GTCC Golden Apple News
"Golden" Apple  

                        By Diana Knudson        March, 2017


An article in Education Week, November 2016, explains that positive climates in schools may shrink achievement gaps.  The definition of school climate, according to the authors, reads “positive teacher-students relationships, sense of safety, and student connectedness to and engagement in school (Education Week. “Positive Climates May shrink Achievement Gaps”, Elvie Blad, November, 2016, p. 9).


That article left me thinking about how we build positive teacher-student relationships, provide a sense of safety, and pass on the benefits to students if they are connected to and engaged in school. I have been pondering that idea since I read that article.  Actually I have been pondering that idea for forty years.  Fortunately, I attended a training last week called Teaching the Whole Child from the Center for the Collaborative Classroom.  IT WAS GREAT.  The trainer, Melissa Tovaas, lives in Bozeman but recently moved to Montana from California where she was a trainer for the Collaborative Classroom.  Even better, she is teaching a class for GTCC this summer.  The Summer Institute will be advertised March 31, and this class will be in the line-up of absolutely great classes.  Go to to register March 31.  Melissa will also speak at our New Teacher Day April 24.


I want to tell you a little bit about this program called “Teaching the Whole Child.”  The focus is on teaching students five socio-emotional competencies they need for school and for life.  We did many things back in the 1980’s and 1990’s that also focused on the socio-emotional well-being of students—giving them strategies to become the best they can be.  But this program goes a step further.  It then introduces 10 teaching practices that promote students’ social-emotional competencies.  In other words, ten things teachers do that can support positive learning environments, social-emotional competencies, and academic learning if we just learn to focus them intentionally.  You will love this class and Melissa.


We also have a Montana ASCD chapter I want to plug.  I serve on the board of the MTASCD.  If you go to MTASCD website ( you will read about us and what we do.  I would like to extend an invitation for any of you to join.  We have four meetings a year with a Best Practices presentation each time.  MTASCD is running a panel discussion at MBI this summer with conversation around “The Whole Child” and will host a day at the SAM July Convention with national speaker, Kafele.  All the information will be on our MTASCD website.  E-mail me with any questions.


Time for a Drawing.  Send your name to Brianna ( She will put your name in a hat and draw a winner for a $100 gift card.  No tricks or obligations.  Just stay involved with GTCC and use our services.  Have a great March. 




Are you tired of being left out of the loop? Need reminding about those Committee meetings? Want to know more about Summer Institutes and other Professional Development? Then subscribe to the GTCC Headline enews. Every month you'll receive headlines from the GTCC enews in your mailbox. Just send an email to gtcc_enews-subscribe@yahoogroups.comBe sure to tell your co-teachers too!


Upcoming Committee Meetings & Events... 


Click here for the printable GTCC 2016-17 Meeting Calendar


April 2017
Reading Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
Mathematics Committee Meeting 3D International Great Falls
New Teacher Institute/ GTCC Orientation Meeting 3 3D International Great Falls
Spring Leadership Meeting Hampton Inn Great Falls



Web Resources, Grants and Other News...

The Montana Historical Society is bringing a one-day workshop to Lewistown, Glasgow, Chinook, and Cut Bank.
Last year our workshops in Billings, Miles City, and Sidney received rave reviews--so we're sending nationally recognized social studies and science teacher Jim Schulz on the road once again with the workshop "Crossing Disciplines: Social Studies, Art, and the Common Core." 
Cosponsored and held at local museums, these workshops are targeted to 4-12 teachers interested in meeting Common Core ELA and Math standards while engaging students in active learning.
Here's the schedule:

April 8, 2017: Lewistown (Cosponsored by the Central Montana Museum): 

April 10, 2017: Glasgow (Cosponsored by the Valley County Pioneer Museum): 

April 11: Chinook (Cosponsored by the Blaine County Museum):

April 12, 2017: Cut Bank (Cosponsored by the Glacier County Museum)

The morning will be spent on Visual Thinking Strategies, a technique that uses teacher-facilitated discussions of art images to train students in “key behaviors sought by Common Core Standards” ( and learning about ways to teach art through social studies and ELA/social studies through art.   
In the afternoon, participants will be introduced to other ready-to-use, cross-disciplinary lesson plans from the Montana Historical Society, including a lesson from one of our hands-on history footlockers and a lesson that engages students in collecting and analyzing survey data to help the understand change over time. Attendees will leave with a Teaching Montana’s Charlie Russell packet that includes fifteen high-quality prints, PowerPoints, and grade-specific lesson plans. 
The workshop is free. 6 OPI Renewal Units available. 

Questions? Please contact:

Martha Kohl

Historical Specialist

Montana Historical Society




Free Activities for Teaching Science and Math With Music, a new website from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and the NYU MusEDLab, features free resources to help teachers incorporate music in science and math lessons. The activities and apps are designed for all students, kindergarten through college. Subjects covered include geometry and physics, among many others, and all lessons teach students about the strong relationship between music and STEM learning.


National History Day WWII Resource Collection

Produced by National History Day, Understanding Sacrifice is a "collection of videos, primary source, secondary sources, and lesson plans" that covers soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II.


Reading Like a Historian

Smithsonian Education 

FAST FORWARD INTERVENTION - Summer reading boot camp

Boot camps work because they’re intense (HIIT, anyone?). This intensity is what struggling readers need too -- they actually need 10x-30x more practice on reading skills to catch up to peers. You can run a “boot camp” style reading intervention at your school this summer by using the Fast ForWord intervention.
Developed by neuroscientists and substantiated by research at Stanford, MIT and Harvard, Fast ForWord®works like a boot camp for the reading brain. It's the only program that uses a “1-2-3 punch” approach that fills in missing gaps by:
(1) Preparing the brain to read (improving processing speed, working memory, and attention)

(2) Providing intense language/literacy practice (more intensive than any other intervention!)

(3) Guiding students as they read aloud (it actually "listens" to students as they read and helps with decoding!)



Exploratorium Science Snacks Hands-On Activities

Created by the Exploratorium, Science Snacks "are tabletop exhibits or explorations of natural phenomena that teachers or students can make using common, inexpensive, readily available materials." There are hundreds of hands-on activities in the collection, and they're created to be easily digested with a short photo/video intro, a materials list, helpful hints, and advice.

Check out News ELA Nonfiction Literacy and Current Events.  Free leveled news, primary sources, and more, with standards-aligned formative assessments. 


Math Matters Montana

Incorporate the 8 Mathematical Practices and make rich tasks in your classroom a reality!

“We all agree that rich tasks are great, but how exactly do I use them in my classroom?” Come to this fun and interactive workshop to learn why, when, and how to use rich tasks in your math classroom so students survive (and thrive) when given a challenging critical thinking problem. Every participant receives 7 OPI renewal hours. Participants will receive a $150 stipend if the event is not scheduled on a contracted day. Coming soon to a location near you!

Plains, MT  4/22/17

Fort Benton, MT  5/13/17

Math Matters Montana is here to help!

 Incorporate the 8 Mathematical Practices in your classroom

 Introduction to 3 Act Tasks

 Why should I use Rich Tasks?

 The what, when, and where of rich tasks

 How do you run rich tasks?

 Opportunity for virtual follow up discussions throughout the year

Who should attend?

All k-12 teachers and administrators are welcome. It’s a math training but the skills learned can be used in any content area.

How much does it cost?

It is free for participants and includes a free lunch. Participants will receive a $150 stipend if the event does not fall on a contracted day.

When will it occur?

Trainings are conveniently scheduled from 9am - 4pm to allow participants time to drive to and from the event. Online discussions will take place throughout the year.

Don’t miss your chance! Registration is limited at each location.

To begin the registration process:  (url is case sensitive)

Questions? Email Jake Warner:

Subscribe to OPI's 3 Big Ideas Newsletter.

Ideas for Coding
Computer science and how to teach it are hot topics in education recently. Finding the right resources and tools to teach coding for each grade is even more challenging. Read the article about ideas for teaching coding from kindergarten to high school. Some of the ideas do not require a computer.…/15-ways-teaching-students-coding… 

Technovation Montana 2017
Montana Code Girls and Big Sky Code Academy are looking for girls interested in coding to register for their January 2017 session. Registration is open now and classes takes place online or in person at various locations across the state. Classes will start January 16th or January 23rd depending on the location. Visit Montana Code Girls' website for registration information and location details.


VESI Courses

Continuing Education for K-12 Educators using VESI, Virtual Education Software.


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