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, 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.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What I learned over summer vacation

Summer already seems a very long time ago, doesn't it? But I'm still marveling over what I learned from our Teacher Leader summit last June.

To back up: Two years ago we brought seven elementary teachers to Helena for a Teacher Leaders in Montana History summit. We invited four of them back this summer, along with seven middle school teachers. These eleven teachers are all willing to offer presentations at school, district, or regional professional development trainings. They've also offered to visit with teachers who are looking for new ideas one-on-one. You can learn more about the the 2018-2019 Teacher Leader Fellows and their special areas of interest here.  

My favorite part of the summit was something we called "ten minutes of awesomeness." Each Teacher Leader fellow had ten minutes to share something awesome. Here are a few of the ideas folks shared:

20 Question Reveal. As an anticipatory set, place a historic image in a slide. Cover that photo with a twenty box grid. Have students play 20 questions. For each question they ask, reveal a different box in the grid to show part of the photo. Ruth Ferris wrote directions here. 

Kahoot. Did you know that your fellow Montana history teachers have been creating quizzes on Kahoot for Montana: Stories of the Land? I won't explain Kahoot to you, because I've been told it is old, old news (although I had never played Kahoot until the summit). At Jennifer Hall's urging, I looked and saw quizzes created by MrsJenniferHall, dandonde, and lepperson for chapters 1-7 and 9-11. That's almost half the chapters in the book.

Historical personages on social media. How about a War of the Copper Kings Twitter fight! Jennifer Graham has her students do this and it sounds hilarious and educational. Alternately, consider having students create Fakebook pages for historical figures. We talked about both of these ideas at the June summit--then the idea gained even more traction for me in August when I read a post written by one of my favorite social studies education bloggers, Glenn Wiebe, suggesting students create "I-Phones of the Past" (see 5 in his list of back to school ideas for details. And see also the PDF graphic organizer he created to help you implement the idea.)

The other Moments of Awesomeness were equally awesome, and some of them even featured our lesson plans, including Poems for Two VoicesThe Art of Storytelling: Plains Indian PerspectivesMontana Women at Work: Clothesline Timeline Lesson PlanMapping Montana, A to Z, Lesson Plan, and the PowerPoint " 'What Would You Bring?' Emigrant Families on Montana's Gold Rush Frontier." 

If you want to bounce ideas off of an experienced teacher about how to improve your Montana history class, or if your school is looking for a presenter for an upcoming professional development, I hope you'll consider contacting one of the 2018-2019 Teacher Leader Fellows. And if you are a high school teacher, think about applying next spring for a 2019-2020 Fellowship.

On another note entirely: I just learned that the National Geographic Society is offering their Educator Certification program online. The course is self-paced and runs to December 2, 2018. Teachers and other educators will connect with other teachers across the country as well as learn how to develop an explorer mindset in their students. Visit the National Geographic Society's website to register for the course. The deadline to register is October 21, 2018.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

K-3 IEFA Art Lessons

People often call Montana a small town with a long Main Street. I love it when Teaching Montana History can help bridge the distances on that Main Street by facilitating community among practitioners. That's why I was particularly delighted that Roy art teacher Shelly Willmore responded to the recent post Montana History for Kindergarten by sharing some of what she does with K-3 students at her school.  

She wrote: 

Arrowheads and arrowhead shapes molded with Model Magic"I bought some replica arrowheads at a Native American store in Browning and then discuss hunting, arrows and such with the littles and let them have the arrowheads to look at and hold.  I show them the process of making arrowheads through a YouTube video. They are then given model magic to create a replica of an arrowhead of their own. I once again explain this is not how the Natives made them, but I want them to create the shape of the arrowheads made by Native Americans.

Bag of plastic bearclaw beadsI bought a bag of these plastic bear claws years ago.  I'm not sure where I even got them as they have lasted through several classes!  The K's love to make necklaces out of them. I add a choice of beads for them and one bear claw.  We look at Native pictures. We discuss clothing and talk about how this was their jewelry.
I have also came across this template of a tepee. After looking at images of and discussing uses and facts of the tepee, I have the little's design images on their tepee and they cut it out and we glue it so that it stands up." She told me later she also has her students watch a YouTube video on setting up a tepee. I hadn't realized how useful YouTube could be! 

I ran Shelley's activities by Mike Jetty over at the OPI's Indian Education Division, who stressed the importance of showing real tribal images with these activities while emphasizing tribal diversity (Essential Understanding #1). For example, he encouraged teachers to show pictures of different tribes' tepees and to talk with their students about the fact that different tribes set tepees up differently and have different cultural practices when it comes to decorating them as part of the model tepee activity. 

Thank you, Shelly, for sharing these ideas and pictures! I know K-3 teachers across the state appreciate it as well.