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, June 6, 2014

Summer Break and Survey

This blog is going on hiatus for summer break. I'll see you here in August but if your travels bring you to Helena this summer, please stop in and say "hello." And of course, don't hesitate to contact me if I can help you as you prepare for your classes next fall: mkohl@mt.gov.

P.S. There's still time to complete our annual survey and to share your favorite lesson. At this moment, we have received 51 responses--so you still have a chance to WIN (prizes are going to the fifth, fifteenth, thirty-first and FIFTY-FIFTH person to take the survey).

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Two More Professional Development Opportunities: In Helena and Billings

Two more really interesting summer professional development opportunities have crossed my desk.

Visual Thinking Strategies

  • Date: June 19 and 20, 2014
  • Place: Holter Museum of Art (day 1) and Montana Historical Society (day 2) in Helena
  • Time: 10-4, both days
  • Cost: $75 (includes lunches, snacks, and all materials)
  • OPI Renewal Units: Yes
  • Contact to register and for more information: Sondra@holtermuseum.org
Holter Museum of Art Curator of Education and VTS Trainer Sondra Hines will offer instruction on implementing Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) into the classroom. Visual Thinking Strategies uses art to teach visual literacy, thinking and communications skills—listening and expressing oneself. During this 2-day Practicum participants will observe, analyze and practice facilitating VTS discussions with coaching. For students, VTS increases class participation and engagement while deepening language ability, writing skills and visual literacy using art as the subject for discussion. Teachers using VTS provide opportunity for students to develop and practice critical thinking skills such as observation, drawing conclusions, making inferences, arguing in evidence, elaboration, and flexible thinking through the revision of ideas. Process for assessing student growth will be presented. There will be practical work in art galleries, teaching with critique and thinking through image choices. Time will also be devoted to how VTS aligns with and supports Common Core. Throughout, ample time will be provided for discussion and reflection.
Visual Thinking Strategies requires 1 hour/month of class time and gives students time to practice discussion skills, listening skills, divergent thinking, critical thinking, and making inferences based on evidence using art objects as the catalyst for dialog.  It is proven to increase writing and communication skills and can be used across the curriculum. This Practicum will also look at how VTS can be incorporated into a PCAP.

American Ideals

  • Date: July 14
  • Place: Lincoln Center in Billings
  • Time: 8:30-3:45 (coffee and socializing at 8:30--workshop begins at 9:00)
  • Cost: Free
  • OPI Renewal Units: 5
  • Contact to register and for more information: wendtb@billingsschools.org
West High School history and English teacher Bruce Wendt and Humanities Montana Director Ken Egan will offer a day-long workshop in Billings focusing on nineteenth century Montana literature and history "that has gives us a sense of who we are as a nation."

According to the workshop description, "The Civil War and the conceptual ideas that underlie American values played out on the Montana frontier in 1864.  Miners, Native Americans, town-builders, ranchers and other intrepid spirits wove together a new perception of what it meant to be American.  Diaries, letters, oral histories and other commentary from the time provide an opportunity for students to understand what drove their ancestors and what created Montana and the United States.  Common Core standards require students and teachers to read and analyze literature from multiple genres; this workshop will introduce teachers to concepts that will enhance their own knowledge and skills to spark discovery in their students."