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.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reminders and Updates

Montana History Teacher of the Year Award

March 29--THIS FRIDAY--is the deadline for nominating someone for the Montana History Teacher of the Year Award. Luckily, completing the nomination takes under two minutes. To nominate a 4th-6th grade Montana History Teacher, email Norma Ashby at ashby7@q.com.  Please include the following information:

* Your name* Your email* Nominee’s name* Nominee’s email* Grade level* School Name* School  address* School phone number


High School Teachers: Apply to Become an MHS Teacher Leader in History

If you are a high school teacher interested in helping improve history education in your schools, districts, and regions (particularly the teaching of Montana history), we hope you'll consider applying to become a Montana Historical Society Teacher Leader in History. Learn more about the program and the application process here or email me with questions.


Crossing Disciplines Workshops

The winner and his or her class will be honored at a ceremony in the State Capitol on Friday, Nov. 8, Statehood Day and will receive a plaque and $4,000 toward library and classroom materials, field trips and speakers.

 There's still time to join Jim Schulz for "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies and the Common Core" in Deer Lodge (April 9), Missoula (April 10), or Dillon (April 11.) The Missoula and Dillon workshops have plenty of registrants (though there's still some room in each); we may have to cancel the Deer Lodge workshop if more people don't sign up, so don't delay.


Montana Museum Act of 2020

SB 338, which will implement a 1% accommodations tax to provide funding for Montana Heritage Center renovation and expansion of the Montana Historical Society over 5 years, create a museums/historic sites infrastructure competitive grant program of over $2 million per year, and provide funding for the Daly Mansion and Moss Mansion among other things passed out to the Senate Finance and Claims Committee on a vote of 10-9. It now heads to the Senate floor and then onto the House. You can contact your representatives about this or any bill using this easy online form. Not sure who represents you? Find out here.

Montana History in 9 MORE Easy Lessons 

This nine-part lecture series starts next Wednesday, April 3, with Jessica Bush talking about pre-contact trade. Last year, for our first edition of 9 Easy Lessons, Jessica gave an overview of pre-contact Montana and it was eye-opening. You can find that talk on YouTube if you want to get prepped for the upcoming series (and, after watching you can take the quiz for OPI renewal units). Just as we did last year, we'll once again be live-streaming the lectures (and then posting them on YouTube) for folks who can't make the talks in Helena. And we'll be offering a mechanism to receive renewal units too. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

Montana History in 9 MORE Easy Lessons


Last spring we created a lecture series we called Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons. For nine weeks in March and April we asked colleagues to discuss a major period in Montana history. Individually, these programs offered compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they provided a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. To make the material accessible statewide, we live-streamed their talks and made recordings available after the fact on YouTube. And to better serve teachers, we also created a simple reflection form for educators to complete after watching one of the presentations so that they can to receive renewal units.

Why do I bring this up now? Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons was so popular we decided to reprise the series. For nine Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30, beginning April 3, we'll be presenting Montana Lessons in 9 MORE Easy Lessons, filling in some of the gaps we left from the first big sweep. Once again, we'll be live-streaming and archiving all lectures on YouTube, and once again, educators will be able to receive renewal units for "attending" the lecture and submitting their thoughts via our reflection form. You can find full descriptions and (as ultimately YouTube links) on the 9 More Easy Lessons webpage, but to whet your appetite, here is the list of topics: 

April 3: Pre-contact Trade, Jessica Bush, State Historic Preservation Office Review and Compliance Officer for the Montana Historical Society 

April 10: Montana's Early Fur Trade in the Wake of Lewis and Clark,  Jim Hardee, former editor of Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal 

April 17: The Rise and Fall of Open Range Cattle Raising on the Montana Plains, Vic Reiman, retired MHS Museum Technician

April 24: Do Treaties Matter? OPI Indian Education Specialist Mike Jetty 

May 1: Dreams and Dust: Montana during the Great Depression, Montana State University Distinguished Professor Mary Murphy

May 8: Copper, Commies, and the Cold War: Montana’s Labor Resurgence, 1934-1950, Montana Historical Society Senior Manuscript Archivist Rich Aarstad 

May 15: Montana during the Relocation and Termination Era, Montana The Magazine of Western History Associate Editor Laura Ferguson 

May 22: On the Road Again, Montana Department of Transportation Historian Jon Axline

May 29: Montana in the Last Third of the Twentieth Century. University of Montana Professor Emeritus Harry Fritz  

P.S. If you live anywhere near Deer Lodge, Missoula, or Dillon, don't forget to register for our upcoming workshops. Jim Schulz (who is, no kidding, among the best workshop leaders I've ever encountered) will be taking "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core" to Deer Lodge on April 9, Missoula on April 10, and Dillon on April 11. Find more information and a link to register here. And if you could let your colleagues know about these opportunities, that'd be a great help.

Monday, March 18, 2019

High School Teachers: Apply to Become an MHS Teacher Leader in History


Two years ago we started an Elementary Teacher Leaders in History program, and last year we added middle school teachers. It's gone so well that this year we're soliciting applications from high school teachers to participate in the program. 

If you are interested in helping improve history education in your schools, districts, and regions (particularly the teaching of Montana history), 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 high 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 24-26, 2019, at the conclusion of which they will be certified as Montana Historical Society Teacher Leaders in History. (Note: These dates have changed.)

Throughout 2019-2020, 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 other teachers in their schools in finding appropriate resources/implementing lessons that reflect best practices in history education.
  • Promote Montana Historical Society resources to other teachers through a formal presentation at one or more regional conferences (for which they may earn OPI Renewal Units)
  • Promote Montana Historical Society resources within their own school or across their district through informal outreach and/or formal presentations
  • Communicate with Montana Historical Society staff throughout 2019-20, 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 2019 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.)  
Although preference will be given to teachers who teach Montana history, English teachers and librarians (or other subject area teachers who incorporate significant amounts of Montana history into their curriculum) are invited to apply. No more than ten teachers will be selected for this special program. Apply online here. Applications are due May 5. Awardees will be notified by May 10.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Do you make connections between disciplines in your teaching?

The benefits of interdisciplinary learning and teaching are fairly well accepted, yet many teachers struggle to put it into practice.

In our small attempt to make interdisciplinary teaching easier, we've incorporated in English Language Arts into almost every Montana history lesson we've created in the last ten years and aligned all of our material with both the social studies standards and the Common Core ELA standards (and, where appropriate, the Essential Understandings regarding Montana Indians).

But did you know that we have made a concerted effort to integrate art, science, and math, too? To make it easier to identify our interdisciplinary lesson and unit plans, I've created a new page on our website, creatively named Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans. Here you can find lessons that ask students to apply math skills to better understand the past or that teach both history and science (or art or creative writing).

And if interdisciplinary teaching appeals to you, and you live within a reasonable drive of Deer Lodge, Dillon, or Missoula, don't forget to attend "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core."  Workshop leader Jim Schulz (an award-winning, 30-year classroom veteran, who taught science and social studies at Helena Middle School and Helena High School) is among the very best presenters I've ever learned from. If you chose to spend the day with him, you won't go away sorry. Learn more and find links to register here. (OPI Renewal Units will be available.)

Monday, March 4, 2019

More IEFA Resources and PD

A few weeks ago, I posted an IEFA resources roundup, asking at the end, as I always do, for folks to send me other resources to share.

Jennifer Stadum, from OPI's Indian Education department, sent a link to a CNN story, "European colonizers killed so many Native Americans that it changed the global climate, researchers say." This article translates the scientific study I mentioned in the post ("Earth System Impacts of the European Arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492") for lay people and is a much more accessible source to use with students.


The Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative is once again offering its IEFA online book club course, "The Seven Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians." Running March 18 to May 12, the course is designed for educators interested in building background knowledge and developing lesson plans that focus on the Essential Understandings. Through readings, discussion forums and examination of high-quality teaching materials, participants will explore a variety of literature, articles and professional teaching materials and develop five lesson plans during the course and a final reflection paper (an additional final project is required for graduate credit) for the immediate integration of IEFA into their classrooms. Texts will include The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All by Tammy Elser, Who Will Tell my Brother? by Marlene Carvel, excerpts from Do All Indians Live in Tipis by National Museum of the American Indian  and Lies my Teachers Told Me by James W. Loewen, Montana Tribal Histories: Educators Resource Guide by Julie Cajune, History and Foundation of American Indian Education by Stan Juneau, and Keeping Promises: What is Sovereignty and Other Questions about Indian Country by Betty Reid and Ben Winton. The registration fee is $175. Participants will receive 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $155. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form). Find more information here and register here.


PRI's The World published "Ignored and deported, Cree 'refugees' echo the crises of today," an article by Brenden W. Rensink, Assistant Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and author of the book Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands. The article reminded me of two lesson/unit plans we have relating topic: 


  • "Montana's Landless Indians and the Assimilation Era of Federal Indian Policy: A Case of Contradiction" is a week-long primary-source based unit designed to introduce students to the history of the landless M├ętis, Cree, and Chippewa Indians in Montana between 1889 and 1916, while giving them an opportunity to do their own guided analysis of historical and primary source materials. In this Common Core-aligned unit, students will wrestle with issues of perspective, power, ideology, and prejudice and will closely examine the role Montana newspapers played in shaping public opinion toward the tribes’ attempts to maintain economic independence and gain a land base and political recognition.

  • "Sun Dance in Silver Bow: Urban Indian Poverty in the Shadow of the Richest Hill on Earth" is a PowerPoint-based lesson plan that explores the complexity underpinning the change-over (or reconfiguration) of the West (and particularly Montana) from Aboriginal lands into Euro-American hands at the end of the nineteenth century.
I saw this article on in the New York Times about Australian aborigine's use of fire and how important that is for creating habitat for animals in the outback. It reminded me of the Fire History project created by the Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Fire on the Land. (In addition to being available online, the Indian Education Department of the Montana Office of Public Instruction also sent a copy of this DVD to all public school libraries.)


Our compatriots at the Wyoming Historical Society recently published two relevant articles on WyoHistory.org: Managing Game on the Wind River Reservation and Holding on to Sovereignty: The Tribes Mix Old Forms with New. Notifications about those posts sent me down a rabbit hole, exploring their website, where I found a number of "Digital Toolkits" that I think would interest Montana teachers. "Aimed at secondary levels and above" ... "each toolkit contains:
1. A background summary of the topic.
2. Links to relevant primary-source documents—maps, photos, letters, etc.
3. Links to more detailed WyoHistory.org articles on the topic.
4. Exercises encouraging students to write about or otherwise encounter the topic.
5. Bibliographies and links for further information and research...."
Toolkits include Father De Smet’s Map: Tribal boundaries and the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and American Indians in World War I.  

Finally, Arlee teacher Anna Baldwin pointed me to this three-part video from NBA.com about the Arlee Warriors basketball team and that addresses suicide, historical trauma and other significant contemporary issues.



As always, send along anything you think is worth sharing! You are where the best stuff comes from.