Monday, April 25, 2016

Humanities Montana Helps Teachers

Humanities Montana has had great material for teachers for a while now, but its new website makes it easier to learn more about programs specifically designed for schools.

These include

  • Speakers in the Schools, a program that lets you bring in humanities speakers at NO CHARGE! "Dozens of expert presenters offer over 70 educational programs on topics covering regional and world history (including several living history presentations), Native American culture, literature, and civics." 
  • Letters About Literature, "a national program promoting reading and writing for children grades 4-10, sponsored by Humanities Montana's Center for the Book and the Library of Congress. Each fall, students are invited to submit personal letters to authors of their choosing, living or dead, whose books they have found especially meaningful." 
  • Native American Lit Study Guides, created by longtime ELA teacher Dottie Susag. This collection of resources includes extensive annotated bibliographies of Native American literary works as well as discussion questions to accompany The Toughest Indian in the World by Sherman Alexie, The Surrounded by D'Arcy McNickle, Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac, and several other titles.  
  • Montana Authors Project, which features MAPs (get the pun?) that bring favorite and important works of regional literature to digital life. Each interactive page serves as a virtual tour of an author's imagination, as well as an actual road map of a literary setting. 

Humanities Montana also offers grant funding for special projects. According to their guidelines, HM encourages "proposals that stimulate statewide dialogue on humanities topics, foster discussion between humanities scholars and the public, [and] strengthen cooperative relationships among communities and cultural organizations (museums, libraries, schools, tribal organizations, etc.)." They are out of money this year, but will be accepting proposals again after October 1 for next school year. Their Opportunity Grants--under $1,000--are probably the easiest for those new to the process: "Applications can be submitted any time, but at least four weeks prior to the supported program." 

Summer's coming--and with it time to dream and scheme. Perhaps there's a community-based project that you've you've been wanting to do with your students, but have been stymied because you didn't have money for buses or other supplies. Need inspiration? Read about some of the projects other Montana teachers have conducted--many with no outside funding at all. Then talk to Humanities Montana. Maybe they can help you make it happen. 

P.S. There is still time for your middle and high school students to apply for the 2016 Montana Preserve America Youth Summit, "Next Generation Stewards: Expanding Connections." Attendees at this all-expenses paid workshop will spend a day at Grant Kohrs National Historic Site, as well as time in Deer Lodge, Bannack, Virginia City, and Butte. Students will stay in the dorms at Montana Tech. During the summit, participants will

  • Explore nationally significant historic properties
  • Participate in hands-on learning activities
  • Investigate interpretative approaches for National Parks and historic places
  • Study new programs and approaches to preservation and archaeology
  • Interact with other students and national and state leaders
  • Serve through work on an important community service project
  • Create recommendations for future generations
  • Develop creative ideas for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service
  • BECOME leaders! Their ideas will be shared at a public Town Hall. 
Applications are due May 2

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