Friday, July 14, 2017

Great PD Opportunities in Great Falls and Miles City

I said I'd only interrupt summer for things that couldn't wait--and the FREE workshop, "Teaching with Primary Sources: "Understanding How Our Past Paints Our Future" workshops fall into that category. What a great opportunity!

September 15-16 @ Great Falls College MSU
October 6-7 @ Miles Community College

Click here to register.   

Immerse yourself in the rich history of your local area.  You are invited to participate in a professional development opportunity through the Library of Congress.  This opportunity is being offered through the collaboration of the Montana Regional Education Area III (MRESA3), Prairie Educational Service Area (PESA), and Montana North Central Educational Service Region (MNCESR).  This professional development will provide “hands on” exploration of the Library of Congress and homesteading in Montana using local resources.

There will be two-day workshops held in two locations: Great Falls and Miles City.  After the initial two-day workshops participants will receive additional support through the 2017-2018 school year, using webinars and Edchats.  There will be a culminating one-day celebration in June 2018 in Lewistown.  At this celebration, participants will share lessons or exhibits that they have created and used.

Workshop Leaders: Ruth Ferris and Kathi Hoyt
Ruth and Kathi are experienced trainers in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Resources program.  They have both presented throughout Montana and beyond.  Both are librarians in the Billings Public Schools and are Indian Education for All presenters for MRESA3.

Workshop Purpose: 
  • Immersion in the practice of teaching with primary sources from the unparalleled collections of the Library of Congress
  • Build partnerships between educators and local museum staff
  • Incorporate Indian Education for All into content curriculum
Action Step: 
Audience Focus: 
  • K-12 teachers
  • Museum staff and volunteers
Cost: FREE (Stipends available for travel)

Participant Commitment: 
  • One two-day workshop
  • On-line Webinars
  • Edchats
  • Creation of a lesson or exhibit
  • Culminating celebration in June 2018
Participant Benefits: 
  • Best Practices using Primary Sources
  • OPI Renewal Credits (free)
  • Stipend for travel expenses
Schedule for Workshops, Webinars, & Edchats
  • Great Falls: September 15-16, 2017
  • Miles City: October 6-7, 2017
  • Webinar: October 24, 2017
  • Edchat: November 14, 2017
  • Webinar: January 16, 2018
  • Edchat: February 13, 2018
  • Webinar: March 13, 2018
  • Edchat: April 10, 2018``
  • Culminating Celebration: Lewistown: June 11, 2018
Additional Information: 
  • All professional development offerings are free
  • Each workshop is worth 12 OPI Renewal Units
  • Each webinar is worth 1 OPI Renewal Unit
  • $100 Stipend for participants for travel expenses after attending workshop
 Contact for more information: John Keener, MRESA3 Project Coordinator, john.keener@msubillings.edu, 406-657-1743

Thursday, May 25, 2017

See you next fall if not before....

This blog is going on hiatus for summer break--unless something time sensitive comes along that is so good I can't bear not to share it.

If your travels bring you to Helena this summer, please stop in and say "hello." And of course, don't hesitate to contact me if I can help you as you prepare for your classes next fall: mkohl@mt.gov.

Do know that there's still time to complete our annual survey and to share your favorite lesson. (Two prizes remain!) 

Whether through the survey, an email, at an upcoming workshop, or if your vacation takes you through Helena, I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Reading....

Before I shut Teaching Montana History down for the summer, I decided to look back at what our most popular posts have been. I found the results interesting, and thought you might too. And I thought the list might be especially useful for new subscribers, who want to dig into the archives during summer break.

Evidence Analysis Window Frames describes a primary source analysis tool created by Glenn Weibe, who also runs the blog History Tech.

Teaching Indian Literature and/or Literature about Indians talks about problems with some commonly used literature about Indians by non-Indians and provides suggestions for alternatives.
Top Ten Most Important Events in Montana History was a survey I ran in 2012, asking  people what they thought were the ten most important events in Montana history. Although I'm no longer tabulating survey results, taking the survey is still an instructive and thought-provoking exercise. And you can find out what I learned from the survey by reading these posts: Surprises. Survey Results, and Comments.

Teaching Montana History in Fourth Grade are suggestions I wrote in 2014 for planning your fourth grade Montana history curriculum. It's a bit out of date, but people seem to find it useful. Find newer post on the same topic here.

Favorite High School Lessons and Favorite Middle School Lessons were posts I wrote with your help. As part of the year-end survey, I ask teachers to share their favorite Montana history or Indian Education for All lesson plan. I compile these lessons by grade level (elementary, middle school, and high school) and share them each fall. I love learning what has worked for you in the classroom--and if blog stats are any measure--your colleagues do to. So PLEASE! If you haven't already, take a few moments to fill out this year's survey and share your favorite lesson

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Teaching Montana History in Fourth or Fifth Grade: Take 2

Every year, I'm asked by fourth and fifth grade teachers if we have an elementary level textbook (not yet--but we are slowly working on it) and for suggestions on how to structure their curriculum.

I wrote out some preliminary thoughts on the topic in 2014, which you can find here. I gave it another go recently--this time with the goal of fitting the curriculum into a quarter. I'm not completely satisfied with what I came up with--and would probably write a completely different plan, featuring different resources next week--but I thought some of you might find it useful as a starting point. I'd love to hear what you think--even if it's outrage that I gave short shrift to your favorite Montana history topic (war of the Copper Kings, anyone?).

I'd love a conversation around this--and to be able to share what you are doing with other teachers across the state who are trying to design their elementary Montana history units, so please write me (and attach your curriculum maps). I'll use what you send to inform our work on the long-awaited fourth grade textbook. I'll also respond with any lesson plans/resources I know of on the topics you think need to be emphasized that aren't listed below. Deal?

By the way, when I refer below to footlockers, I'm referring to our Hands-on History footlocker program. Even if you can't order a footlocker to come to your classroom, I highly recommend you look at the User Guides, which include fourth-grade level narratives and lesson plans. We have 21 different titles--only a few are listed below.

Week 1: Montana Geography

o   Video: Introducing the First Nations of Montana to the World, http://visitmt.com/places_to_go/indian_nations/
o   Sovereignty: Use the Rez We Live On videos: http://therezweliveon.com/
o   Have someone from nearby tribes come talk to class about Indians today (including sovereignty, culture, language)

Week 2: Pre and early contact period (could easily be expanded to two weeks)

 Week 3: Treaties and the creation of reservations

 Week 4: The Gold Rush (OR Cattle and the Open Range)

 Week 4: Cattle and the Open Range (OR Gold Rush—or add a week and do both)

Week 5: Coming to Montana: Immigrants from around the World

Week 6: Boarding school/allotment Era (can shorten to 3 days)

 Week 7: World War I (can shorten to 3 days)

Week 8: Modern Montana
  • Women and Sports: Tracking Change Over Time (Designed for grades 4-8) In this lesson aligned to both Common Core ELA and Math standards, students learn about how Title IX (a federal civil rights law enacted in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in education) changed girls’ opportunities to participate in school sports by collecting and analyzing the data to look at change in women’s sports participation over time. (You’ll need to start this in week 6 or 7 to make sure students have time to collect data.)

 P.S. Have you taken the year-end survey yet? Don't delay!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Slowing down and really looking

Getting students to slow down and really look at an image is always a trick. (Or maybe this is projection. As a word person, I find this hard myself, so I assume it is hard for students as well.)

That's one reason I really like Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). We've incorporated VTS into many of our lessons that require image analysis and for the last several years colleagues Deb Mitchell and Jim Schulz have conducted trainings on this technique across the state.

But there are many other tools to help students slow down and really look. Among them is Crop Ita simple "four-step hands-on learning routine where teachers pose questions and students use paper cropping tools (template here) to deeply explore a visual primary source." The website Teachinghistory.org, where I first learned about Crop It, handily offers a question set for teachers to use with this tool, suggesting such questions as:

Crop to show a what first caught your eye.
Think: Why did you notice this part.
Crop to a clue that tells when this is happening.
Think: What helps us recognize specific times?
Crop to a clue that shows the emotion expressed in the image.
Think: How do colors, lines, and shapes express emotion.
"Zoom-ins" are another approach. TPS-Barat's Primary Source Network published a series of guest posts about this technique--all with different examples. According to Social Studies Specialist Patti Winch, of Virginia, Zoom ins were originally created using PowerPoint. "The first slide of the presentation would show one small section of an image and teachers would ask students to identify what they saw. Subsequent slides revealed more and more of the image, asking students to identify ‘new’ things that they saw." More recently, though, her district has been using Google Forms to post image details AND questions that students need to answer.

Museum educator and sixth-grade Virginia history teacher Alissa Oginsky took direction from the Library of Congress's primary source analysis tool when she created her Google Form Zoom-in.

And seventh-grade history teacher Sara Conyers, also of Virginia, provides step by step instructions for creating a "Zoom-in primary source analysis activity using Google Forms here.

I use Google forms a LOT--for example, to gather responses to our end-of-the-year survey and find it an extraordinarily useful and easy to use (which is saying something as I'm not the most tech savvy person). And speaking of our end-of-the-year survey, please take a few moments to participate. It really helps us improve.

P.S. You can find more ideas for using Google Forms, including creating self-grading quizzes, over at Glenn Wiebe's HistoryTech blog.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Take our year-end survey and maybe win a prize

It snuck up on me! Yesterday was Rapelje's last day of school! That means it is time for my annual, year-end survey.

As yet another school year winds to a close, I’d appreciate getting your feedback. I’d also like to gather information on what has worked for you in the classroom, so I can share it with other teachers next year.

Would you be willing to take a short online survey? If so, click here.

Need a little incentive? I’m offering prizes to the fifth, fifteenth, and thirty-first person to complete this survey.

P.S. Don't be confused. The survey refers to the listserv because the way the information on this blog is delivered to most people, but the Montana History and Heritage Education Listserv is the same as the Teaching Montana History Blog.

P.P.S. I'll continue posting for a little while now since most of us still have more school ahead of us--but wanted to get the survey out in order to reach everyone.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Looking forward to the Fall: the Montana History Conference plus Regional Workshops

Save the Date! The Montana Historical Society is putting together an amazing program for the 44th Annual Montana History Conference, the theme of which is "Montana, 1917: Time of Trouble, Time of Change." The conference will be held in Helena, September 21-23, 2017. Renewal units will be available for both the Thursday educator workshop and all conference sessions. (Check here in June for more details.) We hope you’ll consider attending!

As past years, we will be offering travel scholarships for both teachers and students.

About the scholarships: Funded by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, the scholarships will consist of full conference registration plus a $275 travel/expense reimbursement. All teachers and students in Montana’s high schools, colleges, and universities are eligible to apply (residents of Hamilton and the vicinity are eligible for the conference registration scholarship but not the travel reimbursement).

Teacher recipients must attend the entire conference, including Thursday’s Educators Workshop and the Saturday sessions. Student recipients must commit to attending all day Friday and Saturday, including a Saturday tour.

Preference will be given to
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s tribal colleges;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s on-reservation high schools;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s community colleges and four-year universities;
  • Teachers and students from Montana’s small, rural, under-served communities.
Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. September 5, 2017.  Awards will be announced the following week.

Applying for a scholarship is quick and easy. Apply online.

Can't make it to the history conference? Jim Schulz is heading back on the road with is amazing workshop, "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core."

He'll be in Hardin at the Big Horn County Historical Museum on September 29 and Livingston at the Yellowstone Gateway Museum September 30.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More on RAFT assignments

After reading the post "Raft Writing and World War I," Sue Dailey, a long time middle school teacher, reading specialist, and teacher consultant for Montana: Stories of the Land, wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of RAFT writing that I thought was worth sharing. 
I’m thrilled that you are recommending RAFT writing to your members! ... I used it many, many times in my Montana History curriculum.  The things I like best about RAFT are

  1. the students really need a good understanding of the content to be able to write a good RAFT paper, so all the good study/reading strategies (notetaking, transformation, discussion) come into play before writing;  
  2. it is especially effective when LA/Social Studies teachers are teaming or when the teacher is teaching both LA and history – the LA part is the actual writing instruction and reading sources (e.g. narratives, letter writing, journaling) and the history teacher applies those skills to content; 
  3. RAFT assignments allow students to learn what “voice” in writing means as they take the role of a person involved in events and have the opportunity to show emotion and opinion.  
She also very generously sent some of the RAFT assignments she used when she taught 7th grade Montana history, which you can access here. These include applying to join the Corps of Discovery, a letter home from the Montana gold fields, and testimony for a town meeting hosted by the EPA about drilling for oil and natural gas along the Rocky Mountain Front. She said grading these was a lot more fun than grading traditional essays. Bonus!

If you haven't already, I encourage you to check out the RAFT assignment we created for our Montana and the Great War project. And please feel to email me your favorite RAFT assignment so I can share it to the list. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Consider Applying for the Charles Redd Center Teaching Western History Award

Do you have a great western history lesson plan? Consider applying for the Charles Redd Center Teaching Western History Award. Submission deadline is August 1, 2017

Billings elementary librarian Ruth Ferris was one of the awardees last year; she said it was an amazing experience.

About the Award: 

The Western History Association and the Charles Redd Center are sponsoring four K-12 Teaching awards that will provide teachers the opportunity to attend and present at the Western History Association Annual Conference in San Diego, California, November 1-4, 2017. Selected teachers will share their lesson plans and teaching strategies at a K-12 teaching panel on November 4.

The Award includes the following: conference registration, award banquet ticket, ticket to the opening reception, and $500 towards conference-related costs such as hotel, travel, conference tours, or Continuing Education Credits. An added benefit is the opportunity to be in conversation with leading scholars in the field of Western history, with your lesson ideas and pedagogical expertise adding significantly to the field.

Application Materials Must Include:
  • Resume
  • Short statement (one page) of how winning the award will benefit you and your students
  • One letter of recommendation (principal, administrator, colleague, etc.)
  • Lesson Plan (any grade level K-12) on the North American West pertaining to the conference theme, “Against the Grain.” We consider the North American West to include northern Mexico and western Canada as well as the western United States. The lesson plan must include examples of Active Learning and Assessment and be factually correct. Include a bibliography of materials and sources used to create the lesson and reference any historical scholarship upon which the lesson is based. Lesson plans must also adhere to the scoring guidelines in the rubric.

Conference Theme:

The WHA 2017 conference theme is “Against the Grain,” emphasizing approaches that challenge traditional ways of thinking about western history. As you consider lesson plan development, ask: what preconceived notions do students bring to the study of western history? How do you challenge and complicate student thinking on these subjects? What innovative approaches can best be employed to encourage students to look at western history in new ways? How has the conception of the North American West changed and developed over time? How do you present the North American West to your students and strive to reflect the broad horizons that encompass the histories of the region? What teaching strategies are most effective when teaching the American West? What primary sources work well in your lessons?  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

RAFT Writing and World War I

Our first Montana and the Great War lesson plan is up. It has teachers leading students through a guided exploration of the Montana and the Great War Story Map before asking students to produce a classic RAFT writing assignment. RAFT stands for Role (who are you as a writer), Audience (who are you writing to), Format (are you writing a letter, diary entry), Topic. 

In this lesson plan, students are ask to take on the persona of a person living in Montana during the war or a Montana soldier at the front (Role), and then to write either a letter or a diary entry (Format) about their experiences during the war as informed by their research (Topic.) (Audience is either themselves--if a diary entry--or the letter recipient.) We've targeted the lesson to 5-8 grade, but I think it will work well in high school too.

This should be a comfortable assignment for English teachers, but I only learned about RAFT a few years ago, when Helena High School teacher Jean O'Connor worked with us to develop a similar exercise for the Great Depression. Her students were reading Grapes of Wrath, and to bring it home, she had them conduct research in the Montana Governors Records, where they found heartrending letters from farmers (some of which we digitized) detailing their struggles on drought stricken farms. Details of her project are here.

If you use either of these lessons, let me know. And if you have had students exercise their historical imagination by writing RAFTs on a different topic, I'd love to know that too (including how you had them do their research.)

P.S. Only ONE person has completed the Montana and the Great War scavenger hunt I posted a few weeks ago. Submit your answers to win your choice of the following books:
  • Darkest Before Dawn: Sedition and Free Speech in the American West. Clemens P. Work (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005).
  • Copper Chorus: Mining, Politics, and the Montana Press, 1889-1959. Dennis L. Swibold. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2006.
  • Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917. Michael Punke. Reprint edition, 2007. New York: Hachette Books.
  • Beyond Schoolmarms and Madams: Montana Women's Stories. Martha Kohl, ed. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2015.
  • Mining Childhood: Growing Up in Butte Montana, 1900-1960. Janet L. Finn. Helena: Montana Historical Society Press, 2012.

Monday, April 24, 2017


I've just discovered Newsela (thanks Glenn Wiebe!) Newsela is a site that offers nonfiction text (including news articles and primary sources) at multiple reading levels.

Take for example this February 28, 2014, Los Angeles Times article, "Oldest skeletal remains in Americas to be reburied."

The first paragraph of the original reads: "The skeletal remains of an infant who lived in what is now Montana about 12,600 years ago will be reburied in a formal ceremony now that scientists have sequenced its genome, researchers say."

Newsela staff rewrote the article for several grade levels.

Their fourth grade version (690L) is titled: "Ancient Native American boy's bones to be reburied." The first paragraph reads: "Sometime soon, pieces of a very important skeleton will be reburied. The bones are the remains of a young boy. Scientists believe he lived in what is now Montana about 12,600 years ago."

At the sixth grade leve (1000L) it reads: "At the request of several Native American tribes, an ancient human skeleton will soon be reburied in a formal ceremony. The bones are the remains of an infant who lived in what is now Montana about 12,600 years ago. Scientists have already completed a sequencing of the boy's genome."

Newsela is better for geography, world and U.S. history, and current events than for Montana history, but there are a numbers articles about Montana, collected into their text set, "Montana News."

Newsela also offers simplified versions of some primary sources through its Library, including this interesting (and extremely patronizing) article on Jeannette Rankin's election to Congress in 1916.

To access Newsela resources, you'll need to register--but registration is free.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mining Montana Memory for Golden Resources

Have you checked out the Montana Memory Project lately, or ever?

Montana Memory provides access to digital collections that relate to Montana’s cultural heritage and government to make previously unavailable historic and cultural content available to the general public. You can think of it as Montana's version of the Library of Congress's digitization project (and if you haven't gone to that site, I highly recommend a visit.) 

But back to Montana.

I've mentioned  the Montana Memory Project in earlier posts, including this one on maps, this one on the Peggy Letters (newsletters sent by Miles City volunteers to Custer County men and women serving overseas); and this one on digitized National Register nominations. However, it's worth revisiting because it is such a rich resource. 

The Montana Historical Society is a partner in this project and over the years has added many photographs, documents, books, maps, audio, and other historical materials, including livestock brand records, military enlistment cards, and hundreds of photographs by esteemed eastern Montana photographers Evelyn Cameron and L. A. Huffman.

The crew at the Montana Memory Project has been working hard to make the site easier to use. It isn't perfect--but if you are looking for digitized primary sources, there's gold in them thar hills. Here are some tips for mining this resource.

  1. Use Advance Search. Always. (I find it helpful to do more, narrow searches rather than one large search.)
  2. Do you know what type of resource you are looking for (For example, a photograph or a county history book)? Narrow your search by Material Type.
  3. Do you know the collection name--or likely collections in which you'll find the information you are looking for (for example Central Montana Historical Photographs or Early Montana Histories)? Narrow your search by Collection. 
For example: I was recently looking for pictures of threshing crews. So I went to Montana Memory, selected advance search, selected photographs under type of material and typed in "threshing" for my search term. Among the images I found was this Evelyn Cameron picture of the "Williams family farm showing new Case steam-and gasoline-powered threshing machinery with five-member crew, ca. 1910," Montana Historical Society Photo Archives, PAc 90-87.G059-004.

Pretty cool, huh? 

Want more hints? Check out the Project's handy instructional videos, where you can learn not only tips for searching the site but also how to create a PowerPoint from the resources you find there.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Studying Science, History, and IEFA

The amazing Jim Schulz, who has just returned home from conducting trainings for us in Lewistown and along the High-Line, just introduced me to Threshold, a new podcast from Montana Public Radio, which explores issues surrounding bison in a seven-episode series.
"People and bison first met 75,000 years ago, and ever since, we've been hunting them, painting them, and walking with them into new lands. Before Europeans arrived in America there were more than 50 million bison here. By 1901, there were just 23 wild bison left. Now, we have some decisions to make. Can we ever have wild free-roaming bison in North America again? Should we? What does the history of bison have to teach us about ourselves?"
You can find all seven of the 30-minute episodes here. 

Another, extensive, cross-curricular study of bison can be found through Project Archaeology. The free curriculum includes five interactive, hands-on, and student-driven units highlighting bison’s integral role culturally, politically, socially, and ecologically both before and after Euroamerican contact. 

Have you ever noticed that once you start looking for something it seems to be everywhere? Just after I wrote this post, I heard NPR's "Code Switch" April 11, 2017 podcast, which focused the entire 21-minute episode to "The Beef over Native American Hunting Rights."

And then I saw this article in the Missoulian: "Zinke halts plan to transfer National Bison Range to tribal control." Bison is clearly topical.

On another note: Can you share this with your math and science teacher friends? Mobile Science Lab is a traveling trunk program developed as a joint project between the Carter County Museum and the Museum of the Rockies. It draws from the Carter County Museums' osteological collections to give students a hands-on approach to studying growth curves between maiasaura, cattle, chickens and deer. Through this program, students learn about agriculture and Montana's rich fossil history. It's suited primarily for high school math and science classrooms but has been adapted for younger students as well. Information on the trunk is available on their website at: http://cartercountymuseum.org/education/.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Special Tours--Real and Virtual

We have some new and exciting things happening in our tour program. 

  1. Nancy Russell (as interpreted by Mary Jane Bradbury) has agreed to continue giving tours of MHS's Mackay Gallery of Russell Art through the end of the school year. In this living history tour, Nancy shares first-hand stories about her life with Charlie and the integral role she played in creating his remarkable legacy.
  2. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the US entering WWI, Bobi Harris has revamped the tours at the Original Governor's Mansion to better reflect what was going on during WWI, when Governor Stewart and his family lived in the mansion. Much of the tour is also told through the perspective of the three Stewart girls, giving a kid's-eye view of life from 1910-1921.
  3. We've gotten good feedback on our new story-based tour of the exhibit "Neither Empty Nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark." Request the story tour to experience it for yourself.

You can book any of these tours, or our traditional tours of the museum and capitol by calling 406-444-3695 or 406-444-4789. 

Can't make it to Helena or want to extend your tour with pre- and post-tour lessons? 

  1. Every school library received a copy of our Montana's Charlie Russell packet, with lesson plans, PowerPoints, and art prints. The material is also online--and we still have some packets left, so feel free to email us if you want one for your own classroom.) And consider watching the 18-minute "Montana's Charlie Russell: A Visit with Nancy Cooper Russell" on YouTube. 
  2. Consider ordering our hands-on history footlocker, Original Governor’s Mansion: Home to the Stewart Family in Turbulent Times, 1913-1921, which offers an opportunity to investigate life and politics during the Progressive Era and World War I, 1913-1921, as well as the history and architecture of a magnificent building. Check out the Virtual Tour of the OGM and explore the history of Montana during World War I via this interactive Story Map.
  3. We've created PowerPoint tour of Neither Empty Nor Unknown: Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark using the same stories we tell at the museum--as well as pre- and post-tour lesson plans. 
We're always interested in how you integrate your tours into your curriculum. If you've developed any pre- or post-tour lessons that make your students' visits to the Museum, Capitol or Original Governor's Mansion more meaningful than they would be otherwise, I'd love to hear about them.

P.S. Only ONE teacher has successfully completed our WWI challenge. I still have 4 prizes left. Get to work and you may be one of our lucky winners.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Summer Workshops plus Looking for Input on the state of Historic Preservation in Montana

We're still accepting applications for all of our summer workshops but deadlines are fast approaching: 

Montana and the Great War: Bringing It Home, June 12-13, 2017, Helena (for High School teachers only). Application deadline: April 15. 12 OPI Renewal Units and travel scholarships are available.

Teacher Leader in History Summit, June 14-15, 2017, Helena (for elementary teachers only). Application deadline: April 30. Up to 15 OPI Renewal Units or 1 graduate credit (at the cost of $150/pending course approval from MSU-Northern,  

Struggling Readers and Content Area Textbooks: Making Montana: Stories of the Land Accessible to All, June 16, 2017, Helena (4-12 grade teachers). Travel scholarship applications due May 1. 6 OPI Renewal Units.

P.S. My colleagues at the State Historic Preservation Office are looking for input. They've put together a short (10 question) survey hat they will use as they revise their historic preservation plan, which establishes how they direct resources over the next five years. Will you take their survey? https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZ7R7R3

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Montana and the Great War

One hundred years ago today, the United States officially declared war on Germany and entered into what turned out to be a conflict that transformed our state, or nation, and the world. World War I has long been overshadowed by World War II, but I'd argue it is equally significant in its impact.

For the last year, my colleagues and I have been working on a web-based project that examines this complicated and under-examined war. I invite you to explore the result at Montana and the Great War

Look in these pages to find links to download pertinent articles, primarily from the Montana Historical Society's award-winning magazine, Montana The Magazine of Western History; information on archival collections in the Montana Historical Society Archives; clips from oral histories; and (still to come) educator resources. (I'm looking for grades 5-8 teachers to test a one- to two-day lesson plan that uses the online resources we created. If you are interested, please email me! We're also still recruiting high school teachers to participate in our June 12-13 Educator Workshop. Learn more here.)

Of all the aspects of this project, I'm most excited about the ArcGIS Story Map, which features 70 stories 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. 

To encourage you to explore this map, I'm proposing a contest and scavenger hunt. The first 5 people to find the correct answers to the following questions will win a fabulous as-yet-to-be-determined prize. All answers can be found in the Story Map, a link to which is on the main page of Montana and the Great War. Feel free to recruit your students or friends to help you. Ready?
  1. Name an African American soldier from Montana and the town from which he was from.
  2. What was the American Protective League and name one Montana community in which it was active.
  3. What did telegraph operator Minda Brownell McAnnally use to protect her fellow operators when she was sick with the flu? 
  4. Who came from this latitude and longitude--46.3629015,-104.2789468--and what made her remarkable? 
  5. Name the Montanan who participated in the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.
  6. What was the Montana Council of Defense's Order #3?
  7. Which town's Red Cross Society published a cookbook of “tempting recipes … [to] help banish memories of forbidden things”? 
  8. Find the story that is connected to the site nearest to your town (remember to look at all three sets of stories: Over Here, Over There, and Home Again.) What is it? Where did it take place? How many miles from where you live?
  9. How many men in your county served in World War I?
  10. Name one new thing you learned from the stories on this map that particularly disturbed, intrigued, confused or excited you.
Submit your answers to mkohl@mt.gov and while you are at it, let me know what you think of our new website. And if you are willing to test-drive our lesson plan (designed for 5-8 but adaptable to high school), let me know that too.

P.S. Spots are still available for our Montana and the Great War: Bringing It Home Workshop, designed for high school teachers interested in working with their students to uncover the war's local impact. Application deadline is May 1. Learn more here.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

MHS Digital Projects

People often say that Montana is a small town with a long Main Street. Both parts of that statement ring true to me. Here at the Montana Historical Society, we're proud to serve people who live in every corner of Montana, and work hard to maintain our connections across vast distances. (One way we're doing that this April is with our on-the-road educator workshops, which will be held in Lewistown, Glasgow, Chinook, and Cut Bank. There's still time to register!)

But the fact is, it is still a long haul from Libby to Cut Bank (the closest April workshop site) and we can't physically be everywhere. To overcome the prodigious length of Main Street, he Montana Historical Society has been working to use the internet to help serve our state. We broadcast all of our Thursday night programs through our YouTube channel, we record most of our annual history conference sessions to post on SoundCloud, and reach out through social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.)

We've also increased our commitment to digitizing collections and creating self-contained digital projects focusing on specific topics. I've talked individually about many of these digital initiatives before, but here's a quick run-down of my favorites:
To make it easier to access and explore these digital projects, I've created a new link on the Educator Resources Page of our website that will lead to a list of our Digital Projects. I'll add more links as we complete more projects so check back often. We have some great new ones in the works.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Upcoming IEFA Professional Development Opportunities

There are some great IEFA professional development--and PDs that integrate IEFA--coming up. Here are the ones that have crossed my desk. 

Montana Indian Education Association Annual Conference
Date(s):  April 19 –22, 2017
Location:  Missoula, Holiday Inn Downtown
Cost: $250 (for early registration)
Contact:  www.mtiea.org

The Montana Indian Education Association is hosting their 36th Annual Conference in Missoula in conjunction with the Kyi-Yo Powwow at U of M.  The conference theme is "Counting Coups through Education". 

Elk River Writing Project Invitational Leadership Institute
Date(s): Blended delivery – Online/On campus June 12 – August 14, 2017
              On campus: MSUB, June 12 – June 23, 9:00 a.m. –  4:30 p.m. daily
              Online: June 26 - August 11, ~3 hours per week
              On campus: MSUB, August 14, 9:00 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Location: Montana State University Billings and Online
Cost: $285
Contact:  Glenda McCarthy, email: elkriverwriting@gmail.com, phone: 406-839-0070

Elk River Writing Project's Invitational Leadership Institute offers 7 graduate credits to participants in a writing and teaching intensive course that blends place-based education, best literacy practices, Common Core, multicultural education and Indian Education for All.  All curricular areas, teaching levels and disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Worlds Apart But Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and Indian Education for All
Date(s): July 16 – 22, 2017
Location: MSU-B, Billings, MT
Cost: participants pay only for their housing (dorms available) and a few meals. 3 graduate credits offered for $135 total.
Contact:  Wendy Warren, email: wendyzwarren@yahoo.com, phone: 859-237-4069
Learn more and apply: https://www.toli.us/satellite-program/montana/

Worlds Apart But Not Strangers: Holocaust Education and IEFA is a seminar for educators, grades 4-college professors. This year, it will be held in Billings, Montana, site of the founding of the national organization Not in Our Town, as Billings' citizens responded to protect members of the Jewish and Native community from acts of hate. This inquiry-based seminar actively involves participants in classroom and field experiences, inspiring educators to create plans to take into their own classrooms, schools and communities.

Monday, March 27, 2017

More on Sovereignty and Native Land Use

In response to my inelegantly named post "Learning and Teaching about Indian Sovereignty plus Request for Short Story Ideas," Laura Ferguson, Adjunct Professor of Native American Studies at Helena College, emailed me two long and extraordinarily useful responses. With her permission, I'm sharing them here:

For teachers who want to delve into differences in views of land ownership between Europeans and America' indigenous peoples, I'd suggest using the first episode of the PBS series We Shall Remain, "After the Mayflower," because it involves early encounters between the English, Dutch and indigenous peoples, the idea of land as a commodity (salable, taxable, private property with legal title, and land as status) versus land as identity, as gift from the Master of Life, as sustainer, as an embodiment of culture, and as a provider that is not owned.  [This is something my students have to delineate at the beginning of our NAS classes, and we come back to it over and over.] 
As it progresses, the film gets into early treaties and land transfers, the conflict that these differing definitions of "land ownership" bring about, how indigenous people who once identified AS the land (“the land is me, I am the land, we are the People of the {geographical feature}”) began to use different terms to identify themselves -- terms that did not continue this association with land and self. The film presents a great way to begin a discussion about dispossession, the Doctrine of Discovery (vs. Natural/Birthright Law), and why treaties were essential for colonization.
This is also a good way to present a discussion of tribal sovereignty (as implied in treaty-making) and the film includes valuable information such as the Pequot war which ended by the English declaring, via the Treaty of Hartford, that it would be thereafter illegal for the Pequot Nation to exist or for a Pequot person to claim a tribal affiliation.  
 The We Shall Remain website has discussion questions by episode for teachers to use along with maps, comprehension questions, and other resources.
I helped write the definition of sovereignty for the Crossing Boundaries unit  and each portion of the seemingly incongruous portions of that definition have a basis in specific legal definitions, treaties, court cases, or similar sources.
 Tribes as semi-sovereign nations can be traced back to the Marshall Trilogy of Supreme Court cases (in particular Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, in which Justice Marshall declared the Cherokee to be a "domestic, dependent nation" under the guardianship of the United States, but then in Worcester v. Georgia used Cherokee Nation to defend the right of the Cherokee to self-governance and distinct political boundaries. Worcester also confirmed that state laws cannot apply in/on Indian nations.
 If teachers are teaching about the Removal era, the Marshall Trilogy is a necessary aspect of this history and these three cases continue to have bearing today both in upholding tribal sovereignty and in limiting it.
 There are several useful and understandable resources on the Marshall Trilogy and the Removal Act, Jackson's and Georgia's violation of the Supreme Court's decisions, and how the Cherokee removal  split the tribe into factions over sovereignty.
 Also, because each tribe has its own unique history with the federal government, including its own treaties and applicable executive orders and friendly/hostile status, the federal government has used is assumption of supreme sovereignty to truncate some tribes' sovereignty in different ways (for example, the Osage Tribe was not allowed by the federal government to add members at one time; another example is the federal definition of an  Indian as being someone with 1/4 blood quantum. There are tons of examples.) 
Presidents (through executive orders on specific tribes) and Congress have both stepped in to limit tribal sovereignty in specific ways. So while it may seem (and be) weird that sovereignty is not the same for all tribal nations, there are reasons -- and these are great things for students to delve into and try to figure out.
At my request, Laura also recommended some additional resources on sovereignty:

American Indian Tribal Sovereignty Primer from the American Indian Policy Center

We Shall Remain (individual episodes are on youtube):
  • "After the Mayflower" (relevant to land ownership, treaties) and "Trail of Tears" (relevant to tribal sovereignty, and the Marshall trilogy, Removal Act) -- see the "Teacher Guide per Episode: links at bottom of this page
  • For selection of books and tribal Web sites that We Shall Remain producers, directors and researchers relied on to tell these stories, view Film Bibliographies.
The Advocates for Human Rights published the 9-12 lesson plan "What Does Sovereignty Look Like?" It includes the Marshall Trilogy up through the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It may be a bit challenging, but the resources in it are useful and solid, and talking about Native American sovereignty in the context of global indigenous sovereignty is certainly important.  
A teacher at Helena High School uses this video, which I like as it presents the information and has multiple people (tribal, legal, etc.) talk about these issues: Tribal Nations: The Story of Federal Indian Law (2006, documentary)
Great Falls Indian Ed Coach Jolena Hichman created a good sovereignty unit for OPI: Using Primary Source Documents to Understand Tribal Sovereignty

If you've read this far, you may also be interested in an upcoming PD Webinar from the National Archives: Bringing Native American Voices into Your Classroom. Thanks, Ruth Ferris, Billings school librarian extraordinaire, for alerting me to this free professional development webinar on Thursday, April 6th at 7 p.m. or 10 p.m. EDT.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rundown on MHS Workshops

I've been announcing so many workshops it may be hard to keep track, so I thought I'd offer a rundown of all the workshops we're offering this spring and summer. OPI Renewal Units will be offered for ALL workshops. There are travel scholarships available for the summer workshops. Click on the workshop title for more information and links to register.


Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core

  • Lewistown, on April 8, 2017
  • Glasgow, on April 10, 2017
  • Chinook, on April 11, 2017 
  • Cut Bank, on April 12, 2017


Montana and the Great War: Bringing It Home, June 12-13, 2017, Helena (for High School teachers). Application deadline: April 15.

Teacher Leader in History Summit, June 14-15, 2017, Helena (for elementary teachers only). Application deadline: April 30.

Struggling Readers and Content Area Textbooks: Making Montana: Stories of the Land Accessible to All, June 16, 2017, Helena (4-12 grade teachers). Travel scholarship applications due May 1.