Final reports for this year’s KEF Great Opportunities Grants are beginning to come in. Read about how projects impacted students and classrooms as they are posted below.
He Man Book Club – Final Report FHS
June 27, 2014
For the last three years the He-Man book club has become part of the reading culture for boys at Flathead High School. The goal of He Man Book Club is to promote engaged reading and a mentoring program for emerging readers. The He-Man Book Club met twice a month throughout the school year. Book club members were assigned a K-2 reading buddy to encourage younger students to read for pleasure.
Book club members serve as role models for these students by reading and providing activities that center around creating a culture of literacy. In addition, they had a monthly luncheon where the group discussed books, met with authors, and developed activities for various reading projects.
In the past, the He Man Book Club has been limited to the print library materials at FHS. Library collections hold limited multiple copies of titles.
Through the Kalispell Education Foundation, the He Man Book Club purchased Kindles. The Kindles were used mainly used as a tool to encourage both high school and emerging readers to develop good reading habits through accessibility.
The greatest strength of the project was the ease that our book club members found in being able to download titles on multiple Kindles and on their IPads. They downloaded various different children’s books and were able to use these titles during their mentoring time with their reading buddies. The Kindles were also used for projects when working with large groups of elementary students. Students used the Kindles to present different stories to students. In addition, the book club used the Kindles to download titles of interest for high school students. This included the Hunger Games and The Richman in Town. The Kindles were used almost exclusively during mentor time and students checked out the Kindles throughout the month to explore titles.
Areas of Improvement:
An area of weakness for the project was the ability to be able to get the Kindles into more students’ hands. We had difficulty locking down the Kindles so the students were not able to surf the internet or download items not pertinent to the projects they were working on. In addition, we did not have a good procedure for checking out the Kindles. However, this is something that will be addressed next year.
Next year, we will continue to use the Kindles in order to mentor emerging readers and we plan to use the Kindles during October’s Read for the Record. Our goal will be to have the Kindles checked out to students in order to encourage literacy throughout FHS.
We currently have 45 students in the He-Man Book Club. We were able to complete 4 book talks and two of the talks were completed using the Kindles. In addition, our He-Men completed their goal of 10 age appropriate books with their reading buddies and completed two activities. The first activity was Jump Start’s Read for the Record and the second included our Literacy Day activity, “First to Fly”.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity,
Peter J. Fusaro
Project Wii – Kalispell Middle School – Cheryl Russell
Assessment of Strengths & Weaknesses
The Kalispell Education Foundation grant has provided the students with special needs at KMS tremendous opportunities of enjoying fun exercise with a greater variety, more inclusion and chances to shine with their peers. Writing for the KEF grant has proven to be one of the best decisions I have made.
Project Wii came to fruition through a decision process regarding the need to provide more inclusion opportunities for students within the program while providing a safe environment and a greater variety of exercises. One of the strengths of the Life-Skills Program is the ability to provide close supervision for safety in very small groups and still allow for our students to gain as much independence as possible. However, one of the weaknesses of this need is that due to safety factors our students have not been able to participate in physical education with their peers.
Due to health and orthopedic needs it is extremely difficult for our students to participate in general physical education with their peers. Even with close supervision it is not conceivable for our students to remain safe within a fast paced activity with large groups. So the question became, “How can we provide inclusion opportunities in a safe environment?” We needed to come up with ideas for sports and safe activities within a setting that would provide for close supervision. Technology is an area that all our students are familiar with on a daily basis. Many of our students enjoy these types of programs within their homes. The answer came as we were able to discover the many ways the Wii would be useful to our program. Of course then the stumbling block of finances came in to play and that is when I decided to write for a grant from the KEF.
I participated in a class on how to write for grants that was provided by the KEF and taught by Mike Kofford (KEF Director). I found it to be extremely helpful and learned what was needed when writing for this grant. It was very informative and I learned a great deal about this process. I was able to write for the grant and we received the funding for the “Wii Project.” I have gained a greater insight into all the different avenues that must be researched when writing for a grant and how to be a better advocate for educational needs.
The weaknesses of Project Wii came in the form of technology. Although I had followed instructions and researched the technology end of the Wii with our IT specialist at KMS before writing for the grant, issues arose once the Wii arrived. Our specialist had detected that there were no issues and that I was asking for everything that I would need to get the Wii up and running. However, once the Wii arrived it was handed off to other media staff to prepare for our classroom. Due to a lack of understanding of exactly how it would connect with audio within our system, it took 4 months before it was finally connected. In the end we did have everything we needed and no further costs were incurred!
The strengths are innumerable! Our students have the opportunity to use the Wii for educational games within our curriculum, gain greater variety of sports activities for adaptive physical education and many opportunities to invite their middle school peers to enjoy games and dancing with them. In fact we celebrated the end of the year with a “Dance Madness” activity. On June 6, 2014 there were 42 students who signed up to participate in a Wii and field day with our 16 special needs students. We began in the morning in the gym with Wii Dance and the kids rocked the house! The students ended the day outdoors enjoying the sunshine with all their peers! I can honestly say that June 6, 2014 will go down as one of the most memorable days of my time at KMS! The Wii brought our students together and this was provided by the KEF! I have never felt more proud of all our students at KMS and to be a part of Kalispell Public schools. Thank you KEF from the bottom of my heart!
To see a short video clip of our Wii dance activity you can click on the link below. The Video and story was produced by Mike Kofford (Kalispell Public Schools, KEF Director). http://kalispelleducationfoundation.org/dance-madness-rocks-kms
Kalispell’s Voices: An Auditory Collage
Submitted by: Trisha Carlson for the Linderman Education Center
Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses of the project
In the grant application, I wrote that “This project will be a success if students are able to produce either a museum exhibit, edited video, or group presentation that will demonstrate their findings to the community.” On March 28, 2014 six students did just that. They were able to model their interview process, present a video montage of pictures they took with key takeaways of the recorded oral history, and to honor Cheryl in a public reception attended by about 40 community members, Linderman students, and Cheryl’s family.
- Initial benchmarks for the project were:
- Ability to create and articulate a meaningful theme – We chose to collaborate with Linda Brander’s DNRC Women in Agriculture project, so this was somewhat set for the students. In the future, I would like students to develop their own theme ideas for their research.
- Thorough and creditable background research – This was one area of weakness. I hope to collaborate more with the social studies teachers to improve this. Students did this in small groups, learning about different aspects of Cheryl’s life, including the start of the Fritz Corn Maze, changes in farming brought around by pesticides and political events that took place in Cheryl’s early life. However, I think they could have done much more with primary documents, citation practice and integrating research into their final presentation.
- Interview skills (questioning, setting up appointments, summarizing findings, writing thank-you notes, professionalism) – Three students took part in the actual interview, while a larger group wrote and fine-tuned questions and one other worked on summarizing the interview from the recording. I was very impressed with the professionalism the interviewers showed and each one reflected on how they handled their nervousness and were able to enjoy the actual interview. I do want to impact more of the student population in future cycles of the oral history project, but think this first group did this very well.
- Presentation skills (oral, written and visual) – The five participants in the final presentation did an excellent job of creating and presenting their research. They designed and set up the refreshments, the room, and the information presented. They also modeled their interview skills. I would like to develop this further by taking a back seat myself if a similar presentation takes place in the future so that a student or team could present the entire project.
The networking and student involvement with the community were two of the greatest strengths of the project. Students connected with an important Flathead family (the Fritzes), worked alongside the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, welcomed community members into the school and were featured in both the Daily Inter Lake (March 29, 2014) and the Flathead Beacon (April 9, 2014). They visited the Museum at Central School and interacted with Gil Jordan as they learned about oral histories. Most importantly, they were able to honor Cheryl Fritz and her work in our valley, and in so doing, identify with some of her life lessons about wealth through relationships, the importance of the land, and standing up for issues that matter to you and to the community.
How Project Will Continue
As this project progressed, about 20 students participated at one point or another, but only four were involved throughout each stage. These students received actual semester credits linked to the oral history project. Initially, I was disappointed that I did not effectively engage a larger number of students in the entire process, but I believe that the Linderman students are now primed to utilize the recorders and cameras funded by the Kalispell Education Foundation to complete other oral history projects in small groups. In some ways, those small numbers enabled the involved students to engage even more deeply with the interview, reflections, and presentation.
I will work over the summer to adapt what this first group of students did to a course that students can enroll in over the next years. Ideally, these interviews will be completed with two or three students who present their work in a variety of different formats and together compile a meaningful portfolio of recorded histories connected to the Linderman Education Center. As Linderman expands its alternative options for students, there are many opportunities for classes to embrace the oral history cycle into existing curriculum, or organize new standards-based courses around different oral history themes.
Restaurant Simulation Project
Josh Munro, Glacier High School
The restaurant simulation was a great addition to the class. Students really got into it and worked through the simulation. One of the biggest strengths was the overall depth of the simulation and the challenge it provided. It was a video game that made them think and react to real world situations and problems. They had to be constantly adjusting to customer demands and changing behaviors. The simulation was also very good at making them take notice of the subtle nuances of managing a restaurant. Students found that it wasn’t necessary to please everyone but a core focus was necessary and a primary customer demographic had to be figured out. It was also crucial to realize that fewer choices, or at least choices with the same basic ingredients, is a critical and overlooked part of business. Students struggled the most with limiting waste and avoiding understocking. They learned the importance of inventory management and how some loss is acceptable while too much can put you out of business.
The connection to McDonald’s and Scott Hadwin was great. His visit went very well and left the kids wanting to know a lot more. His knowledge and experience was a great addition to the class and the project. The simulation helped the kids generate a lot of questions and then his experience filled in the gaps between reality and the simulation. I think the best part of his talk was discussing the nuances of expansion and opening new stores and how it impacts the original store. Lots of conversation on things that are otherwise overlooked.
The weakness of the project was simply that it was new so there was a learning curve for me as a teacher. Presenting the information to help them along and help them solve was a challenge though now that we have gone through it I am better prepared for next year. It was also a difficult time for Scott Hadwin to get in discuss with the class. However, when he did come in we had a great discussion and even after 2 hours with the class there was so much more he and the kids wanted to discuss. We will have a better plan for the next year and be able to get even more out of the visit.
Overall the project was very effective and some of the kids continued to play the final challenge throughout the course of the semester even long after the class had moved on to other things. If there was dead time or they finished early they continued work on their restaurant empire. For those returning next year they will compete now in the DECA events that involve restaurant management and even this simulation is offered as a competition so they will be better prepared for competition. 12 total students used the simulation this semester. This was a small class and next year that total will be closer to 60 in class students as well as an additional group that will compete in the DECA restaurant events.
For funding in the future we receive a small amount each year from the state per student involved in the DECA club. I plan to put away some of that money and save up for when the license must be renewed in five years. I would love to discuss with Scott the possibility of him funding the next license as well when it comes up but for a contingency I will begin saving some of the yearly funds. Most of the time these yearly funds are used for state and national competition travel expenses for the students competing in DECA.
“Building Bridges Toward The Future” A sculptural montage
Laura McCann – Linderman Education Center
The strengths of this project include the collaboration of the students, myself, the artist Lee Proctor,
KEF, the Hockaday Art Museum, district/city employees and the community. The project was
an amazing succession of events and people coming together to take an idea, put it down on
paper and then put it together to become a reality.
The weakness of the project would have to be the fact that it became so much more then was
initially imagined and with that came a lot of unforeseen needs and requirements. (ex. city permits
and approval, removal of old cement, rewiring base for lights, rental of a crane, extensive cement
work and engineer drafting. Despite the challenges it all came together because of the enthusiasm
The partnership with the Hockaday will continue through 2014/2015 school year because of the
membership purchased for LEC through the KEF grant.
KEF Great Opportunities Grants Awards 2013-14
Josh Munro: Glacier High School
Requested grant amount: $995.00
Grant title: Virtual Restaurant Simulation
Sponsor: Scott Hadwin, McDonald’s
Summary: This project will provide a unique virtual restaurant simulation that reinforces course material in a more engaging format. Students are tech enthusiasts and reaching them in a game-based scenario provides a connection that paperwork cannot do alone. The lessons and projects associated with the simulation force students to put concepts into practice. The project will be integrated into the curriculum of the Marketing 2 class this spring. The restaurant simulation will be a part of a hospitality unit in which students will be working on the concepts associated with the hospitality and service sector. There are nine lessons (Market Research, Location Selection, Financial Statements, Menu Design, Pricing, Purchasing, Layout, Staffing, Marketing) as well as comprehensive review and application projects. Various activities and case studies will be utilized to supplement the material with the simulation used to tie it all together into a practical application. One measure of success will be evaluated by student performance in regional and national DECA competitive events in the Virtual Business Simulation events.
Barb Andersen: Elrod Elementary School
Requested grant amount: $2,000.00
Grant title: Elrod MEN-tors
Summary: Through the implementation of a national WATCH D.O.G.S. program, Elrod Elementary School will develop a powerful parent-school partnership by engaging community males (dads, step-dads, uncles, and grandfathers) with students in the classroom to practice specific skills in a one-on-one setting. Serving as role models, the men enrolled in the program will provide both academic and social support that students might not otherwise receive. Currently, over 50% of Elrod students live in households without a father, and single parent households in a community are a strong predictor of its rate of violent crime; much more than poverty levels. Children develop more fully socially, physically, academically, emotionally, and spiritually when they have a positive male role model actively engaged in their life. This program is currently nowhere in the state of Montana, and intends to showcase powerful increases in both academic achievement and safety in school to become a model for the state.
Helen Lyford: Flathead High School – Special Education
Requested grant amount: $312.00
Grant title: Veteran Blankets
Sponsor: First Interstate Bank of Kalispell
Summary: The Special Education class at Flathead High School is a strategic tutoring class that supports daily homework and teaches remedial skills to students that need extra practice or individualized instruction. There are ten students in the class representing a combination of grade levels and a range of disabilities and challenges. This project seeks to have these students produce polar fleece blankets that they will present to local veterans at the Montana Veteran’s Home in Kalispell. They will practice skills learned in class and then personally present their work to show their appreciation. The primary goals for this project are to provide students with a real life application of skills, and to actively engage them in a community service project. The use of math skills in measuring, budgeting, and comparison shopping will provide vital lessons in addition to the social skills being utilized through working together to create the blankets.
Paul Holmgren: Kalispell Middle School
Requested grant amount: $1,000
Grant title: Learning to Tie, For Fun on the Fly
Donation Sponsor: Cabela’s of Kalispell
Summary: In a group setting using their own equipment, participating students will learn how to tie flies and identify a variety of different insects useful for fishing in the state of Montana. They will be able to keep and use the flies they create and learn why they are effective attractors in addition to the importance they play in the life cycle of the stream and environment. KMS has been trying to offer a broader selection of programs to students beyond traditional sports and music programs. Offering students the chance to learn something new at school will hopefully entice some of them to become more involved with all aspects of their education. It may also develop a lifelong hobby and skill they can share with others. The club will add casting and placement lessons in the spring at Rose Crossing pond utilizing the skills of experienced KMS staff.
Trisha Carlson: Linderman Education Center
Requested grant amount: $670
Grant title: Kalispell Voices: An Auditory Collage
Summary: “The Kalispell Voices: An Auditory Collage” program will empower students with skills, resources, and the confidence to engage their community through an oral histories research project. Students will examine historical themes through interviews, research, and thoughtful publication. By designing an original presentation based on their research, students will work together to meet rigorous standards in an enduring manner. After recording and formally summarizing their oral histories, students will donate their research to the Montana Historical Society and to the Flathead County Library. The project will culminate in students synthesizing their research into either a museum exhibit (working with Museum at Central School), edited video, or a group presentation given to the local community.
Laura McCann: Linderman Education Center
Requested grant amount: $2,000.00
Grant title: Building Bridges Toward The Future – A Sculptural Montage
Summary: The Linderman Education Center’s Art Department will collaborate with the Hockaday Museum of Art and local metal/glass artist Lee Proctor to design, create, and install a sculpture for the Linderman Building. The sculpture will symbolize Linderman’s mission statement while utilizing the elements and principals of art and design. The design will incorporate sections of the “Old Steel Bridge” and will introduce students to concepts related to metal heating and sculpting, glass blowing and manipulating.
Aarica Phillips: Flathead High School
Requested grant amount: $2,000.00
Grant title: The He Man Book Club
Summary: The He-Man Book Club meets twice a month throughout the year at Flathead High School (a club independent of school funding). Book Club members are assigned a K-2 reading buddy at a local KPS elementary school. Book club members serve as a role model for these students by reading and providing activities that center around creating a culture of literacy. In addition, a monthly luncheon meeting is held where students actively discuss books, meet with authors, or develop activities for various reading projects. The addition of Kindle Fire technology will allow the program to expand participants and the number of available titles for students to read. Book discussions will also involve presentations during lunch meetings.
Cheryl Russell: Kalispell Middle School
Requested grant amount: $1,377.73
Grant title: Project Wii: Students Rising to Independence!
Sponsor: Walmart and KEF
Summary: Project Wii will allow special needs students with unique abilities to access educational opportunities equal to their peers, incorporating inclusion, while promoting social and communicative skills. Due to medical issues many students at KMS struggle with a lack of mobility or cognitive issues. The Wii system will allow educators to modify their environment, shape the games and use adaptive equipment to care for this unique population. Wii activities provide opportunities for students to invite buddies to play games and exercise with them. This will provide equal opportunities across the school population and reduce exclusion among special needs students in physical education. It will also increase participation with regular education students in a safe setting increasing social confidence.
Bridges Program issues 3rd annual newsletter
Link below to read the latest updates
” The Game of Politics – American Government Simulation“
Awarded Fall 2012
Brief summary of Project: The report is divided into two sections: a “macro” simulation report and a “micro” simulation report. The flexibility of using the simulation as either a semester-long “macro” activity or a culminating “micro” activity was identified as a key advantage in the grant application, and has already been used!
Roy Antley—“Macro” Simulation Report
We received the “Game of Politics” materials from the publisher in December and began using the simulation in the Spring Semester government classes. A total of nine “sessions” of the simulation occurred (most lasting two class days). During this time, the students in each class considered and disposed of more than 100 proposed bills, as well as several extraneous “storyline” matters that simulated the current-events driven dynamic environment of the real political world, thereby adding authenticity to the simulation.
From a teacher’s perspective, I anticipated a few “bumps” along the way as I implemented the simulation, and there were. Even these provided learning and growth opportunities for a young teacher and for students. By “immersing” the students into a complex experience, I found that they sought out help and guidance to a greater degree than with other types of classroom activities and instruction. I in turn worked to find ways to better organize and structure the experience for them (setting clear agendas, developing a comprehensive “bill report form” for students to use to track bills throughout the law-making process, etc.).
I also witnessed real growth in the students’ understanding of the political process and the limits on government power. In particular, proposed bills were amended to eliminate unconstitutional provisions and to tailor them more narrowly to achieve the policy-making goal without undesirable impacts. For example, students considered a bill that would impose a 100% tax on retail ammunition sales, with the goal of helping to reduce gun violence. Students recognized that the $5 billion projected revenue from such a tax would be beneficial in an era of chronic budget deficits, but that such a broadly applied tax could negatively impact hunters and other shooting sports enthusiasts. The bill was amended to eliminate the tax on certain types of ammunition to avoid this unintended consequence. Another bill that would have provided federal funding to states for highway construction, but required 25% of construction contracts to go to minority contractors, was amended to provide a “sliding scale” of minority contractor requirements, based on 2010 Census findings as to the minority populations of each state. By requiring students to analyze the policy impacts of proposed legislation and then brainstorm and develop solutions to anticipated problems, students engage in higher-level processes such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. This is one of the major benefits of the project!
Another key goal of the simulation was to increase student engagement. At the conclusion of the simulation, I asked the students to complete a survey to assess their experiences with the simulation and recommend ways that it might be improved. One question in particular was aimed at discovering the students’ preferences for learning via the simulation experience versus other teaching methods, such as reading a textbook or lecture and note-taking. Of the 57 students who completed the survey, only five of them (less than 9%) expressed a strong or moderate preference for learning via reading and lecture. Thirteen (23%) expressed a moderate preference for learning via the simulation, while 39 (almost 69%) strongly preferred the simulation experience over reading/lecture. This is consistent with our expectations and hopes for the simulation, and I anticipate the numbers will favor the simulation even more strongly as we fine-tune the experience with future classes.
Here are a few comments from students about their experiences:
“I really enjoyed participating in the simulation. I feel that I learned more during the Game of Politics than if I would have read about how Congress passes bills. I believe it was the best way to understand the process.”
“It was fun and a different way of learning. I think I would have had a harder time learning with just a lecture.”
“I learned a lot about the long, tedious process bills go through. I also have a better understanding of what bills look like, substance-wise”
Overall, I greatly enjoyed teaching this simulation and look forward to using it for many years to come.
Bruce Guthrie—“Micro” Simulation Report
I approached the “Micro” simulation as a way to emphasize a specific aspect of the civic process; namely, legislation. I found the set ups for characters and agendas extremely conducive to real-world situations. The stock bills the students had to choose from to submit to the legislative process also carried very practical applications.
As a way to demonstrate the complicated process of bill origins, debate, coalition building and all of the dynamics that surround the actual legislative process, this simulation was outstanding. Every topic we touched on in our classroom unit came to life in the simulation. The scenario even played out in such a way that the “House” passed a much higher volume of legislation much easier, while most of that legislation was deeply reformed or outright rejected in the Senate; which is the case in our own legislation in Helena and Washington D.C. This outcome allowed the students to explore the reasons behind that phenomenon. It was an excellent way for the students to viscerally experience what we had only read about before.
In future simulations, I will be sure to create more time for the process to play out and allow more room for “complications” to develop that can further amplify the actual impacts that unfolding events can have on the process. I will also create more time for reflection and discussion on the actual process itself.
“Sharing and Honoring Montana’s Native American Cultures”
June 2012 – Final Report
Hedges Elementary School – Mimi Basden, Mary Lloyd, Laura Smith, Kathy Martin, Sandi Vashro
Awarded Spring 2012
“Honoring Montana’s Native People, Their Heritage and Culture, Through Learning” was a year-long, school-wide IEFA project to increase the background knowledge of both students and staff about Montana’s unique tribes. Each grade level chose a tribe to research and created an informational quilt to transform their learning into a visual piece to share with the rest of the school at an assembly in April.
The 4th Grade researched the Blackfeet tribe and applied for the Kalispell Education Foundation’s Great Opportunities Grant to extend our learning by bringing the Hockaday’s Traveling Medicine Show to Hedges. Our vision was to provide an opportunity for our students to experience Northern Plains Indian art and artifacts with a Blackfeet artist and cultural consultant sharing both history and culture through oral tradition. We also planned for students to have a hands-on experience creating their own raw-hide paintings, using knowledge learned about Blackfeet art, design, and earth paints. Our final project was to be a student created, large rawhide quilt with painted images, a permanent artistic display to correspond with our written informational quilt. The actual two day “Blackfeet Days” enrichment activities far exceeded our original vision and were a unique and very successful learning experience for our sixty-seven 4th graders, along with teachers and support staff who attended.
Our first day included individual class sessions with the “Traveling Medicine Show” presented by the Hockaday Museum’s education director, Kathy Martin, and Blackfeet artist/cultural consultant, Smokey Rides At the Door. Kathy’s specific knowledge of the original art and reproduced artifacts combined with Smokey’s easy-going story-telling teaching style kept students engaged and asking questions throughout the 100 minute sessions. Their prior research and reading activities about the Blackfeet tribe and some of their history allowed students to make connections and ask questions at a deeper level of understanding. Students left with greater knowledge and respect for Blackfeet art and the culture that created it and an excitement for creating their own painted designs the next day.
Our first day also included a session led by Dr. Billie Jo Kipp, President of the Blackfeet Community College, and her husband Jim Kipp. This connection was made through a parent in my class who went to school with Dr. Kipp. Her son had come home excited about our research project and she offered to arrange for the Kipps to speak to the 4th graders.
Jim began the sessions by burning a sweetgrass smudge and talked with students about spiritual aspects of the Blackfeet culture. Billie Jo spoke about Blackfeet today, a more modern approach, highlighting who the Blackfeet (and especially children) are in the 21st century. She shared information about the reservation, tribal council, sovereignty and the Blackfeet flag, gifting a flag they had brought to a 4th grader. Students in one classroom were also given books with Blackfeet stories written by tribal members. The Kipps both shared information and answered student questions from a tribal perspective that we did not have. Their presentation also gave us insights as teachers for adapting instruction next year. After the sessions, the Kipps shared that they were impressed with the background knowledge our students already had about the Blackfeet tribe. Dr. Kipp also agreed to review and critique the teacher created unit we had used as part of our Blackfeet study. We hope to continue this valuable connection with the Blackfeet Community College in the future.
With less than expected material costs, we were able to cover additional lodging and convince Smokey Rides At the Door to stay for the next morning’s activities. Smokey gave 2 storytelling presentations including several Napi creation stories. He talked with students about the importance of oral tradition and how connecting these stories to things in the real world “makes the learning last”. Students not only enjoyed Smokey’s storytelling, but have shared parts of his stories in other ways since hearing them.
While half of the 4th graders listened to Smokey’s story-telling, the other half worked cooperatively with Kathy Martin on a project lacing rawhide pieces to woven, willow, hoop frames and painting designs using twigs instead of brushes. Students first learned how natural paints were made and used by Blackfeet artists. Kathy also shared the meanings behind the four basic colors they would use and some of the unique designs seen on parfleches, teepees and other artifacts from the Traveling Medicine Show. Each student transformed the information learned into their own rawhide painting. Many had stories of their own to go with. (Hear about it from Katrin Frye who attended the sessions and interviewed participants. Montana Public Radio “Kalispell School Brings Blackfeet Teachings Into the Classroom” http://mtprnews.wordpress.com/
After a fantastic morning of listening and creating, each classroom chose six representatives to design and paint the full hide “Tribal Knowledge Quilt” representing the nine areas of specific information found on our original information quilt: tribal name, reservation, sovereignty, map/location, language, yesterday/today, famous people, flag, and traditions-music, art and stories. This was the only area where we struggled.
This was a much more complex project than we had imagined. Some quilt squares were much easier to represent than others. Also students had not had time to create their ideas in advance and to work with the unusual quilt shapes to make designs fit. Even with the complexity of the project students remained excited about the honor of being their class representatives. We adjusted the design format slightly and were only able to begin the design and painting process in the afternoon. Kathy Martin continued to donate additional time to work with students to complete the project right up to the last day of school. Over the summer we will build a natural frame for displaying the quilt. In the fall we would like to have students write a personal description of their painted representations to be hung with the quilt. Our Native American Heritage Day Celebration in September 2012 may be the perfect time to present the finished project to the school.
While some students worked on the rawhide quilt project, the rest of the 4th graders spent the afternoon continuing with our enrichment activities. Students wrote thank you notes to our guests and transformed learning into acrostic poems to hang with their rawhide paintings. We ended our day with a presentation by a Hedges 4th grader with Blackfeet heritage. She shared slides and a family collection of Blackfeet art and artifacts. She was joined by her mother and aunt, who had given a similar presentation as a Hedges 5th grader years ago. This presentation not only shared information, but acknowledged the importance of Native American heritage in our students.
“Honoring Montana’s Native People, Their Heritage and Culture, Through Learning” was a very successful project for many reasons. We more than met our goal of increasing school-wide background knowledge about the unique Montana tribes and created an excitement for IEFA learning. Students demonstrated pride in their learning, both in sharing at the assembly and listening to others present. Students and staff learned new technology skills through research and presentations. Having this common learning goal has also helped build community within our building. We hope to continue to build on this learning in years to come.
The “Sharing and Honoring Montana’s Native American Cultures” grant project extended specific IEFA learning for our 4th graders. These two days, filled with positive cross cultural experiences, allowed students to connect prior learning to new information given from the Blackfeet perspective and to express their knowledge creatively. It will be an experience students will remember and build upon. Next year we hope to have students share their learning about the Blackfeet tribe with new students and continue researching another Montana tribe. Thank you for providing Hedges 4th Grade with this excellent learning opportunity by awarding us a Kalispell Education Foundation- Great Opportunities Grant.
Real Results Science – June Update 2012
Flathead High School – Megan Couser and Kaylee Shaw
Awarded Winter 2012
The Real Results Science project was awarded $1,000.00 initially, with additional funds coming from Plum Creek to complete the project. The two FHS science teachers recently sent the KEF the following update:
The addition of computers in our school is a valuable asset that has already changed the way we approach our classes. Thank you so much for the opportunity to invite change into our curriculum. We look forward to developing this project in the future to even better implement the technology we have available.
One benefit of our project, is that we already had the probes and software needed to effectively use the laptops in lab. These probes have gotten little use over the years and this project has allowed us to use the technology that’s already at our fingertips. The students can better grasp the processes that are occurring in the lab if they can see the results in real time.
This upcoming year we are working on a number of podcasts to supplement learning outside of the classroom. Eventually we hope to flip the classroom entirely and have students listen to lectures outside of class, so that time spent in class can be used to apply the information learned. One concern with flipping is that students who don’t have internet access, or don’t do homework, would miss out. Having laptops in the classroom will be a convenient remedy for this issue. We are anxious to see what other doors will open to our students with the availability of this technology.
The only drawback we’ve seen with this project is the last minute change in our laptop order. We were originally planning to order three laptops with this grant, but our IT department suggested ordering the netbooks common to the district, which are more expensive. Because of this oversight, we pursued additional grant funds to complete our real results project. Thank you again for this great opportunity.
Math and Literature Project
The Combining Literature with Everyday Math Program was awarded to Mylea Olesen in the Fall of 2010. Mylea recently sent an update along with several photographs to the KEF. This year she paired her math literature books with small groups in the intervention math program. Struggling students were front loaded with new math concepts and confident they could introduce the book to the whole class and address the target skill of the day. This year she had a very diverse level of learners, but all achieved measured progress in MAP testing (in math) with the help of the literary math program. She is excited to see their results based on the CRT data as well. Math interest has spiked (even in the busy springtime) in her classroom, and more abstract concepts are recognized by students in everyday life experiences. Vocabulary (a huge district focus) has also spiked and students are using the applied math terms in everyday language. She teases her students that they will get the amount of “one google” of homework during the summer, but they’ve learned to respond that that number doesn’t even exist on Earth. Thank you for your continued efforts Mylea!
Update on KMS Robotics Program
The KEF awarded a grant to KMS teacher Karen Strong in the Fall of 2009, so we checked in with her recently to see how things were going in 2012. With the $1000 dollars she received, Karen purchased 6 crazy contraption lego kits, two Motors and Mechanics Lego kits, and 2 mindstormer Lego robots. This stockpile of equipment is being used with the after school robotics club for the gifted and talented students at Kalispell Middle School. They’ve had a wonderful time programming the robots to move through obstacle courses and play hole in one golf. Karen was thankful for the opportunity this grant brought to her program.
What is the Bridges Program?
The Bridges Program was founded in 2008, by Janet Espeseth and Erika Johnson to bring together a community organization of parents and educators dedicated to fostering the inclusive education of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Visit classrooms at Edgerton Elementary School in Kalispell, or the Friendship Club, and you will see and hear the difference it has meant to local children.
The group recently released its first newsletter on their activities, and provided some interesting data on autism and the program.
• The incidence of autism has grown to 1 in 110 births according to the Center for
• Using information from the internet, local parents of ASD children researched
theoretical and existing models for primary grades and created the Bridges Autism
Model at Edgerton Elementary School.
• Through this program, the present education teams for children with ASD added a special education teacher, and an autism inclusion specialist.
• An overarching goal to incrementally train regular education teachers and
para-educators in a step-wise fashion was implemented. Their goal was to achieve over the course of three years (Edgerton) a broad base of trained educators to sustain the model in the future who would go on to coach other educators via in-house or in-district sharing and training.
To receive a complete newsletter, make a donation, or ask questions about ASD, please
Contact: Janet: (406)871-2774 Erika: (406)261-8945
New Software Helps Teacher Carter Eash
Great Opportunities Grant money received: $308.
Carter Eash used his grant award from the KEF to purchase a subscription to virtual dissection software that saved the district over $1,000 on specimen costs. This project provided 15 lessons for 325 7th Graders at Kalispell Middle School Students. Students are now able to dissect frogs, squid, and other animals while avoiding the use of living species for learning.
Our Family Portraits fundraiser was a great time for all who attended this last November 11, 2011. Swan Lake Studios did another wonderful job this year, and we would like to thank everybody who participated in helping the KEF raise $400 toward funding future Great Opportunities Grants.