December 22, 2010

Blackfeet teacher wins Milken award

Sheila Hall
Biographical Information:

At Vina Chattin Elementary in Browning, MT, Sheila Hall instills a sense of pride, purpose and professionalism in everything she does. Hall is a well-respected role model at her Native American reservation school, and always steps up to the plate, no matter what challenge may be headed her way. In her third-grade classroom she helps students reach their highest expectations and attain academic success. Hall herself is a testament to the power of education to build opportunity and enhance lives.

Hall analyzes the students’ individual aptitudes and tailors her instruction to meet the needs of each one. Skilled at building student relationships, she keeps parents in the loop while holding students accountable for their actions. Her cross-curricular style has included insightful lesson plans like “Targeted Treasure Hunts” and exposure to multi-chapter books, including the Harry Potter series. Hall also maintains rigorous communication with caregivers, following through with parents whose children are truant.
Sheila Hall:  Growing Up Blackfeet

By Benj GilmanDo you incorporate that rich history of the people and the land into your curriculum? In other words, how do you instill a sense of culture and identity while advancing a student's overall education?

It's very important to instill a sense of culture and identity in my classroom. Students will feel they belong and their self-esteem will develop when they feel connected or can see their culture in the classroom. In reading block, Native American picture books are used to discuss and answer questions about the text. Students also learn to speak and use Blackfeet words for English words. In science, I teach a unit on diabetes with the goal of encouraging students to live in balance. In social studies, the students learn about the seven reservations of Montana. They identify and locate the reservations and the names of tribes on each reservation. Also in social studies, students learn about Blackfeet history, such as the importance of the buffalo, the Blackfeet lodge, the Dog Days and proper etiquette of being respectful.
Comment:  For more Native awards, see First Drum Awards Announced and KCET and San Manuel Announce Awards.

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