Thursday, September 25, 2014

Favorite High School Lessons

Over the last few weeks I have shared elementary and middle school teachers' answers to the following prompt: “Describe (in brief) the best Montana history or IEFA lesson or project or resource your taught this year--the one you will make time for next year no matter what.” As promised, here are the answers we received from high school teachers to the same question.

Gary Carmichael in Whitefish created a "lesson based around campaign finance and 'Dark Money'. As the campaign season evolved the lesson entitled 'I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale' kept changing as things were added and removed to fit what was happening. I used this lesson two years ago and will modify it and use it this fall during the elections.

Bruce Wendt of Billings wrote: "A quick hour long exercise I do is to first discuss how street names reflect communities and how we often use streets to honor folks from the past.  I then have the students list the street names around West High (include Broadwater, Alderson, King, Custer, Howard, Miles, Lewis, Clark and so on).  A rather interesting list is it not?  I then ask the students to list street names that reflect Native Americans from the past.  We can list tomahawk, Navaho, Tipi, etc.  We do have Sacajawea Park, Indian Cliffs, Two Moon Park (the latter is rarely mentioned).  The point of course is how we remember the past and how we drive (literally) on it every day."

Julia McCarthy-McLaverty of Missoula wrote: "I love the lesson(s) on the railroads in Montana & will continually use them.  Additionally, I use various different lessons from the Richest Hills NEH Summer Workshops focusing on mining." By the way: We're going to be offering the weeklong NEH-funded Richest Hills workshop again this summer. Stay tuned for details. Re railroads: I hope Julia is referring to our PowerPoint lesson "Railroads Transform Montana," because it is one of my favorites. 

Lorrie Davis Tatsey of Browning found last year's Indian Education For All posts "most useful, and adaptable." She also appreciated the information on teaching Montana women's history and Historical Community Research 

Dottie Susag, who travels to classroom through Humanities Montana's Speaker in the Schools program, wrote: "I just finished teaching a 50 minute lesson using clips from PLAYING FOR THE WORLD, with readings from FULL COURT QUEST.  We looked at the Fort Shaw Indian Girls Basketball Team, responded to the question of how people survive cultural and personal loss and survival." (By the way: Speakers in the Schools is a FREE way to bring in guest speakers. You should check it out!)

Toni Henneman from Valier wrote: "I found a list of Native American legends on firstpeople.us (a great resource!) and had each student choose a tribe and a different legend. They then read through, summaraized it, and created "comic books" for their legend.  I found they really got into this since most of the legends deal with very visual elements and good action which lends themselves to good comics or 'graphic novels'."

Other teachers contributed their thoughts anonymously:

"I loved the website that gave descriptions of New Deal projects by state so students could look at local New Deal work."  

"Chapter 17, of the Montana: Stories of the Land textbook is a very good chapter. The kids love the history of the car in Montana."

Have a favorite lesson (either one you created or one you didn't but love) that you didn't get around to sharing? It's never too late. Email me at mkohl@mt.gov and I'll spread the word.

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