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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Poems for Two Voices: Sitting Bull and Plenty Coups

Earlier in March, I shared some of the video resources I learned about at OPI's always amazing Best Practices in Indian Education for All workshop. Today I want to focus on a lesson plan that Billings school librarians Ruth Ferris and Kathi Hoyt presented on writing poems for two voices to contrast the perspectives of Plenty Coups (Crow) and Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Lakota), two well-known Indian leaders.

The lesson uses excerpts from Plenty Coups' and Sitting Bull's speeches that Bozeman teacher Derek Strahn collected for a lesson he created for us several years ago: "Hearing Native Voices: Analyzing Differing Tribal Perspectives in the Oratory of Sitting Bull and Plenty Coups."

I love this lesson for so many reasons--but here are two:

1. It emphasizes the great diversity among individual American Indian leaders and their tribes' responses to Euro-American incursion into their territory. The temptation to lump all Indians and all tribes together is strong, an issue two of the seven  Essential Understandings regarding Montana Indians address:
Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the twelve tribal nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.

Essential Understanding 2: There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian.  
2. Kathi and Ruth provide so much scaffolding:

  • A brief handout explaining how Poems for Two Voices work,
  • A Word Sort activity that has students read the quotes Derek provided on pages 5 and 6 of his lesson, and then sort keywords into three categories (Sitting Bull, Plenty Coups, and Both) to help teach difficult vocabulary and get students comparing and contrasting,
  • A Graphic Organizer to aid students comparing the two leaders' points of view, and
  • A template created by FOI Oklahoma for students to use to create their poem (see page 2).
When you try this lesson in your classroom, send me one of your students' poems. I'd love to read it.

P.S. We still have spaces in our upcoming northwestern Montana workshops: Libby, Pablo, and Kalispell. Please register and/or help us spread the word (I can't justify offering on-the-road workshops if they don't fill.) And speaking of professional development: We're still accepting applications for our Middle School Teacher Leader in History program.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons

Back in November, I asked readers to let me know how Montana history was taught in their district and how the Montana Historical Society could help improve the teaching of Montana history statewide. (If you'd like a copy of the survey results, let me know and I'll happily send a summary to you.)

We've slowly been working through your suggestions and ideas, one of which was to provide more content-oriented (as opposed to strategy-oriented) trainings. That suggestion inspired us to create a new course: Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons.

Every Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, between April 4, 2018, and May 30, 2018, we've asked a colleague to discuss a major period in Montana history. Individually, these programs will offer compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they will provide a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. We'll be live-streaming their talks for folks who don't live close enough to Helena to attend in person, and we'll make recordings available after the fact on YouTube. (We'll post links here.) We've also created a simple reflection form for educators to complete after watching one of the presentations so that they can to receive renewal units.

I encourage you to read the full descriptions of each session, but below is a list of dates and titles to pique your interest. I've added a link to the most relevant Montana: Stories of the Land chapter in parentheses, for those interested in how this aligns to the textbook.

  • April 4: Pre-Contact Montana  (Chapter 2)
  • April 11: Early Contact Period (Chapter 3)
  • April 18: Gold! (Chapter 6)
  • April 25: Industrial Montana (Chapter 10 and Chapter 15)
  • May 2: Disintegration: Montana’s Tribal Nations in the Early Reservation Years through the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (Chapter 11)
  • May 9: Homesteading Boom and Bust (Chapter 13 and Chapter 18)
  • May 16: Montana and the Cold War (Chapter 20)
  • May 23: Modern Revolution and Counterrevolution: Montana from the late 1960s through the 1990s (Chapter 21)
  • May 30: Tribal Sovereignty in the Self-Determination Period (Chapter 22)

I hope you can join us--in person or virtually.

P.S. I helped designed this course, so for those of you who've asked in the past about which topics I'd recommend focusing on or which chapters I'd teach if I had to choose, here's today's answer (though not necessarily next week's.) If you were designing "Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons," which topics would you choose to focus on? I first asked this question--or one like it--in 2012 and compiled folks' answers here, here, and here. You can still take that survey, which I think remains a useful thought exercise, but I'm no longer compiling answers.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Make your voice heard!

Of special interest to: Educators interested in helping to develop new Content Standards for Social Studies

The Content Standards and Instruction (CSI) Division of the Montana Office of Public Instruction has posted its schedule for revising standards, and social studies is up next (along with Career and Technical Education, Computer Science. and Technology/Library Media/Information Literacy.)
Right now they are in the "Research and Review" phase and are collecting feedback from educators. You can review resources and provide feedback for Social Studies here. You can review resources and provide feedback for Technology and Library Media/Information Literacy here

Interested in how the process works? Check out this video.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Professional Development AND Notecard Confessions

I like to pull things together thematically for these posts, but the only things these topics have in common is that they are all cool things you can do.

Cool thing #1: Join us for professional development. We still have room at all of our April workshops (in Kalispell, Libby, and Pablo). And we're still accepting applications from middle school teachers for our Teacher Leader in History program. 

Cool thing #2: Glenn Wiebe of History Tech drew my attention to a project that Kansas middle school teacher Jill Weber had her students do when they were studying homesteading: Notecard confessions. Notecard confessions are a genre where stories are written on notecards, very few words per card, and the "narrator" creates a video, slowly flipping through the cards, allowing viewers to read each one. Jill had her students create notecard confession videos based on a series of letters written by Mary Chaffee Abell, who homesteaded in Kansas with her husband Robert. In a blogpost, she details her process and posts some of her students' final products (they are great!).

Following links from her blog (and a quick Google search) I learned that other teachers have done this with a focus on the Trail of Tears and Andrew Jackson. I can see this working in a unit on Indian boarding schools, industrial mining, and many other Montana history topics for which there are relevant primary sources and high emotional content.

If you try (or have tried) having your students create notecard confessions (especially on a Montana history topic)--or you have found another way to connect students emotionally to a historical topic--I'd love to hear about it. Email me at mkohl@mt.gov.

Cool thing #3: Check out which objects from our collection have advanced to the Elite 8 in Montana Madness (a competition to win the title of Montana's Most Awesome Object). We haven't experienced anything quite as dramatic as UMBC's victory over Virginia, but there have been some upsets. Voting in this next round ends March 25.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Media Literacy Part 3

At the end of January,  I wrote about tools to teach media literacy in a post titled "Fighting Fake News." It touched a nerve. Several educators responded, including  Lisa Kerscher, who pointed me toward a resource I shared in a February post: "Checkology: Another Media Literacy Resource." That post generated additional suggestions: 

Kim Anderson from Humanities Montana wrote: 

"Middle and high school teachers also might want to take advantage of a new catalog of presentations we have—The Informed Citizen. This program is part of the "Democracy and the Informed Citizen" Initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. The initiative seeks to deepen the public's knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections between democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. We thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership. All programs are available to schools for free." (By the way, this is just one of many programs available free to schools from Humanities Montana.) 

Chris Seifert of MontanaPBS wrote: 

"KQED Teach is a free, online professional learning community for educators to expand their media literacy skills by taking short courses.  Participants will find courses, lesson plans, and activities for making their own digital media, developing lesson plans and sharing it with the community of fellow educators.  Sign up at teach.kqed.org to take courses and learn about digital media."

Many of the best resources I share come from readers. If there's a resource you love (on media literacy or any other relevant topic) please let me know so I can share it with your colleagues.

P.S. Are you playing Montana Madness? Polls close Sunday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m., in these exciting contests: Jeannette Rankin's shoe vs. 2,000-4,000 year old petroglyph, the Charlie Russell painting When the Land belonged to God vs. the Fisherman's Map of Montana, the earliest letter in our collection (written in 1810 by Pierre Menard at Three Forks) vs. a ca. 1900 beautifully beaded cradleboard, and the 1908 Montana State Federation of Labor Certificate of Affiliation vs. a pair of 1910 Cree beaded gauntlet gloves. Please vote and encourage your friends and students to vote. And may the best object win.

Monday, March 12, 2018

April and May IEFA Online Book Club Courses

Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative is offering two more online book club courses in April and May.

American Indian Literature (for use in grades K-8) will run April 2-May 22, 2018. "The course serves as an opportunity for participants to explore OPI developed instructional units based on literature sent to all Montana elementary and middle school libraries alongside additional primarily fiction texts for use in grades K-8." It "will be divided into three parts: literature for K-2, literature for 3-5, and literature for 6-8. Many resources are place-based, either focused on Montana tribes or created by Montana Indian authors. Participants will read texts, engage in discussions, complete instructional activities, and examine accurate and authentic Native American fiction and nonfiction texts. Ultimately, participants will select texts and instructional units for immediate integration of IEFA into their classrooms. This course is rigorous and requires the participant complete extensive reading and access a number of texts through their school or public library or purchase said materials from WM-PLC or booksellers." 

Registration fee: $175. Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $155.) Find more information and a link to register here.

The History of the Flathead Reservation will run April 9-May 27, 2018. "Through the readings, participants will examine primary and secondary documents that inform the tribal history of the Flathead Reservation. Participants will utilize their critical analysis skills while using instructional strategies within the context of multicultural education." Books include 
  • In the Name of the Salish & Kootenai Nation: The 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the Origin of the Flathead Indian Reservation by R. Bigard and C. Woodcock (1996);
  • A Brief History of the Salish and Pend d’Oreille Tribes by the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee (2003);
  • Salish People and the Lewis and Clark Expedition by the Salish-Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee and Elders Cultural Advisory Council (2005); 
  • Coming Back Slow: The Importance of Preserving Salish Indian Culture and Language by Agnes Vanderburg (1995). 
Registration fee: $175. Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $155.) Find more information and a link to register here.

And speaking in April workshops, we have FREE in-person workshops scheduled for Kalispell (April 18), Libby (April 19), and Pablo (April 20). There is still plenty of room in all of these workshops. Would you let your colleagues in northwest Montana know? 

P.S. Last week, the Smith Mine Disaster Board, Lewis and Clark Bridge, White Swan Robe, and Elk Tooth Dress advanced to the Elite 8 in #MontanaMadness, our take on March Madness.  Vote for objects currently competing in the tournament at http://mhs.mt.gov/education/MontanaMadness

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Little Something for Everybody

We've got an amazing one-day workshop, "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core," coming to Kalispell (April 18), Pablo (April 19) and Libby (April 20). If you are within an easy drive of any of these communities, this is one PD you will not want to miss. Learn more and register and please share the link with your friends. I can only get the Society to continue to support on-the-road workshops if I can demonstrate a need.

I picked up some great ideas at OPI's Best Practices in Indian Education for All Workshop this week. I'll share in more depth in a later post, but here are a few links that were new to me:

Pow Wow Sweat is a YouTube series created by The StyleHorse Collective and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe that teaches pow wow dances, including Traditional, Old Style Women's Fancy Shawl, Jingle Dress, Men's Grass Dance, and many more. Teachers said they are great for PE, indoor recess, and just to get the wiggles out.

Native Land is an interactive map created by Victor Temprano.  As he says on the website, it's a work in progress, being continually refined. He also points out that there are many problems inherent to mapping indigenous territories: "Western maps of Indigenous nations are very often inherently colonial, in that they delegate power according to imposed borders that don’t really exist in many nations throughout history." Even given these issues, the site is interesting and thought-provoking. Add English place-names to see in whose territory he's placed you. (Helena, according to this map, is Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai Territory.) 

The Arlee Boy's Basketball team, who won the 2018 Class C Boys' Basketball Tournament, created a very moving suicide prevention video.

Speaking of basketball, only one reader has submitted his completed Montana Madness tournament bracket, making him the sure winner--unless some of you step in to give him a little competition by emailing me a photo of your completed bracket before midnight, Sunday, March 11. Prizes and bragging rights are on the line.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Montana Madness: The Other Big Tournament This March

This March, sixteen objects from the Montana Historical Society’s vast collections are competing in “Montana Madness” for the title of Montana’s Most Awesome Object. Will you play along and help select the winner? 

The competition, modeled on the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, will pit object against object from the Montana Historical Society’s museum, archives, and library collections.
Throughout the month, objects will face-off in online polls that will be promoted on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MontanaMadness. But the game isn’t limited to Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can download a Sweet Sixteen bracket and vote on the objects they think should advance in the tournament at our website.

Those voting through the website can enter a sweepstakes to win a one-year family membership to the Montana Historical Society, a signed copy of Montana's Charlie Russell: Art in the Collection of the Montana Historical Society, by Jennifer Bottomly-O'looney and Kirby Lambert, or a 7 ½” x 9 ½” print of Night Storm, by Blackfeet artist Gale Running Wolf, Sr. 

To up the ante, I'll throw in another prize just for Teaching Montana History readers: snap a picture of your completed bracket and email it to me and I'll enter you in a second contest for as an as-yet-to-be-named but fabulous prize. Predict the champion object for the prize. If more than one person predicts the champion, then I'll start working backwards to choose the winner: who predicted both objects in the championship? All of the objects in the Final Four? All of the Elite Eight? You get the idea. If there is more than one person whose bracket is perfect it will be prizes all around. For the competitive among you, I'll throw out this tip: GOTV efforts are NOT cheating. If you want to see a particular object advance, either out of loyalty to the object (Lewis and Clark Bridge near Wolf Point, anyone?) or to improve your chances of winning, encourage your friends, colleagues, and students to vote. Put the link up on Facebook and Twitter. Send it out to your Christmas list. It's all fair play. 

We'll be running four contests at a time--the first four end March 11. They are:

#1 Seed: The Smith Mine Disaster Board vs. #16 Seed: "Square & Compass" Branding Iron

Smith mine board and brand

#5 Seed: Lewis and Clark Bridge Near Wolf Point vs. #12 Seed: Faro Board and Casekeep

#4 Seed: White Swan's Painted Robe vs. Fort Benton Weather Vane

Elk Tooth Dress vs. #10 Seed: A’aninin (Gros Ventre) Tipi Liner

May the best object win!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Middle School Teachers: Apply to become an MHS Teacher Leader in History

Last year we started an Elementary Teacher Leaders in History program. It's gone so well that this year we're soliciting applications from middle school teachers (grades 6-8) to participate in the program. 

If you are interested in helping improve middle school history education in your schools, districts, and regions, consider applying to become a Montana Historical Society Teacher Leader in History. 

Successful applicants will demonstrate a commitment to history education, interest and experience in teaching Montana history, excellence in the classroom, experience in sharing best practices with their colleagues, and familiarity with the Montana Historical Society’s work and educational resources.

In addition to the criteria above, program fellows will be chosen to reflect Montana’s geographic and educational diversity, assuring representation from different regions and both small and large schools.

Those accepted as middle school Teacher Leader Fellows will be brought to Helena for a two-day Teacher Leader in History Summit, to be held at the Montana Historical Society, June 19-20, 2018, at the conclusion of which they will be certified as Montana Historical Society Teacher Leaders in History.

Throughout 2018-2019, this select group of Teacher Leaders in History will
  • Serve as members of the Montana Historical Society Educator Advisory Board, providing advice and classroom testing of lesson plans on an as-needed basis.
  • Work to increase the Montana Historical Society’s visibility in their schools and communities.
  • Assist teachers in their schools in finding appropriate resources/implementing lessons that reflect best practices in history education.
  • Promote Montana Historical Society resources to teachers
    • through a formal presentation at one or more regional conferences (for which they may earn OPI Renewal Units).
    • within their own school or across their district through informal outreach and/or formal presentations.Communicate with Montana Historical Society staff throughout 2018-19, documenting the outreach they have conducted.
  • Communicate with Montana Historical Society staff throughout 2018-19, documenting the outreach they have conducted and participating in up to three one-hour virtual meetings (scheduled at mutually agreeable times).
In return, the Montana Historical Society will provide the following:
  • Full travel scholarships to attend the free two-day June 2018 Summit.
  • An honorarium of $100 to cover travel expenses to one regional conference, at which the participant is presenting, or up to $100 to your school to pay for a substitute teacher so you can present in a nearby district.
  • Ongoing support and consultation, including model PowerPoint presentations to use and adapt as in presentations to fellow educators.
  • A certificate designating the participant as an official MHS Teacher Leader in History.
  • Up to 15 OPI Renewal Units or 1 graduate credit (at the cost of $150/pending course approval from MSU-Northern.)  
No more than 12 teachers will be selected for this special program. Apply online here. Applications are due April 30. Awardees will be notified by May 11.