Thursday, May 18, 2017

Teaching Montana History in Fourth or Fifth Grade: Take 2

Every year, I'm asked by fourth and fifth grade teachers if we have an elementary level textbook (not yet--but we are slowly working on it) and for suggestions on how to structure their curriculum.

I wrote out some preliminary thoughts on the topic in 2014, which you can find here. I gave it another go recently--this time with the goal of fitting the curriculum into a quarter. I'm not completely satisfied with what I came up with--and would probably write a completely different plan, featuring different resources next week--but I thought some of you might find it useful as a starting point. I'd love to hear what you think--even if it's outrage that I gave short shrift to your favorite Montana history topic (war of the Copper Kings, anyone?).

I'd love a conversation around this--and to be able to share what you are doing with other teachers across the state who are trying to design their elementary Montana history units, so please write me (and attach your curriculum maps). I'll use what you send to inform our work on the long-awaited fourth grade textbook. I'll also respond with any lesson plans/resources I know of on the topics you think need to be emphasized that aren't listed below. Deal?

By the way, when I refer below to footlockers, I'm referring to our Hands-on History footlocker program. Even if you can't order a footlocker to come to your classroom, I highly recommend you look at the User Guides, which include fourth-grade level narratives and lesson plans. We have 21 different titles--only a few are listed below.

Week 1: Montana Geography

o   Video: Introducing the First Nations of Montana to the World, http://visitmt.com/places_to_go/indian_nations/
o   Sovereignty: Use the Rez We Live On videos: http://therezweliveon.com/
o   Have someone from nearby tribes come talk to class about Indians today (including sovereignty, culture, language)

Week 2: Pre and early contact period (could easily be expanded to two weeks)

 Week 3: Treaties and the creation of reservations

 Week 4: The Gold Rush (OR Cattle and the Open Range)

 Week 4: Cattle and the Open Range (OR Gold Rush—or add a week and do both)

Week 5: Coming to Montana: Immigrants from around the World

Week 6: Boarding school/allotment Era (can shorten to 3 days)

 Week 7: World War I (can shorten to 3 days)

Week 8: Modern Montana
  • Women and Sports: Tracking Change Over Time (Designed for grades 4-8) In this lesson aligned to both Common Core ELA and Math standards, students learn about how Title IX (a federal civil rights law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in education) changed girls’ opportunities to participate in school sports by collecting and analyzing the data to look at change in women’s sports participation over time. (You’ll need to start this in week 6 or 7 to make sure students have time to collect data.)

 P.S. Have you taken the year-end survey yet? Don't delay!

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