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Nuggets from NETA

February 12, 2018

I spent a week in Washington DC attending the NETA (National Educational Telecommunications Association) conference. This conference is a gathering place for those involved in public media to connect with one another and learn about creating educational content for television and radio. In typical national conference fashion, there were amazing keynote speakers, great food and hundreds of people from all over the country excited to share the work they do working for public media. As I sit in the Minneapolis airport waiting to board my flight home to Bozeman, I am reflecting on all the good things I learned while at NETA this week. A good friend and respected colleague, Anne Keith, always says that if you can come away from a professional development experience with at least one nugget of new information to take with you back home then the time was well spent. Not to be an over-achiever but I have compiled my top 5 “nuggets for NETA” for you here.

1. PBS EdCamp

I was asked to help spread the word about EdCamp at NETA by participating in an EdCamp simulation for the public media folks. It was incredible to see the EdCamp model work outside of the educational venue. Just like an EdCamp for teachers the participants in our simulation collaborated to choose the topics they were interested in discussing and then engaged in thoughtful conversation sharing ideas and stories about their work. I’m excited to share that MontanaPBS has been chosen as a pilot station to host a PBS EdCamp this spring! PBS EdCamps will have a PK-3 focus for early childhood teachers. We plan to have one in Bozeman and one in Billings this April. Stay tuned for more information!

2.  Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

JD Vance was the speaker at the dinner reception the first night of the conference. He shared stories from growing up in poverty in Appalachia. His book is about generational poverty and how difficult it is for kids who have been exposed to childhood trauma to function outside of their home environment. He shared about his relationship with his grandmother and how she influenced his life as a child and as an adult. He told us that every child deserves to have a “fiery advocate” in their corner because that will be the key to their success. We were all given a copy of his book and I am eager to read it and learn more about his story.

3. PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs

I attended a session presented by PBS Newshour about a nationwide project called Student Reporting labs. This project gives schools the curriculum and tools to teach high school students about broadcast journalism. Two students from the DC area attended the session and shared their experiences learning in the reporting labs. Both of them talked about how they were challenged to move out of their comfort zones as they practiced interviewing skills. They credited their work with the reporting labs with giving them confidence and exposing them to a new passion. The most exciting part about the work students do in these labs is that their video footage is submitted to PBS Newshour. The news team at the station chooses pieces to feature on the national broadcast. Schools in Billings are currently participating in the Student Reporting Labs project. It would be great to have more schools in Montana take part.

4. Interactive Lessons on PBS LearningMedia

Stations in Massachusetts and Wisconsin shared some new resources they created for PBS LearningMedia. These interactive lessons combine media with hands on tasks that students and teachers can use to learn about a variety of topics. The lessons are all high quality, aligned to standards and are very easy to navigate. There are lessons for K-12 posted right now. More resources will be added in the months ahead. There will be a webinar about a collection of Interactive Lessons created by NASA on January 30. If you would like to learn more consider tuning in!

5. Sesame Street in the Communities

Sesame Street has launched a new platform with resources to support parents and early childhood teachers as they practice developing social emotional skills with young children. This free resource provides a highly searchable database of activities, games, videos, digital storybooks, articles and printables to support the learning of children ages 1-6. Share this resource with parents and teachers of young children!


Martin Luther King Jr. Day Resources

January 9, 2018

Looking for some good resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day? PBS LearningMedia has an abundance of resources for all grade levels. Many of them have support materials for teachers and are aligned to Montana state standards. The grade bands attached to each of these is merely a suggestion. Please feel free to explore each resource and find the one that will be of most interest to your students. Please let Nikki know if you used any of these resources with your students and how the lesson went. We love hearing your classroom stories!

Grades K-2

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-12

  • Primary Source Lesson Plan “Reaction to the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
    • This activity features the original footage from a rally held in Boston, MA after the assassination of Dr. King. The lesson plan and suggested activities are featured under “support materials.”
  • Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.
    • This mini-collection of photographs were individually selected from the prestigious Getty Images collections to help PBS LearningMedia teachers and students discuss the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the broader Civil Rights Movement.


New to PBS LearningMedia: Great States Montana History Collection

December 28, 2017

Calling all Montana History Teachers! A brand new resources has landed on the PBS LearningMedia website just for you! This collection of videos, lesson plans and primary sources was created by PBS Education and MontanaPBS to help teachers implement state standards for teaching Social Studies. While these materials were created with fourth graders in mind, they would be useful in any classroom learning about Montana’s rich history and traditions. Click on the link below and start exploring these resources! Stay tuned for more information about FREE training for teachers using these materials in 2018.

View the Great States Montana Collection
Great States - Montana