Place-Based learning

Cade Bare
Thursday, November 7, 2019
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Photo by Cade Bare

On October 22, students in grades 7 through 12 from Reed Point Schools visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument with history teacher Allen McCarty, and English teacher Misty Ketola in order to promote student understanding of local history, immerse them in Montana Indian Education for All, and engage the students beyond the four walls of their classrooms.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, both McCarty and Ketola attended a workshop offered by the Elk River Writing Project in which they learned about the importance of “place-based learning.” After, the two teachers decided to collaborate and build a program at Reed Point Schools with a solid foundation of learning that extends outside the traditional school setting. McCarty stated, “Place-based learning allows the student to sometimes emulate real practices in the subject area, and it also offers the opportunity to be more interactive (engaging) than in the traditional classroom setting.”

In June 2019, Ketola attended the TOLI Satellite Seminar for Holocaust education in Billings, again offered to educators through the Elk River Writing Project. The week-long course integrated holocaust education with Montana Indian Education for All (IEFA), and it included a day long excursion to sites such as: the Battle of the Rosebud, Deer Medicine Rocks (site where Sitting Bull carved his vision), Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and more. According to Ketola, “This gave me the chance to better understand the importance of teaching both the holocaust and IEFA, and it showed me first hand how effective place-based learning can be for students.”

During the recent visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, students journaled about their experience and will expand their journal writings for a presentation later this winter where they will showcase their culminating project. For their final project, students will create a gallery walk for the community. They will share information about both the holocaust and local Montana history. The gallery walk will also include written pieces from the students in order for them to share their writing skills, and their own comprehension of these historical events.