Sunday, November 2, 2014

Montana Celebrating 100 years of the Women's Vote

Nov 3, 1914 women in Montana went to the polls for the first time.   I have spent the last year and a half learning about the women's suffrage movement.  My guiding question, "Why is this event that effected over 50% of the American population given such short shrift in our history books?"

I want to share a political cartoon I found in the Washington Times, Dec 18, 1918.  Notice the caption that accompanied the cartoon.

Caption (reprinted for easier reading) 
What does this illustration mean to you?  What does it mean to fathers and mothers responsible for the wise teaching and enlightenment of their children in youth?  What does it mean to women, whose problems have not been discussed, who have been asked to keep silent while men have decided all important questions for them?  (See editorial on this page.)         

Have you voted yet?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

QR Codes Adding Layers to Learning

Last week I attended a wonderful Woman's History Conference in Helena, MT.  The wonderful team at the Montana Historical Society put it on.  I always look forward to attending.  Follow Martha's Blog - Teaching Montana History or Listserve and she will let you know about other wonderful events.

There were many wonderful speakers and topics.  I am excited about incorporating what I learned into my classroom.  Montana is celebrating our 100th anniversary of women getting the vote this year.  An awesome milestone!

Part of the conference explored the exhibits at the Montana Historical Society.  We were given a paper to complete a scavenger hunt in the Montana Homeland Gallery.  This is a permanent exhibit created in the 1980's.  

Questions & Reflections

  •  Find at least three places where women's history is included in the exhibit?
  •  How does the material enrich the narrative or change the exhibit's overall interpretation?
  •  Find at least three "missed opportunities" -- places where women could have been included but  wasn't.
  • Would adding women here simply enrich the current storyline or would it require a change in interpretation.   
This event got me thinking.  I was amazed when I realized that women were not a focus in most of the exhibits.  They were mentioned in some or off handedly referred to.  I had been through the exhibit several times before and had never noticed this glaring omission.  As an educator I am troubled when our texts and educational experiences neglect to tell the story of half the population.  

The next day our group was divided up and we again went through the gallery.  This time there were 5 stations.  At each station was a reading that connected to the individual event.  A reading from a woman who told the story.  We each had a page with questions to help us process the information.  It was powerful to hear those stories read aloud.  It gave the rest of the exhibit so much more depth.

I have pondered how the audio component could be added to the exhibit without lots of work or starting over from scratch. I have been thinking about this because the original exercise we did was powerful.  I tried to think how other people could also experience it.

As I pondered I did some experimented.   I opened an account (free in Audioboo)  I recorded one of the readings - Crow Women and their Lodges.  It took me several tries but it worked.  When you scan the QR Code it will take you to the recording I made from an excerpt of Frank Linderman's Pretty Shield.  

How did I attach the audio recording to the QR code?  First I recorded the reading.  Then opened my account found my recording. Clicked on edit.  On the page it shows a button for creating a QR code.  I created the QR code then saved the sheet as a pdf document.  Scan the QR code and then click the triangle to play.

Other free recording apps that would also work.
Croak It (free in itunes)
Eurl voice (android)
Vocaroo (itunes)

I am sure there are many other recording apps that you could use.

Scan the QR Code to hear the recording I made.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Remembering the R.M.S. Titanic

Want to pair a historical event with fiction?  Lauren Tarshis is the author of a YA book "I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic".  Think about how excited your students will be when they start to dig into the primary sources connected to the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic.  The Library of Congress has put together a great collection of primary sources for you to use in your classroom.

Titanic Tag It Tuesday (National Archives)

Monday, March 31, 2014

A Reflection on Loss and Grief

I have been up quite a while this morning.  Working on lesson plans that need to be posted.  Realizing I need to make sure I have a sub coming in for me - possible snafu.  Worrying about friends.

One of the lessons I have been working on is the Earthquake of 1906 in San Francisco.  So many things came out of that devastation.  It was the first Earthquake disaster to be  photographed.  I read that it is one of the most important quakes because of the scientific information that came out of it.

I compare that to our own individual disasters.  Many people do not realize the scope of problems until it happens to someone close.  Many older women did not have careers outside the home.  These women are often totally dependent on Social Security.  Lets pick a number from the sky - lets say the husband gets $2000 dollars a month.  The wife would draw about $900-$1,000 depending on variables.  Many women are unaware that if the husband dies first they will continue receiving the $900.  This is a loss of 2/3 of the income that had been coming into the home.

Did you know that if a person goes into some hospice homes or a nursing home the institution receives all but $50.00 of the person's social security check?  Many times family members must also contribute more money to pay for this care. I didn't know that the spouse can be required to contribute additional money from their social security.  I was under the impression that our laws had changed to protect the surviving partner from financial devastation.

There is a small amount of money known as the Social Security death benefit $250 that was set up to help with burial costs.  It is only paid if there is a surviving spouse or dependent children under the age of 18. This amount of money has not changed since the 1970s.  If the couple is not legally married this money is not paid. 

For many couples not only do they lose their life-mate but often their homes, their independence and their pets.  Health and a change in finances are big factors.  Some of these families have pets that can not go with them to their new residence (nursing homes, relatives, etc).  This compounds the loss and grief that the survivor experiences.

For many older Americans, Social Security is their only income.  In the midst of grieving they are pummeled by each new loss.  Now the dominoes start to fall as we wonder why many elders are living in poverty.

How do you figure the cost of death? 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Love Hate Affair

Technology - my friend - some days not.  I see myself as technological competent.  I work hard to stay knowledgeable.  Somedays I see myself as technological clueless.

Take my ipad.  I have had it for awhile and am just now trying to set it up to send email and to send imessages.  The imessage one seems to be where I am struggling.  I get this message "recipient can't receive messages check your network"  Ahhg  I want to scream!

That's about the time when Hank drops his toy on my nearby computer keyboard and wants my attention.  How can I admit to myself that I haven't a clue at what I'm doing.

What do I do - I google.  How do you set up.  I read directions.  Yes done that.  Success?  No.

I experiment with my own addresses to see if I have been successful.  Ok I now can send a picture by email.  Still not by message.  Ahh I will wait until a later hour and see if I can talk to a friend who is a technology whiz.

I always feel so dumb when I can't figure out how to do these things myself.  I feel like such a charlatan when people refer to me as their technology go to person.  I always look over my shoulder to see who they are talking about.  Then realizing oh they meant me.

When they come with questions.  I usually answer-" well lets looks at it and see if between the two of us we can figure it out.  What have you already tried?  What do you think the problem is?  What are you trying to do? Alright, lets see what happens when we do this."

I love technology, but I hate feeling so ignorant.  Technology is SOOOO FRUSTRATING.