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 email@example.com.
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.