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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Resources for Teaching about Copper Mining

A teacher who attended our weeklong NEH-funded workshop, "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West," last summer sent us a link to Dig into Mining: The Story of Copper. The interactive web-based program for students grades 6-8 uncovers the use of metals such as copper in our everyday life, and provides students a deeper understanding of today’s hard rock mining industry.

It looks to be a very well-done resource. The only caveat is that it doesn't talk about environmental impacts of copper mining and processing. Clark Fork Watershed Education Program has a few relevant lesson plans highlighting the aftermath of copper mining in Butte on their website: cfwep.orgPitwatch.org has information about the Berkeley Pit. Another resource that focuses on industrial mining's environmental consequences is this PowerPoint and script about Butte's industrial landscape. Professor Fred Quivik created the PowerPoint to present to educators as part of The Richest Hills, but it can be easily modified to use in your classroom. 

Two other relevant and extremely well-done resources--especially for high school students--about copper mining in Butte and its aftermath are the movie, Butte, America, and the article "Pennies from Hell: In Montana, the Bill for America’s Copper Comes Due" (written by Edwin Dobb and published in Harper's Weekly in October 1996). Neither are available online, but both are well worth the extra time it will take to work with your librarian to access this material. A trailer for Butte, America, which really is one of the most powerful movies ever made about Butte, is here

P.S. Dig into Mining is offering a virtual tour of the Morenci Copper Mine in Arizona on March 3. Designed for middle school students, this virtual  field trips will provide "a behind-the-scenes interactive journey of copper processing and show how copper goes from ore to 99.9% pure copper! During this virtual event, students will hear from mining engineers, metallurgists and others on how they apply STEM in their daily tasks." Learn more and register here.  


P.P.S. Find out how you can attend an NEH-funded workshop next summer here

Monday, January 25, 2016

March 15 is the deadline to apply for the Dave Walter Research Fellowship

The Montana Historical Society Research Center is pleased to announce the availability of the 2016 Dave Walter Research Fellowship.  The Dave Walter Research Fellowship will be awarded to two Montana residents involved in public history projects focused on exploring local Montana history. The award is intended to help Montanans conduct research on their towns, counties, and regions using resources at the Montana Historical Society. Research can be for any project related to local history, including exhibit development, walking tours, oral history projects, building history or preservation, county or town histories, archaeological research, and class projects. Awards of $1,250 each will be given to two researchers.

Recipients will be expected to:
§  travel to the MHS to conduct research
§  spend a minimum of the equivalent of one week in residence conducting research
§  provide a copy of their final product or a report on their completed project to the MHS Research Center
Applications are evaluated on:
§  suitability of the research to the Society's collections
§  potential of the project to make a contribution to local history
§  experience in conducting local history research
The application must include the following:
§  project proposal, not to exceed 3 pages, describing the research including the specific MHS Research Center collections you intend to use
§  cover letter
§  1-2 page resume
§  letter of recommendation
Applications must be sent as one PDF document to mhslibrary@mt.gov no later than March 15. Announcement of the award will be made in mid-April. Questions should be directed to Molly Kruckenberg at mkruckenberg@mt.gov.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More Maps

After last week's post on maps, I discovered another treasure trove:

The Census and Economic Information Center has a number of maps that provide snapshots of contemporary Montana. My favorite by far? Montana 2014 Exports by Country. If I were teaching geography, I'd design a scavenger hunt and have students find top exports from Montana to countries in our region of study. (And, not in map form--here's a list of the countries from whom Montana imports the most.)

Map showing Montana Exports by Country


I also saw this post, "Creative Approaches for Using Maps in the History Classroom," on Tarr's Toolbox, one of my favorite blogs,

P.S. If you use Montana: Stories of the Land in your Montana history classroom, don't forget to take this survey about how you actually use this book with your students. If you take the survey by January 26, you will not only be giving me a great birthday present (yep--1/26 is my special day) and helping other teachers improve their practice, but, in addition, your name will also be put into a drawing for a prize!

Take the survey here.


P.P.S. Although it is not Montana history, I thought some of you might be interested in this webinar on teaching Islam: “Supporting Your Diverse Classroom and Resources for Teaching About Islam.”“Tailored for teachers and others involved in education, expert guests will explore what the First Amendment says about teaching world religions in public schools, reputable resources for teachers and educators to use in educating about Islam and World Religions, and best practices for upholding a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.” The webinar runs from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM Mountain time. More information here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How Do You Use Montana: Stories of the Land?

I received a query from Hellgate Middle School teacher Fred Arnold, who is teaching 7th grade Montana history for the first time. He'll be using our textbook, Montana: Stories of the Land--and was looking for advice from teachers who've been using this resource. 

He's curious about which worksheets, quizzes, and activities folks assign, but also how much time teachers spend on individual chapters? "Which subjects deserved the most time? For example, the geological forces that shaped the land and 'Dog Days'.  I know I won't get through the book, but wanted to know where teachers feel time should be spent?"

Willing to share your expertise? Email me and I'll forward any words of wisdom you have on to Fred.

His question got me thinking how little I know about how teachers are actually using Montana: Stories of the Land--so I created a survey. If you use this textbook in your classroom, I'd love to get your feedback--so much so that I will be offering prizes to THREE lucky winners, drawn at random. (Note: Only teachers who are now, or have in the past, taught using this textbook are eligible for the drawing.) 


You can answer this survey fairly quickly--so I hope you'll take a few minutes and participate. Do note, however, that there are spots for long answers too--and the more time you spend on it, the more meaningful the results will be--both for me and for your compatriots, since I will, of course, tabulate and share results.

Fred's question about what he should teach and what he should leave out reminded me of a different survey I conducted back in 2012, in which I asked folks to name the top ten most significant and influential events in Montana history. That survey garnered all sorts of interesting responses, which I discussed in three different posts: "Top Ten Survey, Surprises,"  Top Ten Survey Results and Survey Results, Part 2. Some of you who weren't around in 2012 might find these posts interesting--and might enjoy taking the survey yourself (though I am no longer tabulating results). It's always useful to step back and look at the big picture.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Maps! And Immigration! But Mostly Maps.

Did you know that in 2012, 54 percent of Montanans were born in Montana? Or that only 1 percent of Montanans were born in North Dakota in 1900 but in 1950 5 percent were? Or that 9 percent of Montanans in 1950 were born outside the U.S. (down from 28% in 1900 but much higher than 2012's 3 percent)? I didn't until I spent time examining an intriguing set of maps The New York Times published that showcase where most people in every state were born--in 2012, 1950, and 1900.

Looking at this map reminded me of how useful maps can be for understanding the world around us--and how amazing the internet is at connecting us to digital resources. There are many, many online map collections. I provide links to many Montana map collections in this old post from 2013.

And then there is this amazing 17 second animation that shows Indian land loss using the chronological collection of land cession maps by Sam B. Hillard, of Louisiana State University, which were published in 1972 in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers. I first saw this a few days after reading this post from History Tech about printing out a YouTube video. I tried it on this video and here's what I got.


But back to the topic that started my map quest: if you are looking for more information on immigration to Montana, the "Coming to Montana" footlocker is a great place to start. Although the footlockers are targeted to fourth graders, Coming to Montana has many lessons and primary sources that can be adapted easily to middle school, and even high school. And we've made many of the lessons and images available online, so they can be used even without ordering the footlocker.

This worksheet, created for use with chapter 15 of Montana: Stories of the Land (our textbook) features two highly revealing immigration maps as well.

Is there a map you find particularly revealing about Montana? Let me know and I'll share it.

Monday, January 11, 2016

NEH Summer Programs for Schoolteachers

Last week I shared with you some of lesson plans created by teachers who attended "The Richest Hills: Mining in the Far West, 1862–1920," a Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops For School Teachers.

The Richest Hills was only one of many workshops, seminars, and institutes sponsored by the NEH all across the country and around the world. These workshops are amazing experiences. And they are tuition free. And teachers receive travel stipends of between $1,200 and $3,900 to help cover trip expenses.

Seminars last 3-5 weeks. Topics on offer for 2016 include Communism and American Life (Atlanta) and Race and Mental Health in History and Literature (Blacksburg, VA and Washington, DC).

Institutes last 2-4 weeks. Topics include The Chinese Exclusion Act and Immigration in America (NYC).

Landmarks workshops (my favorite, because they take you to historic places) are one week. Topics include


Applications are due March 1, 2016. It's never too early to start thinking about summer, right?



Friday, January 8, 2016

Lesson Plans from the Richest Hills: Teaching Montana's Mining History

Last year the Montana Historical Society took 72 teachers to Bannack, Virginia City, Butte, Anaconda, and Helena as part of  "The Richest Hills," an NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop. Participating teachers were required to create lesson plans; we've posted some of our favorites on "The Richest Hills" Digital Edition website--from last summer, but also from previous years.

Highlights from the 2015 workshop include two by Montana teachers:

Dalene Normand, Frenchtown
“Who’s in the Hood?” History, Language Arts & Social Studies Grades 4+. Students will examine the US. Census for a community that grew due to a gold rush in the area and the census of the actual mining area. They will create graphs of the community demographics and compare them.

Phil Leonardi, Corvallis
“Selected Montana Constitutional Comparisons and Imagery: 1889 and 1972” Social Studies, Grades 8-12. Students will compare sections of Montana’s 1889 and 1972 constitutions to investigate how these governing documents were shaped by the era in which they were written and the framer’s interests.

Other great lessons include investigating the minerals that are used to build cell phones (Science, Grades 4-6) and having students imagine the noises of the Industrial Revolution (Social Studies, Grades 5-7).

If you are interested in mining history, I highly recommend spending some time on the  Richest Hills digital edition website. Not only are there fabulous lesson plans, organized by grade level, but there are also links to some of the materials the faculty created for the workshop, including a PowerPoint and PowerPoint script created by Professor Fred Quivik on Butte’s Industrial Landscape that you can share with your class.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More Online Professional Development/Graduate Course

The Western Montana Professional Learning Collaborative is offering Indian Education for All Online Book Club Courses in Spring 2016. 

Montana Tribal Histories is an online Moodle Course that runs from February 1 to March 20, 2016. The course explores the Montana Tribal Histories Educators' Resource Guide developed by Julie Cajune and the The Framework: A Practical Guide for Montana Teachers and Administrators Implementing Indian Education for All by Tammy Elser.

Instructor: Sindie Kennedy (sindie.kennedy@gmail.com)
Registration fee: $145
Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits (semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $135. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form).

Also offered online through Moodle, The Boarding School Era will run from March 21 to May 15, 2016. Students will read and explore books focusing on the Boarding School Era including My Name is Seepeetza by Shirley Sterling, Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola L Campbell, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000 by Margaret L Archuleta, Brenda J Child and K Tsianina Lomawaima and Sweetgrass Basket by Marlene Carvell. The course is divided into weekly"modules." Participants will have one week, starting on Monday and ending on Sunday, to complete each consecutive module. This course will include weekly live chat sessions (days and times TBD).

The course books may be available for checkout from your school or public library or for purchase from the instructor. To see additional course requirements, contact the course instructor for a copy of the syllabus.

Instructor: Sindie Kennedy (sindie.kennedy@gmail.com)
Registration fee: $145
Credit: 30 OPI Renewal Units or 2 Semester Credits
(semester credit is offered through the University of Montana and is an additional fee of $135. The course instructor will provide a separate registration form)

You can register for either or both courses here.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Investigating Shelter: Online Course Begins Feb. 1

Project Archaeology--along with Montana State University, University of Utah, and Utah State--is offering an 8-week online course "Investigating Shelter." Participants can earn two graduate credits and will also receive complete curriculum guide, Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter.

The virtual workshop will provide an opportunity to practice the basics of scientific inquiry (observation, inference, evidence, and classification) using authentic archaeological data.  Here are the particulars: 

What: Online Educator Course
When: Beginning February 1, 2016 for eight weeks (4 - 5 self-directed hours/week)
Where: ONLINE at your convenience
Who: Upper elementary teachers (grades 3-6)
Cost: $175.00 (includes textbook)
Credit: 2 university credits for $60.00 (optional)

Learn more and register here.