Big Idea #1 - Apollo's 50th Anniversary Celebration Contest

NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, and NASA has planned a competition for middle and high school students and their teachers. OPI is looking for teachers to train in programming and lead groups of middle and high schools students in a lunar landing mock-up competition using drones and Lego rovers. A statewide competition will be held at the Montana Learning Center in July 2019. Registration details will be coming in January 2019. Contact OPI Science Instructional Coordinator Michelle McCarthy for more information about this exciting opportunity.

Big Idea #2 - Literary Goals 2019!

As a literacy teacher, it is important to have students reading, writing, and speaking in real world contexts. As we get ready for 2019, take a look at some wonderful opportunities for you and your students to develop as readers, writers, and speakers!

 For students:

  • Poetry Out Loud! Montana Poetry Out Loud 2018-19 is underway statewide, and there is still time to involve your students! The recitation contest, open to high school students in grades 9-12, engages students in the work of noted poets past and present and begins in individual classrooms or within school groups.  From there, students advance to a schoolwide contest in January and regional events in February; 21 students from the 7 regional events held on Montana campuses will advance to the State Finals in Helena on March 2, 2019. The program year culminates in Washington D.C. in late April, where one student from Montana will represent our state. For information on regional contests, contact Monica Grable at the Montana Arts Council, 406-444-6522.
  • New Montana Voices, a literary magazine dedicated to the relevance of Montana’s young adults to the vibrant cultural polylogue of today, is accepting poetry, prose, and photography for their upcoming publication. Cash awards for students and teachers are available! Find out more.
  • The Western Governor’s Association announces the 4th Annual “Celebrate the West” regional art competition that challenges high school students to create works of art inspired by their state. The entry deadline is April 28, 2019, and students are welcome to submit artwork used for other contests or assignments. Student’s artwork will be returned. Details here!

For teachers:

  • Fire on the Page. Hosted by the Yellowstone Writing Project, this year's conference, Fire on the Page: Every Picture Tells a Story, is Saturday, February 9, 2019, at the Museum of the Rockies (MOR). Throughout the day, as we immerse ourselves in the rich surroundings of the MOR, we will focus on the ways in which images inspire writing. Contact with any questions.

Big Idea #3 - Don't forget to check out the Learning Opportunities Portal

The Learning Opportunities Portal is filling up with upcoming professional development events, both online and in person. One upcoming event on the Portal is The Battle of Little Bighorn and the Great Sioux War (1876) workshop, hosted by the Montana Center for Inclusive Education at MSU-Billings, MSUB History Department, Little Bighorn College, Little Bighorn Battlefield, and Chief Plenty Coups State Park. The five-day workshop has two sessions in June and July 2019 and looks at the Battle of Little Bighorn as part of the larger context of the Great Sioux War of 1876. Stipends are available, and the deadline to register for the workshop is March 1, 2019. If you are interested in learning more about this historic event, check out our IEFA unit for the book Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians by James Welch.

~ Content Standards & Instruction thanks you for reading the 3 Big Ideas ~

Colet Bartow, Director, (406) 444-3583

Jessica Bryant, Teacher Learning Hub Coordinator., (406) 444-3557

Cari Russell, Teacher Learning Hub Project Specialist, (406) 444-4422

Christy Mock-Stutz, English Language Arts, (406) 444-0736

Michelle McCarthy, Science, (406) 444-3537

Marisa Franklin, Mathematics, (406) 444-0706

Marjorie O’Rourke, Professional Learning Data & Info Specialist, (406) 444-3538

Wanda Arlint, Administrative Assistant, (406) 444-0716

The OPI is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation, require an alternate format, or have questions concerning accessibility, contact the OPI ADA Coordinator,, TTY 406-444-0235.