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.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Take an IEFA Online Book Club Course for Graduate Credit

Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative is offering two more IEFA book clubs, starting in January.

The Boarding School Era, January 7 - March 10, 2019. 30 OPI renewal units or 2 graduate credits. Registration fee: $175 (graduate credits an additional $155.)

Read and explore books focusing on the Boarding School Era including My Name is Seepeetza, Shi-Shi-Etko, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, and Sweetgrass Basket. This course is offered online through a Moodle platform. It is divided into weekly “modules.” It is designed for kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers.

Learn more and register here.

The History of the Flathead Reservation, January 14 - March 3, 2019. 30 OPI renewal units or 2 graduate credits. Registration fee: $175 (graduate credits an additional $155.)

This online Moodle course explores the history of the Flathead Reservation by studying the following texts:

  • In the Name of the Salish & Kootenai Nation: The 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the Origin of the Flathead Indian Reservation
  • A Brief History of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille Tribes 
  • Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition 
  • Coming Back Slow: The Importance of Preserving Salish Indian Culture and Language

Learn more and register here

P.S. Best wishes for a joyful 2019.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Give the Gift of Recognition

Happy winter break! If you have time between caroling, skiing, and roasting chestnuts on an open fire (does anyone actually do that?), I hope you consider nominating an amazing teacher you know for one of the following awards. After all, what better gift to give someone you admire than the gift of recognition?

The nomination process for the 8th Advocacy Award for Excellence in Indian Education for All is open from now until January 24, 2019. Please take the time to nominate someone whom you know that is an outstanding Indian Education for All Advocate. And while you are at it, register to attend the 13th Annual Indian Education for All Conference, March 2-3, 2019, Carroll College, Helena, MT.

Gilder Lehrman is looking for nominations for state and national History Teacher of the Year. Any full-time educator of grades K–12 who teaches American history (including state and local history) is eligible for consideration. American history may be taught as an individual subject or as part of other subjects, such as social studies, reading, or language arts. Nominees must have at least three years of classroom teaching experience and show

  • A demonstrated commitment to teaching American history (including state and local history)
  • Evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom
  • Effective use of documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories, and other primary sources to engage students with American history. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's not (necessarily) Montana history but...

StudentCam is C-SPAN's annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and our nation. This year students in grades 6-12 are asked to create a short (5-6 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the new 2019 competition theme, "What does it mean to be American? Choose a constitutional right, national characteristic, or historic event and explain how it defines the American experience." With cash prizes totaling $100,000, C-SPAN awards prizes to 150 student documentaries, and over 50 teacher advisors. Entries may be submitted no later than Sunday, January 20, 2019.    

I went to look at some of the videos the students have created in the past (impressive!) and the first one I saw was No Trespassing: Seeking Justice for Native Women, which begins with an interview with Montanan and Northern Cheyenne tribal member Gail Small.

On some level, the project reminds me of National History Day in that it asks students to create a product (in this case a documentary) around a theme. If you are interested in this type of project-based competition but teach history rather than civics, you might want to think about National History Day. You can learn more about this year's NHD theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History," at the National History Day website. You can learn more about next spring's regional and statewide competitions at the Montana NHD site. (The state competition will be held in Bozeman on March 30, 2019. And there are projected to be FOUR regionals this coming year.) Finally, you can learn about the cash prizes offered by the Montana Historical Society for the best Montana topic and the best use of digitized newspapers at the our NHD page.

This year's theme is made for Montana history. For example:
  • Triumph: The construction of the Fort Peck Dam, the invention of the Holter heart monitor, the creation of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
  • Tragedy: the Montana Sedition Act, the Hard Winter of 1886-87, the Speculator Mine Disaster, Indian boarding schools, the Marias Massacre. 
  • Triumph and Tragedy: Homesteading boom and bust, construction of the transcontinental railroads, the creation of Glacier National Park, Butte: the Richest Hill on Earth, Cobell v Salazar (the mismanagement of Indian Trust Funds and Blackfeet banker Elouise Cobell's campaign to set things right). 
Find a few starting points for researching Montana topics here. Of course your students don't have to do a Montana history topic. You can incorporate NHD into any history course you teach (and remember--you can make it work for you by limiting student topic choices to the eras/geographic regions your class focuses on.

Questions? Contact Montana's NHD coordinator and Plentywood social studies teacher Michael Herdina, who is both the brains and the brawn behind NHD's resurgence in Montana. 

P.S. To write this post, I spent a little time exploring the Montana National History Day website, which is well worth to time. It is there I found a link to this Framework, created by the National History Day Minnesota. Some of it is specific to Minnesota but a lot of it will be useful to you--especially if this is your first time incorporating NHD into your curriculum. It includes graphic organizers, lesson plans, readings, and more.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Travel Back in Time

I think the digitized newspapers on Montana Newspapers and Chronicling America are the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe even the best thing since before sliced bread. 

Never explored them? Stop reading RIGHT NOW (I promise, we'll be here for you to come back to), click on this map, and choose a newspaper close to where you live. Then go to an early paper published on your birthday (or during your birthday week). 

Are you back? Good! Find anything interesting? Did you get sucked into exploring? I thought so! 

The fact is, I've never met anyone--kid or adult--who didn't like to read historic newspapers. They are, as my colleague Zoe Ann Stoltz says, the closest thing we have to a time machine.

That's why I was so pleased to learn from our Digital Projects Librarian Natasha Hollenbach that the Montana Historical Society has new content available (and a total of 579,875 pages!) to search and browse on the web site Montana Newspapers
  • The Thompson Falls Public Library has finished their huge push to make the Sander County Ledger/Sanders County Independent Ledger available. With this addition of the Sanders County Independent-Ledger (1925-1929) the whole surviving run from 1917 to 1963 is now available. Unfortunately a gap since exists from 1921 to 1924 but as far as we know no copies of these issues have survived. This particular date range is a great addition, since it was a new find which had never been microfilmed. 
  • Hellgate High School has added the Hellgate Lance (1964-1982 and 2013-2017) to their previous run of 1983-2008.
  • The Lewistown Public Library has made possible the addition of the Fergus County Argus (1920-1929), which adds to their contribution of Lewistown papers.
  • Celebrate the addition of a new city with Grass Range Review (1917-1923), made possible by the Grass Range Community Foundation. 
  • The River Press has made it possible to extend the date range for The River Press another 19 years, so 1889-1902 and 1915-1976 is now available.
  • The University of Montana Western and the Dillon Public Library has added three years of the The Dillon Tribune (2013-2015). Dillon now has papers available from 1883 to 2015!
Montana Newspapers is one of two sites where Montana's digitized newspapers reside free of charge for researchers. The other is Chronicling America, where in addition to many other titles, you can find The River Press (1880-1888 and 1902-1914) and the Fergus County Argus (1886-1906). 

Looking for ideas on how to use these with your students? Here is a past post about activities I conducted with third through fifth graders in a gifted and talented class. Here's a post from Natasha on Using Historic Newspapers to Increase Student Understanding of World War I and here's yet a post on Resources to Help You Use Chronicling America. Looking for more inspiration? Edsitement has more suggestions for you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Montanans respond to climate change

Did you know that "Since 1950, Montana temperatures have warmed 2.7 degrees, the fastest in the nation?" I didn't. So how are Montanans responding?

The Montana Climate Assessment website begins to answer that question. If you are interested in climate change or teach about human-environmental interaction, this site is golden. It includes information on both on how climate change is affecting Montana AND information on how Montanans are dealing with it. 

For example, check out this six-minute video on climate change and flooding, and how the Musselshell community worked together to respond to the Musselshell River's 2011 flood and rebuild infrastructure based on data. 

Or this six-minute video on how climate change is affecting agriculture and ways farmers and ranchers are adapting. 

Or read about how entomologist Diana Six is thinking about climate change and what it should mean for forest management practices. Here's a preview: "A management strategy of the future may be looking at what’s left behind after beetle kill or drought, asking why, and seeing what can be done to promote the survivors' genetics reproducing." 

Here are a few other resources on climate change's affects in Montana. The New York Times recently published this article on climate change and Yellowstone, "Your Children’s Yellowstone Will Be Radically Different." And the USGS has a website on the retreat of glaciers in Glacier National Park, along with a link to this repeat photography project, and this video designed for 9-12 classrooms, in which a climate scientist answers questions about climate change and the park. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Do your students struggle with reading the textbook?

Two summers ago, the Montana Historical Society invited Dr. Tammy Elser, who teaches in the education department at Salish Kootenai College (SKC), to give a workshop on helping students (and especially struggling readers) read and understand informational text. It was one of the best workshops I have ever attended and I have been integrating the strategies I learned that day into almost every lesson or unit plan I've written since.

We filmed the workshop and Tammy, with the help of colleagues like Christy Mock-Stutz at the Montana Office of Public Instruction, transformed the workshop into a four credit, self-paced online course for the Teacher Learning Hub.

Targeted at teachers of fourth through eighth grade, the course uses Montana: Stories of the Land and ancillary IEFA content to demonstrates ways to help any reader by modifying lesson structure, teaching and modeling comprehension strategies, and employing fix-up strategies when comprehension breaks down.

This is a readings methods course--which is something that most social studies teachers can use, especially with the increased emphasis on reading across the curriculum and the adoption of curriculum standards that emphasize literacy in history/social studies (along with science and technical subjects.) It was certainly information I found useful.

You can take Supporting Readers with Textbooks for 4 OPI renewal units on the Teacher Learning Hub at no charge (but registration is required.) While you are there, you may want to check out some of their other offerings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Time Travel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

When she was in grade school, my daughter loved the Good Times Travel Agency books by Linda Bailey. The Binkerton Twins would travel back in time, and it was never what they expected (for example, they became serfs, rather than a lord and lady, when they visited the Middle Ages and they were shocked by the hard work and poor living conditions.) Perhaps that's why I was smitten by this activity from one of my favorite social studies bloggers, Russell Tarr: "Design a 'Time Travel Holiday' to see a period from different viewpoints."

Tarr's initial exercise is simple: "When introducing students to a particular historical time and place, get them to research different geographical locations associated with it. The class should then produce a travel brochure designed to persuade holidaymakers about all the wonderful things to expect if they take a time-travelling vacation." 

What I thought was brilliant was his followup activity: "to force students to assess the period from a negative perspective, ask them to write a dramatic complaint letter [to the travel agency] outlining all the horrible sights, sounds and smells they experienced" during their "holiday from Hell." 

In his post, Tarr expands on variations of this activity (and provides details for visiting the sites of Ancient Rome).

I, of course, started thinking about how the activity could be applied to Montana. Certainly, students could promote "time travel" adventures to the romantic Old West, promoting a steamboat trip up the Missouri or Yellowstone rivers, a visit to a gold rush town, or to the cattle frontier of eastern Montana. Then tourists could complain about the lack of fresh fruit, being forced to push their stagecoach out of the mud, or the tedium of a steamboat voyage.

These time traveler assignments are good examples of RAFT writing. RAFT stands for role, audience, format, topic. In a RAFT assignment students take on a Role (in this case, promotional travel agent or unhappy customer), and write for an Audience (potential customer or misleading travel agent), adopt a Format (brochure or letter), and focus on a Topic (life in the assigned place and historical era). We have a RAFT-based lesson plan on Montana during World War I. If you want to learn more about RAFT or get some other suggestions for RAFT assignments I recommend these earlier posts. 

What Tarr's assignment does so well though is insisting that students take on two roles, one that looks at the positive and one that looks at the negative. I can imagine this dual approach beyond his original time travel tourism trope. For example, fliers recruiting homesteaders or men to work in the Butte mines matched by letters home from miners or homesteaders. Or letters from the same miner or homesteader--one back to family members during the journey anticipating the opportunities to be found and another after they had settled in. (Or in the case of homesteading, one during the wet years and the other during the drought.)

There are lots of possibilities here, so I hope you take it and run. If you do, I'd love to hear how you used it and how your students responded.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hands-on History Made Easy

I’m not sure why, but we’re getting fewer requests for our hands-on history footlockers than we have in years past. So if you want to reserve a footlocker, now’s the time. Footlockers are free to order, except for the cost of sending the trunk on to the next user. That cost depends on weight and distance but averages around $40.

All footlockers come with user guides that you can download even without ordering the trunk. The user guides contain lesson plans (many of which can be used without ordering the footlocker) and narratives written on a fourth grade level.

So why bring a footlocker into your classroom? These traveling trunks are chock-full of interesting replicas, photographs, and artifacts that help bring history alive. Students of all ages absolutely love them.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Coming to Montana: Immigrants from Around the World. This footlocker showcases the culture, countries, traditions, and foodways of Montana's immigrants through reproduction clothing, toys, and activities. Artifacts include a Hmong story cloth, Norwegian hardanger, Swedish rosette iron, Basque bones, a Hutterite dress, a Chinese Mahjong set, Catholic medallions, a German Protestant Bible and a Jewish Menorah, an Irish drum, and trowel of the type Croatian stone masons would have used, a Chinese hat, and more.

The Home Fires: Montana and World War II. This footlocker 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. Artifacts include military uniforms, a set of dog tags, propaganda posters, historic photographs, shadow boxes that display metals, ration coupons, and materials issued to servicemen and women, and more.

Original Governor’s Mansion: Home to the Stewart Family in Turbulent Times, 1913-1921. This footlocker investigates life and politics, 1913-1921, as well as the history and architecture of a magnificent building. With historic games (old maid, Parcheesi, and pick up sticks), Victrola records and a small model Victrola, calling cards and a calling card tray, a fully stocked sewing basket with a darning egg, embroidery scissors and hoop, a small braided rug and rag ball, napkin rings and cloth napkins, historic photos, and many more items, this footlocker is perfect for teaching what life was like for kids at the turn of the last century.  

Montana State Symbols. A few weeks ago, I wrote a whole post on this footlocker, which provides students the opportunity to explore hands-on educational activities to gain a greater appreciation of our state's symbols and their meanings. My favorite objects are the cast of a grizzly bear paw print (I couldn’t believe how big a grizzly paw is), the sapphire exhibit, and the singing stuffed meadowlark.

Oral History in the Classroom Mini Footlocker. One of the few footlockers designed for older students, this trunk includes eight Sony IC Audio Recorders, batteries and chargers, useful reference material, and detailed lesson plans for creating a classroom-based oral history project.

You can view all of our footlockers, preview the user guides, and make reservations online. Still have questions? Contact Katie White at kwhite@mt.gov or 406-444-9553.

P.S. Thanksgiving is so early this year! If you are looking for teaching ideas, check out these two past posts. This one mostly focuses on having students answer the research question "What has Changed and What Has Remained the Same" while this guest post from OPI Indian Education Specialist Mike Jetty includes links to IEFA lessons around the holiday. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

More IEFA Resources

In response to my recent post, IEFA Resources for Your Classroom, Harlem teacher Wendy Maratita shared a link for large maps: www.tribalnationsmaps.com. She said, "These maps are wonderful and he gives a little discount for teachers. They are pricey but very nice." 

I also came across a few new resources for learning and teaching more about the Métis.

The first is The Métis of British Columbia: Culture, History, and the Contemporary Community. It's an online version of a DVD project created to help disseminate information on Métis history and culture that includes many short videos. There are two main sections: Culture, History, and Dance, and Music and Dance. Although it is from Canada the material is relevant to Montana as well. 

The second is from The Gabriel Dumont Institute's "Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture." This site has so much material that it is a bit daunting, but I particularly liked this lesson plan on finger weaving, which include instructional videos.   

Finally, the Métis Nation British Columbia created a cross curricular unit on the Métis for fourth grade. In addition to readings, links and lesson plans, it has a great list of picture books that librarians might want to consider for their libraries. 

If you have other IEFA resources you'd think people should know about, please let me know!

P.S. Don't forget to vote tomorrow if you haven't already cast your ballot. Democracy works best when we all participate.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Make Your Voice Heard

Guest Post by Colet Bartow

The research and review phase for Social Studies, Technology, Library Media, Career and Technical Education/Workplace Competencies, and Computer Science standards has begun and will continue through April 2019. 

Please follow the links below to review information on each of these content areas and then respond to the surveys you are interested in or have expertise with.  Please share this information with teachers, trustees, parents, or any stakeholder who can provide thoughtful feedback.

After reviewing the resources, each survey will take about 10-15 minutes of your time to complete.  Thank you in advance for providing feedback that ensures that Montana’s content standards reflect your priorities and best thinking in these content areas.

For questions or more information, contact Colet Bartow, Director of Content Standards and Instruction, cbartow@mt.gov.

Monday, October 29, 2018

New and Improved... the Symbols of Montana Footlocker

My colleague and partner in crime Deb Mitchell and I are slowly, ever so slowly revamping our Hands-on History footlockers, writing new lessons that align better to the Common Core and promote historical thinking skills, finding new objects with which to wow your students, digitizing images to make the material more usable for those who can't bring the actual trunk to their classrooms, and improving the teacher and student narratives and other material included in the footlocker user guides.

We are delighted to unveil the most recent footlocker we've revised: Montana State Symbols. In this case, we've changed almost everything, including the title (the old footlocker was called "Treasure Chest: A Look at the Montana State Symbols"). We've added lots of new objects, including tribal nations' flags, gemstones, grizzly bear fur, a mounted mourning cloak butterfly, and a sample of Scobey soil (our newest state symbol).

We've also included nine new lessons:
  • Lesson 1, "I Have, Who Has," offers an introduction to Montana's state symbols through a fast-paced game.
  • Lesson 2, "Tribal Seals and Flags," is based entirely on OPI's Indian Education Division's unit Crossing Boundaries through Art: Seals of Montana Tribal Nations.
  • Lesson 3, "State Seal and Flag," offers students an opportunity to redesign the state flag after learning about the principles of flag design.
  • Lesson 4, "Montana's State Songs," has students analyzing the state song, melody, and lullaby before writing their own songs celebrating Montana.
  • Lesson 5, "Montana's State Animal," has two parts. Part 1 teaches students to identify grizzly bears and be safe around all bears. Part 2 asks them to contrast Chief Plenty Coups' and Captain Meriwether Lewis's perspectives on grizzlies.  
  • Lesson 6, "Gift of the Bitterroot," uses a beautifully illustrated traditional story to learn about the importance of Montana's state flower to the Salish and Pend d'Oreille people. 
  • Lesson 7, "The Montana State Fossil," has students research, campaign, and then vote for a class fossil. In so doing they won't just learn about Montana's rich fossil finds, they'll also gain a thorough understanding of the election process. (Perfect for this November!)  
  • Lesson 8, "Learning about Montana Sapphires," shares information that will surprise and delight your class gem hounds
  • Lesson 9, "Creating a Museum of Montana Symbols," provides a step-by-step guide to creating a classroom exhibit on Montana's state symbols to share with parents or other classes. 
Here are some of the things I love best about the new lesson plans and footlocker:

1. It's reading and writing intensive. I took a class from reading specialist Tammy Elser two summers ago and we integrated many of the strategies I learned from her into these lesson plans, including "write your way in/write your way out," "hosting a tea party," and having students create picture summaries of complex passages.

2. The lesson plans are classroom tested and much improved from the feedback we received. My thanks to all who answered my call for guinea pigs and took the time to write such thoughtful evaluations.

3. You can do seven of the lesson plans without ordering the trunk. We know not everyone can order this footlocker who'd like to use it. Issues of schedule and budget get in the way (footlockers are free, except for shipping to the next venue, but that's still a cost.) That's why we put as many of the resources (including the PowerPoints and, of course, the lesson plans) online as we could--so that teachers who can't get the footlocker can still use the material.

4. The objects in the footlocker are so fabulous, you will want to order it anyway. This footlocker is object rich. The sapphire exhibit, donated to us by Fine Gems International, and the life-size grizzly bear paw cast are my favorite objects, but students will also love the stuffed animals (a trout and a meadowlark, whose sings its song when pressed), and the model of the Maiasaura nest.

Check out the User Guide and then submit your reservation. And let us know what you think of the new and (hopefully) improved product. We love hearing from you.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

IEFA Resources for Your Classroom

A few years ago, we created a story-based tour of our permanent exhibit Neither Empty nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark, using Crow and Blackfeet stories. At that time, we also pulled together a lesson plan with pre- and post-tour lessons and discussion questions. And we provided PowerPoints, so that classes too far away to visit us in Helena could still take the tour virtually. The material was fantastic but the organization was confusing. So we've fixed that. 
Since I'm featuring Neither Empty Nor Unknown, this seems like a good time to share some other interesting IEFA news and resources that have come across my desk.

Did you know? Montanatribes.org has updated activities and resources, and is now mobile friendly.

Every year, the University of Montana’s School of Journalism publishes Native News, an annual look into issues facing Montana’s tribes. The 2018 edition looks into the topic of self-governance and how the people are working to resolve issues surrounding self-governance. One article visits Rocky Boy High School’s Helping Hands Program, while another article visits the Dakota language program at Fort Peck Community College. 

I really liked this 6-minute video, "A Conversation With Native Americans on Race," which the New York Times editorial department broadcast on Op Docs, its "channel for short opinion documentaries, produced by independent filmmakers."

Native Land is a site trying to map indigenous territories in the U.S. and Canada. It is, as its creator explains, "a work in progress." (He's also eager for feedback.) There are some things I think won't ring true for Montana tribes (for example, the Salish and Kootenai don't have distinct territories on the map.) But it is a useful tool for sparking discussion and worth checking out. Type in the name of your town and see what comes up.

Here are some other intriguing articles I thought some of you might find useful, for your own edification or to use with your high school classes:
And finally, as you look forward to Thanksgiving, check out this article from Indian Country Today article, November 23, 2017: "What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale." 

P.S. Halloween is coming which makes this a good time to remind students of the #cultureNOTcostume movement. See for example this Teen Vogue video. Many other resources exist on the internet. 

P.P.S. Want more ideas for teaching about American Indians? Tune into the National Museum of the American Indian's free webcast, "Transforming Teaching and Learning about American Indians," on
Thursday, November 1, from noon-3:30 p.m. Mountain (2:00 p.m.–5:30 p.m. EDT). Learn more and find a link to view here

Monday, October 22, 2018


In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Allies and the German Empire signed the armistice, which marked the end of the First World War.  

In observance of the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, Montana Historical Society is holding a symposium in Helena on November 9-10. Montana & the Great War: Looking Back 100 Years will include tours of MHS’s acclaimed WWI exhibit and the Original Governor’s Mansion, highlights of MHS’s archives collections relating to the war, and speakers Ken Robison, Rich Aarstad, Mary Murphy, and Todd Harwell. Educators can earn up to eight OPI Renewal Unit--and attendees can come to as many or as few sessions as interest them or for which they have time--so if you live within an easy drive of Helena, even if you can't miss school, consider coming down for the Saturday sessions. You can see the full schedule here.

This symposium is just the last in a series of initiatives to commemorate the centennial of the U.S. involvement in World War I. So if you are too far to make it to the symposium, never fear. We've got you covered. I hope you've already spent some time exploring Montana and the Great War, the website that we created to provide resources for teaching about this complicated period in history. Among the highlights of that site are 

  • the ArcGIS story maps, which include 70 anecdotes from across Montana that reflect the various ways the war changed the lives of Montanans both at home and while serving overseas--as well as ways the war's impact continued into the 1920s,
I've talked about most of these resources before, but the Council of Defense correspondence is new so I'm going to elaborate a little on this remarkable resource. As you likely know, the Montana Council of Defense was established during World War I to coordinate county war efforts. The Council first concerned itself with agricultural production and boosting enthusiasm for the war. The war propaganda campaign however gradually led to the suppression of all dissent. County councils investigated "disloyalty," leading to the arrest and imprisonment of seventy-nine Montanans.
Several high school teachers have used portions of these records with their students as they researched the affects of World War I on their local communities. We published some of their students' work here. Now research in these records is easier than every--not least because they are key-word searchable. Try it and see: Visit the collections page, and then type your town or county seat's name into the search box at the top of the page. (Or the name of your county--if it was established before 1917.)

I'd love to add a few more county projects to our World War I website by May 2020. Check out the lesson plan we created to guide teachers interested in taking their class on this learning expedition and email me for additional resources (I may even be able to get you copies of letters that residents of your county wrote to Congresswoman Jeannette Rankin about the war and their other concerns. Like most of the items in our archives, these have not yet been digitized.)
And if you are less enamored with World War I than I am, check out my other favorite Veterans Day Resource, designed for grades 8-12.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Field Trip Money Available

This just in from Montana State Parks!

Applications for $200 field trip travel grants will be accepted October 6-22, 2018. The grants can be used for field trips to federal and state public lands taking place between January 2 and August 30, 2019. The grant money is aimed at covering transportation-related costs with an emphasis on assisting Montana elementary students who are underserved in their access to public lands for outdoor recreation. For 2019, there will be 40 grants available.

If over 50% of your students are eligible for free and reduced lunch and they wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity for outdoor education on public lands, this grant is for you. I looked at the application and it looked quick and easy.

Click here for more information and to apply.

The grants are made possible through a partnership between Montana State ParksGlacier National Park
, and the Montana Environmental Education Association (MEEA), whose funding emanates from the National Park Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids
 program. This program complements the federal Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) initiative targeted toward fourth grade students. Last year, there were 43 grantees from 38 different schools and programs. Collectively they visited 23 different places, including a wide range of national and state parks, national forests, historical sites, and recreation areas. Over 72% of grant recipients noted that this funding helped to provide their only opportunity for outdoor education on public lands.

The $200 grant award can only be used to cover transportation costs. The field trips must be for Montana elementary-aged children, and there will be a preference for fourth grade students as part of the selection process. Applicants will be ranked with higher scores going to classrooms that are underserved. There will also be a preference for groups and schools that have not previously received an award. Selections will be made with an eye toward broad geographic dispersion across the state in terms of schools and groups represented, and trip destinations.

Awardees will be notified of their grant in November 2018 and funds will be distributed by the end of the calendar year for use in 2019.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Billings Educator Conference, here we come!

Are you going to the Educator Conference in Billings, October 18-19? Deb Mitchell, Rich Aarstad, and I will be there with bells on. 

Stop by our booth to pick up a copy of The Art of Storytelling: Plains Indian Perspectives and/or a copy of the book American Trinity: Jefferson, Custer and the Spirit o f the West (while supplies last), check out our newest footlocker and other resources, and just say hello.

We also hope you'll attend our sessions: Deb is presenting The Art of Storytelling: Plains Indians Perspectives11:00 AM - 11:50 AM, Skyview High School Room 108. I'm presenting The Real Deal: Primary Sources in the Classroom, 1:00 PM - 1:50 PMSkyview High School Room 108. This is the same presentation I gave at the IEFA Best Practices conference in Helena last spring, so if you were there, skip it and go to one of these other amazing-looking sessions: 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Enhancing Your Curriculum with Montana National History Day
8:00 AM - 9:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 119
Presented by: Michael Herdina
State Coordinator Michael Herdina will present the basics of the project based learning National History Day program and how to integrate it into your already existing curriculum with an eye on competing at the Regional and State Competitions.

Why we do what we do!
8:00 AM - 8:50 AM
Presented by: Janna Lind & Cheyenne Aldrich
This sectional will cover the critical nature of teaching Social Studies in 2018. We will present critical questions and concepts that aid in creating participating citizens. We will explore the reasons why we became History teachers. Our sectional will help teachers explore how their personal backgrounds influence daily teaching decisions.

Montana Native American Histories and the Canada-United States Border
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 105

Presented by: Patrick Lozar
This presentation explores the role of the Canada-United States border in the history of many of Montana’s Native American communities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Geared toward middle and high school courses, the presentation’s content and objectives meet several IEFA Essential Understandings and National Council for Social Studies standards. 

Traditional Games Overview
9:00 AM - 11:50 AM, Castle Rock Middle School Room Gym/Stage
Presented by: Bobbi Poser & Heather Thompson & Clint Valandra & Don Barcus
We will discuss the importance of learning and playing Traditional Native Games, as taught by the International Traditional Games Society. Learn the history of games that stretch back thousands of years. Expect to laugh while you learn from three instructors certified in teaching Traditional Games. Be prepared to be active.

Bringing History, Literature, and the Arts Alive through Humanities Montana
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 109
Presented by: Ken Egan
This lively presentation will inform teachers about exciting program opportunities for teachers all across Montana. Ken will discuss Humanities Montana's Speakers in the Schools program, Letters About Literature, Democracy and the Informed Citizen, and grants. He will also ask teachers to share their suggestions for most helpful programs.

Students can learn about Montana law in your classroom
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 105
Presented by: Lisa Mecklenberg Jackson
There are many opportunities for middle and high school students to learn about the law in Montana. These include accessing available law-related curriculum, lawyer visits to the classrooms, or trips to the Montana Supreme Court to hear oral arguments. Let us help you teach kids about the law. 

Teaching a Northern Plains Native American T-Dress
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM, Material Fee - $3.00, Skyview High School: Room 260

Presented by: Mara Pierce
In this sectional, participants will learn about a NMAI website specifically meant for educators. From this website, participants will obtain information about Native American Plains dresses. Then, with auxiliary learning about tribally specific symbols and colors, participants will make an T-Dress they can take and use in their own classrooms.

Pairing Picture Books and Primary Sources
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 119
Presented by: Ruth Ferris 

Pictures Books aren’t just for small-fry. They provide a shared vocabulary and build background knowledge. We will look at some picture books and primary sources that could be used with them. Your students will be engaged as they analyze, and make connections between the picture books and primary sources. 

Poems for Two Voices: Voices from the Past
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 119

Presented by: Ruth Ferris
Who said poetry can’t be fun? Not a fan of poetry, that’s okay. Come experience how Two Voice poems help you dig deeper and give voice to historic figures. When we do this in class my kids ask if they can write more. 

The Art of Storytelling; Plains Indians Perspectives
11:00 AM - 11:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 108
Presented by: Debra Mitchell
Based on a temporary exhibit of the same name, this multifaceted curriculum provides you with all the tools necessary to bring ledger drawings and other pictographic art from the permanent collections of the Montana Historical Society into your classroom and to engage your students both in the study of a vibrant art form and to gain new insights into Indian peoples’ adaptability and resilience during a period of rapid change.

A Visit with an 1879 American Fur Co. Trader
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 104 (repeated on Friday, 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 119)
Presented by: Greg Smith
This Living History presentation brings to life the adventures and times of James Willard Schultz - otherwise known by the Blackfoot people as Apikuni. The hour-long presentation sheds light on historically significant events which occur in Montana in the 1870s and concludes by tying our past to our future.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West's K-12 Resources
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 105

Presented by: Megan Smith
This session provides an opportunity for teachers to learn more about our many K-12 services and offerings - including on-site tours, outreach materials, virtual field trips, as well as online resources and experiences. Teachers will have time to share how the Center can better serve their needs in the classroom. 

Russell for Learning: Connecting Students with a "Sense of Place"
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 210

Presented by: Melissa Werber & Eileen Laskowski
The C.M. Russell Museum and Young Audiences, Inc. are creating literacy based units utilizing the arts and using Charlie Russell as a platform. Russell for Learning explores “Sense of Place” and encourages middle school students to become agents of change in the places they claim.

The Real Deal: Primary Sources in the Classroom
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 108
Presented by: Martha Kohl
How can historic photographs, artwork and other primary sources engage students, raise questions about perspective, and hone evidence-based analysis skills? What role should primary sources play in elementary and middle school classrooms? Using primary sources relating to Montana Indian history, attendees will explore best practices for teaching with primary sources. 

Working Men and Women "Sing it Like it is"
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 109
Presented by: Bill Rossiter
Music of the working past reflects contemporary worker issues. Come listen and learn how music can enrich your classroom lessons on labor troubles for the past 100+ years. Montana has its share of songs and tales. Find out how to bring the presenter to your class and spark discussions.

Hands on History
2:00 PM - 3:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 119
Presented by: Aly Winterhalter
Learn how the Moss Mansion has created an interactive history experience for children who tour the museum. Also, discover how you can get an interactive experience in your classroom with nothing but a black suitcase. 

IEFA & Holocaust Education: The Writing Project Way
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 215
Presented by: Marcia Beaumont & Brenda Johnston
Participants will learn, write, reflect, and share while building background knowledge about the Holocaust and Indian Education for All. Heads and hearts combine in the writing process allowing learners to make sense of past atrocities and their present understanding of them. Walk away inspired and challenged. 

Social Studies Quick Hitters
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 104
Presented by: Casey Visser & Jamie Jarvis
Differentiation in a social studies classroom is critical to the success of your lesson. Here are some quick hitters that will boost student engagement and can be used in class right away! 

Become a National Geographic Certified Educator!
3:00 PM - 4:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 227

Presented by: Chris Hines & Chris Hines
Join us to complete phase 1 of National Geographic's free Educator Certification Program. Explore our Learning Framework with resources that will fit into your planned curriculum. Then complete Phases 2 & 3 online that integrate relevant resources into your lessons and receive special access to our resources and online community. 

Investigating the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
4:00 PM - 4:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 230
Presented by: Crystal Alegria & Bonnie Smith
Project Archaeology: Investigating Yellowstone is a 3rd through 5th inquiry-based curriculum examining the Great Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) through the lens of an archaeologist. Students learn we are all part of the ecosystem around us and that the GYE has unique ecosystems at different elevations. They use scientific inquiry (observation, inference, evidence, classification, and context) to observe food remains and use the evidence to answer questions about the environment. Students then apply their knowledge of scientific inquiry to real archaeological sites from the GYE! Students also learn about the many American Indian tribes connected to the GYE and examine a map of American Indian trail systems in the GYE. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Indian enough to be a token, too Indian to teach
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 225
Presented by: Donelle Williams & Terry Bradley & Scott Flatlip & Tiana Vargas
This presentation focuses on how Native students experience tokenism in the classroom throughout their p-20 education where they are Indian enough to provide the stereotypical “Rez life” perspective but as Native pre-service teachers they are met with opposition when designing their IEFA curricula at MSU. 

National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry Process in Action! 
12:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 221
Presented by: Chris Hines & Chris Hines
National Geographic invites you to empower students to think like explorers. Join us for a hands-on session to learn how The Geo-Inquiry Process connects students to real-world questions, phenomena and National Geographic explorers in the field.

Teaching Montana Indian Poetry with "Birthright: Born to Poetry"
12:00 PM - 12:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 210
Presented by: Carol Hearron & Shay Witt
Through oral readings, discussion questions, and internet resources, participants will practice using Dottie Susag's "Birthright: Born to Poetry" lessons to deepen their students' appreciation of home cultures and landscapes.These lessons will help any secondary teacher easily incorporate IEFA into English or social studies classes.

Use Tech to Teach Tribal Sovereignty 
12:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 215
Presented by: Lisa Borgstrom
Learn tech tools for teaching of critical literacy and writing on the topic of Montana tribal sovereignty. Meet writing and reading standards in all K-8 subjects and experience a variety of tech formative assessment tools. Teachers create an action plan to implementing sources of College, Career, Community Writing Program.

Connected to Nature: IEFA and Outdoor Education
1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 239
Presented by: Carolyn Sevier
Relationship with place is a critical layer of the cultural landscape of Montana's native peoples. Spending time outdoors as part of the school day helps to provide important context for IEFA content, in addition to providing other research-proven benefits of nature-connected education.

Bringing History Alive for Children!
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 103
Presented by: Jodi Delaney
How do you teach history to students who have little to no background knowledge? Use your greatest ally: the imaginations of children. Hands-on sensorial experiences help students understand, appreciate, and enjoy the complexities of history by bringing the past to life while developing the skills for Common Core. 

The Landscapes of Savage: How Schools Can Publish & Celebrate
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 215

Presented by: Allison Wynhoff Olsen & Alan Hoffmann & Amber Henwood & Cassandra Moos
Four teachers across grade levels and content areas in the Savage School District led a school-wide initiative, culminating in the publication of Landscapes of Savage: a book about the community written wholly by K-12 Savage students. This presentation provides the structural and curricular approaches used to write this book. 

The Lewis and Clark Track, presented by Armand Lohof

Armand Lohof is presenting six different sessions on Lewis and Clark, so I thought it made sense to group them all together.


Sacagawea: Who was she?
8:00 AM - 8:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 108

"What if" Lewis on the Marias
2:00 PM - 2:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 108

"What if": Clark on the Yellowstone
3:00 PM - 3:50 PM, Skyview High School: Room 108

Capt. Lewis and the Marias
9:00 AM - 9:50 AM, Skyview High School: Room 108

Clark's Yellowstone exploration, Skyview High School: Room 108
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM

Visit Pompey’s Pillar
2:00 PM - 3:50 PM, meet at Pompey’s Pillar at 1:30—travel on your own.