core aligned and extremely rich with primary sources. And—since it covers so much Montana history (industrial mining, homesteading—it really works as an overview for the period 1880-1920) 
MSOL Chap. 11: The Early Reservation Years
  • Footlocker: To Learn A New Way- Through a child's voice, as much as possible, this footlocker explores the late 1800's and early 1900's time in which Montana Indians were moved to reservations, experienced allotment and boarding schools - all of which resulted in dramatic changes in their lands, languages, and way of life.
  • If I had time, I’d probably do My Name Is Sepeetza as a read-aloud. It’s about going to boarding school and the story might be intense for 4th grade. It’s also set in Canada, but it absolutely applies and it really good—but please preview it first to make sure it is appropriate for your students.

MSOL Chap. 13: Homesteading This Dry Land

MSOL Chap. 14: Towns Have Lives, Too 
  • Footlocker: Architecture: It's All Around You - Explores the different architectural styles and elements of buildings, urban and rural, plus ways in which people can preserve buildings for the future.  
  • It would take effort--but doing some sort of community study of your town would be an amazing project.

MSOL Chap. 19: World War II in Montana
  • Footlocker: The Home Fires: Montana and World War II - Describes aspects of everyday life in Montana during the 1941-1945 war years. Illustrates little-known government projects such as the Fort Missoula Alien Detention Center and Civilian Public Service Camps.

MSOL Chap. 22:  Living in a New Montana, 1970-2007

I might also assign a biography project (maybe a “living statues” exhibit—where the students come to life when visitors walk by them)—using the biographical resources posted here.

Pulling together this list, it is interesting to see what’s missing: the War of the Copper Kings, the Great Depression and post-World War II Montana, in particular. To rectify the heavy 19th-century focus, I can imagine instead of doing a biography project, doing an interview project—with students interviewing parents, grandparents, or older neighbors about the Montana of their childhoods. Oral History in the Classroom resources are here. With a fourth grade project, I wouldn’t worry about doing formal oral histories—but I would mine this pamphlet for useful ideas and exercises, including ideas for teaching how to ask good questions and the difference between open and closed questions.

Experienced fourth grade teachers: Any great resources I missed? Any resources I suggested that you think would bomb in a fourth grade class? Other ideas/caveats?

Friday, April 25, 2014

FREE Library of Congress Summer Workshop in Billings

NCCE is offering Montana Educators an exclusive FREE Library of Congress workshop in Billings, Montana, held on July 14-17
This FREE 3 ½ day workshop will focus on using the Library of Congress digital materials as well as local archives and national sites to develop classroom materials for use with Montana’s Indian Education for All Act. 
For more information and to apply today, please visit NCCE Summer 2014.
Guest speakers and field trips to the Little Big Horn College archives and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument will be included free of cost with the workshop. 

Registration is limited to 30 participants.  Montana Continuing Education Units (CRUs) and College Credit available.

Questions? Email Becky Firth, bfirth@ncce.org.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Same Great Material, New URL

Beginning April 16, the Montana: Stories of the Land Companion Website and Teacher's Guide is moving to a new server. The new address is http://svcalt.mt.gov/education/Textbook/TextbookMainPage.asp. Please change your bookmarks.

Montana educators and students will also be able to access the textbook site (as well as links to many other resources) through the Outreach and Interpretation section of the Society's home page: http://mhs.mt.gov/education.aspx. Or--simply visit the Society's main page, www.montanahistoricalsociety.org (or www.mhs.mt.gov) and select "Outreach and Interpretation" from the dropdown bar.

I'll be slowly revising the links listed in past posts on Teaching Montana History. Meanwhile, if you click on a link and you get an error message, please don't panic. Instead:
  1. Look at the URL. Notice that the first three letters after // are "mhs".
  2. Replace the "mhs" with "svcalt".  For example,  http://mhs.mt.gov/education/textbook/Chapter20/Chapter20.asp (the old link to the Chapter 20 material) needs to be changed to http://scvalt.mt.gov/education/textbook/Chapter20/Chapter20.asp.
  3. Push Enter.
Alternately, try looking for the page you want to find on the new textbook site at http://svcalt.mt.gov/education/Textbook/TextbookMainPage.asp. And, of course, if you have any problem finding what you need, email me at mkohl@mt.gov.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Summer Professional Development: IEFA and Archaeology

Of course, I want everyone to consider coming to our FREE Women's History Matters Educator Workshop, June 16-18 I Helena (some travel scholarships available). But if that isn't possible (or of interest), here are some other interesting summer professional development I've come across:

EDU 591 Apsáalooke Basawua Iichia Shoope Aalahputta Koowikooluk: Living Within the Four Base Tipi Poles of the Apsáalooke Homeland Educators will have an opportunity to join a virtual course focused on the Crow Tribe. This educational journey into the homeland of the Apsáalooke people will be divided into four segments, to represent the four directions and full circle of understanding. Taught by Dr. Shane Doyle, students will earn 3 Graduate credits through Montana State University and OPI will provide all required reading materials.   Please contact Sarah Pierce at spierce2@mt.gov or (406) 444-0708 for more details or information.

In addition, Project Archaeology is offering courses this summer at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman and one in Virginia City, MT:

Project Archaeology Educator Field School (EDCI 588-801)Date: August 4-8, 2014
Place: Virginia City, MT
Cost: $564.80 for 2 graduate level credits and lodging included
Register online at http://btc.montana.edu/courses/aspx/descrip3.aspx?TheID=618.

Project Archaeology: Investigating a Plains Tipi (EDCI 591)Date: June 16-19, 2014 OR July 21-24, 2014
Place: Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT
Cost: $539.80 for 2 graduate level credits
Register online at http://btc.montana.edu/courses/aspx/descrip3.aspx?TheID=361 or (for second session) at http://btc.montana.edu/courses/aspx/descrip3.aspx?TheID=352.
To see course descriptions, follow this link. http://projectarchaeology.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ProjectArchaeology_SUM14.pdf. For more information, contact Crystal Alegria at (406) 994-6925 or calegria@montana.edu

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Summer Workshops and Spring Fieldtrips, Part I

Last week I let folks know about our upcoming Women's History Matters Educator Workshop--but we're not the only folks planning summer professional development.

The Montana Writing Project has some excellent workshops on tap for this summer, including Worlds Apart but Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All. The application deadline has moved to April 20--but, according to the organizers, applying sooner is better. A list of their other workshops is here.

Of course, you don't need to wait until summer to receive professional development training. The Montana Indian Education Association will be holding its 33rd annual conference in Missoula, April 17-20, 2014.

On a completely different note, the director at Chief Plenty Coups State Park asked me to let teachers know the park's field trip program. Can you believe I've never been to Plenty Coups home? But I've heard enough about it to know it is a fabulous resource for folks in the Billings area. And--since we're talking about field trips--what's the best history/heritage education related field trip you take your students on? Let me know at mkohl@mt.gov, and I'll share the responses.

I'll post more summer professional development opportunities in coming weeks.

Friday, April 4, 2014

OPI Is Looking for Feedback on Smarter Balance--And I'm Wondering How Smarter Balance is Changing What You Teach

This post is not Montana history or place-based education or teaching with primary sources, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. OPI is looking for classroom teachers’ and school administrators' feedback on their experience administrating the Smarter Balanced Field Test, so it has created a short online survey that includes the following four open-ended questions:

  • If you administered the all computer non-Performance Task (non-PT) portion of the test, please share your comments on the administration of the non-PT, all computer portion of the test.
  • If you administered a Performance Task (PT), please share your comments on the classroom activity and the administration of the PT portion of the online assessment.
  • Did you feel that you were adequately trained for the test administration?
    Please share your comments on the adequacy of the training that you received and any suggestions that you have for improving your preparation for administering the test.
  • What was your students’ response to the online assessment? Please share your comments.

The SBAC Teacher and Administrator Feedback Survey link is posted on the OPI webpage at http://opi.mt.gov/curriculum/MontCAS/.

On a related note, I’m wondering how Smarter Balance is affecting your classrooms in terms of the issues this blog deals with.

My sense is that the Common Core Standards, when implemented correctly, provide a great rationale for using primary sources, teaching students to analyze an author’s point of view, using inquiry, and many of the other things promoted by here. (You can see some of my pro-Common Core Posts here, and here. (Click on the tag "Common Core" at the bottom of this post for more.) But I also have the impression that anxiety about the assessment piece connected to the Common Core standards (Smarter Balance) may be shrinking opportunities for students to conduct real research or engage in place-based learning. I’d be interested in how this dynamic is playing out in your district. Email your comments to mkohl@mt.gov and I will collate them (without including names or other identifying information) to share.