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Art for Reading Comprehension - Ideas for Educators

Students who struggle with traditional approaches to reading can use art to learn to visualize the meaning of words and improve their reading comprehension. Here is a lesson plan to try:

Materials Needed: Drawing paper and colored pencils, or computers (advanced, optional).

Objective: Students will be able to comprehend a story visually. Thereafter, working on phonological awareness strategies to decode words will be easier; because students already "know" the story, associating the words with meaning will be less frustrating.  

Lesson: Ask students to draw key elements of the story, such as the main characters or the setting(s), in detail if necessary. You can also ask students to draw the main idea of the story (i.e. what the book's cover might look like), or the storyline in comic strip format, including details of events in the correct sequence. For the storyline, it is helpful to use temporal words such as first, then, next, finally, etc. o really improve comprehension, ask students to draw what they predict will happen in the future if there are sentences or pages added to the story that they have visualized, and then add this prediction to the storyline. You can ask students to explain, by drawing, what their overall impression is of the story - what do they infer from the storyline, characters, setting, and main idea? What do they think the author was trying to express when they wrote the story?

Advanced: Use a visual programming environment like ALICE to design the story in 4D (a 3D video game evolving over time), or use Scratch to create programmable story lines, or use computer drawing tools and creative methods from graphic design to construct intricate representations of scenes and settings from the story. 

For more information, contact MTSEE Board Member Melanie Home Gun, Special Education Teacher at Anna Jeffries Elementary School in Cutbank and Ed.D candidate at Montana State University (406) 873-2411

Weekly "STEAM in Montana" newsletter available to all Montana teachers

If you are currently teaching or anticipate teaching a STEAM-related high school course, Eric Swenson (Business Education Specialist with the Montana Office of Public Instruction) publishes a weekly e-letter that covers many technology-related topics of interest to Montana teachers (along with other topics of interest to business/CTE teachers). It's an excellent resource.

Eric's last e-letter of the year including coverage of the 2016 Montana Financial Education Coalition annual conference in Helena, the Hour of Code event, online Python resources, the Montana Tech Code Montana scholarship, facts about CTE in Montana, updates to OPI's CTE website, CTE Fall data collection, changes to the Calls 2 license renewal process, the NSA's Day of Cyber to raise awareness national awareness of STEM (free for students), AICPA's "Bank on It" financial literacy program, stipends for the NBEA annual convention, and fun facts and trivia. The next e-letter is due to go out January 6.

You can subscribe to the newsletter by contacting Eric directly (eswenson at mt dot gov).


My mom gives me her old newspapers to use as fire starters. Tonight, I tore off the cryptoquote and saw that she had solved it before I threw it in the fire. It says:


How true, cryptoquote, how true... 

Registrations for 10,000 Hours Montana are Now Open!

Montana Educators,

We want you to be counted for the work you're doing to develop our future high-tech workforce! If you are planning on doing any computer science activities in your classroom during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 7-13, 2015), if you have already done programming activities this year, or if you plan to in 2016, please register your "hour" of code on our site. We hope to learn about the state of the state for computing education and we'll need your help to survey the educational landscape. Please visit and follow us on Twitter @10000HoursMT or join the list to receive our monthly e-newsletter to keep in touch. 

#10kHrsMT Project Launches in Bozeman, MT

Thank you to all who joined us at the #10kHrsMT launch and computer science mentoring party at the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, Montana on October, 26th, 2015. KBZK-Bozeman, ABC-FOX Montana, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle covered the story. You can find the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's article "Wanted: STEM mentors for Montana girls, rural kids" and the KBZK story "Encouraging STEM Education, one Coding Hour at a Time" online. We are extremely grateful to all of our fantastic speakers and sponsors, particularly Zoot Enterprises and Bridger Brewing in Bozeman. The full 10kHrsMT Launch Agenda and Sponsor List is available. 

Welcome, Code Montana at Montana Tech!

Montana Tech is participating in the kick-off of the 10,000 Hours Montana Project (aka 10kHrsMT) on the Montana State University campus today. 

“The 10k Project is a perfect fit with Code Montana's goal of reaching out to underrepresented populations throughout Montana, especially in rural areas,” noted Brian Koontz, Montana Tech Computer Science Outreach Coordinator. “We will work with the 10k Project to extend our outreach efforts to young women who are interested in pursuing computer-related careers. This collaboration will strengthen Montana Tech's commitment to attracting Montana high school students to high tech careers in computer science and related fields.”

Welcome Aboard, Montana Digital Academy!

Montana Digital Academy (MTDA), Montana’s state virtual school located on the University of Montana Campus, announced that it will participate in Montana’s 10,000 Hours of Code Project in its upcoming Spring 2016 semester.

“We are pleased to step up and be a part of the Million Women Mentor - Montana’s challenge to provide more access to computer science instruction to Montana’s high school students in schools of all sizes throughout the state.” said Robert Currie, MTDA’s Executive Director. “We are particularly proud of the ‘Joy and Beauty of Computing’ class and the work of our lead teacher, Helena High School’s Buffy Smith, in adapting the curriculum to our online learning model.”