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‘Teaching, not preaching’: Crow language instructors learn teaching methods

There’s a big difference between being able to speak the Crow language and being able to teach it. But, for a language used by a dwindling number of people in the roughly 13,000 member tribe, there aren’t many teaching resources.

The Crow Summer Institute helps fill that void.

“I’ve learned more from this than I have from anything else,” said Roanne Hill, a Crow language and culture teacher at St. Labre High School. “The techniques that we use here, I feel like are much more efficient.”

The institute, organized by the Crow Language Consortium, Little Bighorn College and The Language Conservancy, a nonprofit that works to save endangered languages, is in its fourth year.

Hill grew up speaking Crow and didn’t learn English until age 5. That’s not typical for today’s Crow youth; a 2012 study commissioned by the tribe showed that only 3 percent of preschoolers were fluent, while 14 percent had limited fluency…

Check out the full length article on the Billings Gazette website.

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Crow Summer Institute 2016 – Have you registered?

CSI 2016 Logo

4th Annual Crow Summer Institute
Open for Registration

June 13-24, 2016

Little Big Horn College

Crow Agency, MT

Registration is now open.

Click here to Register

 

“I’m learning something new every day even though I speak the language. And that’s what makes it interesting”

– Aldora Big Man, CSI 2015 Participant
Read more at this blog post

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Crow Summer Institute brings together Crow educators and language supporters from all corners of the state. The courses offered at CSI empower teachers and provide them with best-practice tools and methods that can be used with new Crow language classroom materials. See what participants from last year are saying here and here.

Based on the feedback from last year’s participants, this year’s CSI will offer an intensive beginner course for those that want to learn Crow!

Registration is FREE and now open online at http://www.crowlanguage.org/crow-summer-institute/

If you need to mail in your registration, you can download and mail in the CSI 2016 paper registration form here.

Keep up with the latest Crow language news on our Facebook and website.

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WDSE/WRPT Native Report: CSI 2015

WDSE/WRPT Native Report producer Michael LeGarde visited Crow Summer Institute 2015 to meet the teachers, participants, and to film a segment for the show. We’re honored to be featured on the 11th Season of the Native Report. Check out the segment below, starting around 10:10!

Speak Crow! Level 2 Textbook – Now Available!

New Crow Materials_BLOG

Shóotaachi,

Friends, we are excited to introduce new and improved additions to our K-12 curriculum of Crow language materials!

Since the Crow Summer Institute (CSI) this past July, we have been working with dozens of Crow speakers and teachers to accurately document the language. Many of our CSI 2015 participants recorded stories, songs, and dialogues for these new Crow materials!

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The Level 1 and Level 2 Crow textbooks received a thorough review during the Teaching Crow Level 2 Methods course, taught by John Boyle & Junior Garcia. In the photo above, taken at CSI 2015, Fannie Ward and her mother are proofreading the Level 2 Crow textbook.

Crow teachers collage

Without further ado, we’d like to announce that an updated version of Bíilukaalilaah – Speak Crow! Level 1 Textbook is now available at our bookstore, as well as the new Bíilukaalilaah – Speak Crow! Level 2 Textbook and Audio CD. This year, we are providing Crow schools with free copies of these materials, and we welcome all others interested in learning Crow to visit the Crow language bookstore to make a purchase!

We’ve traveled to schools all over Crow Country to distribute these new textbooks to teachers, students and parents, including St. Charles Mission Schools, Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy, Lodge Grass Schools, Little Big Horn College, Wyola schools, and schools in Crow Agency!
Pictured above: Dora Hugs, Fannie Ward, Beulah Goes Ahead at St. Charles Mission School in Pryor, MT.

We hope you continue to progress in your learning of Crow, and encourage others to do the same! Help us spread the word about these new materials; Ahóo (thank you) for sharing this newsletter with your friends and family!
Crow Summer Institute 2015 – Week 1 Summary

The opening ceremony of the 3rd annual Crow Summer Institute (CSI) was held on June 22nd!

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Little Big Horn College campus

This year, for the first time, the Institute was held in Crow Country, at Little Big Horn College (see photos below). The beautiful locale attracted many new CSI participants—those interested in sharing ideas and learning new methods for teaching Crow.

Our first week of classes flew by so quickly! Among the classes offered was an introductory Crow Phonology course, taught by Randolph Graczyk, and a Teaching Crow Level 1 Methods course, led by John Boyle and Junior Garcia. For those returning to the institute, we offered a Level 2 track, which included a Teaching Crow Level 2 Methods course (John Boyle & Junior Garcia) as well as a Crow Inflectional Morphology course (Randolph Graczyk).

Little Big Horn College Cultural Center, nestled in a birch tree grove.
Little Big Horn College Cultural Center, nestled in a birch tree grove.

We chatted with some of the participants to see what they thought about CSI 2015 so far, and it sure seems like people are enjoying themselves…

small3Doris Stewart Plainfeather – has been teaching for 30 years! She’s been a teacher at Lodge Grass Public School (Lodge Grass, MT), at Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy (St. Xavier, MT), and at the Immersion Program at Crow Agency, among other schools. But this is Doris’ first time at CSI. We asked her what she thought of the Teaching Crow Level 1 Methods course and she responded, “I like the way he makes us think—Junior—he keeps us on our toes. He put electricity in us!”   Doris put in an application to teach Crow Studies at Little Big Horn College; we’ll keep our fingers crossed for her! (Surely, with the teacher training at CSI under her belt, the college wouldn’t want anyone else for the position!)

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Ivan Small – Ivan has held education-related administration positions all over the state of Montana for about 35 years. When Ivan walked into the Teaching Crow Level 1 Methods course, he thought, “Why the heck are we learning Lakota?” To give you a little context, the Level 1 Methods teachers—John Boyle and Junior Garcia—are teaching the Crow Level 1 textbook by using Lakota as an example. This means that CSI participants are learning a completely new language, just as a student would. Ivan continued, “And then I realized…well, he is teaching us how to teach.”  What made Ivan interested in CSI? He told us, “I’ve always been a wannabe Crow speaker. I understand it decently and have a pretty good idea of writing and reading. But I wanted to know more.”

small5Aldora Big Man – a K-8 teacher at Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy who is attending CSI for the first time. When we asked her what she thought of it so far, she said, “I’m learning something new every day even though I speak the language. And that’s what makes it interesting […] We’re put into the position of the students, so now we understand things from their perspective. We expect students to just know things, and sometimes get frustrated when they don’t. But now I know how they feel.” We also asked Aldora if she plans on coming back, to which she replied, “I think it’s worthwhile to do this for our kids. Not just our students, but our kids and grandkids as well.”

And as if classes weren’t exciting enough, we had even more happenings this week. Michael LeGarde, the producer of Native Report for WDSE/WRPT, stopped by CSI to talk with some of our participants and do a story on Crow language revitalization efforts. Check out this snippet of Tylis BadBear’s interview with Mike at this link.

This week, Crow Agency is also bustling with Native Days celebrations. Check out a full list of events at the Crow Nation News Facebook page (this post in particular).

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Preserving Crow for Future Generations
We support the Crow language by developing language-learning resources, organizing teacher trainings and other community language activities.

Crow

Ítchik daluúom! It’s good you’ve come!

We are working together to build a strong Crow language.

Crow Language Consortium is a collective of Crow schools, colleges, and educators that are working to preserve Apsáalooke (the Crow language) to ensure we can pass it on to future generations. We work to support Crow learners and teachers by developing language materials such as textbooks, dictionaries, flashcards, posters and more; by providing access to apps and multimedia; and by organizing intensive teacher training and workshops. Today, we are working with many Crow speakers to certify them as teachers in best-practice teaching methodologies.

 

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Crow Language Consortium is continuously working on new projects to strengthen the Crow language.

A talk with Janine Pease, Coordinator of the Crow Summer Institute “I’m determined to see my great-granddaughter have the opportunity…

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CRW 101 – Teaching Crow Level I Methods A

Course Description:

This course is an intensive practical overview of teaching Crow using the Speak Crow! Level 1 Textbook. This course will also emphasize introducing and reinforcing vocabulary with flashcards, props, and Total Physical Response (TPR) methods.  It will also address classroom management techniques for the language classroom as well as using different teaching modalities to address diverse learning styles.

Course Objectives:

To introduce teachers in the effective use of the TLC Level 1 textbook, so that they are adept at preparing lesson plans and teaching classes using this material.

Course Textbooks:

“Speak Crow!-Level 1 Crow Textbook”, Crow Language Consortium, Hardin, 2014.

Summer-Institute

CRW 110 – Crow Phonology I

DSC_5574Course Description:

A linguistic understanding of Crow is essential to teaching the language knowledgably and being effective in the classroom. Proper teaching of Crow is dependent on a firm foundation in the sound system and rules of a language.  This course is the primary linguistic introduction to the Crow phonetic system– its sounds and writing system.  The week-long course will be devoted to an overview of the Crow phonetic system and will focus on training consistency in writing the language.  Special emphasis will be on developing a basic, technical linguistic understanding of Crow phonology, the issues and difficulties associated with English speakers learning these sounds, and developing a professional approach on teaching these concepts.  The use of the specialized Crow font and keyboard software will also be covered.

Course Objectives:

To introduce teachers in the effective use of Crow phonology, so that they are adept at preparing lesson plans and teaching classes using Crow sounds.

Course Textbooks:

“Speak Crow!: Level 1 Crow Textbook”, Crow Language Consortium, 2014.

“Speak Crow!: Level 2 Crow Textbook”, Crow Language Consortium, 2015.

Crow Language Consortium

The Crow Language Consortium is a collective of Crow schools, colleges, and educators that are working to preserve the Crow language to ensure we can pass it on to future generations. We work to support Crow learners and teachers by developing language materials such as textbooks, dictionaries, flashcards, posters and more; by providing access to apps and multimedia; and by organizing intensive teacher training and workshops. Today, we are working with many Crow speakers to certify them as teachers in best-practice teaching methodologies.

We also work to educate the general public about Crow language loss and preservation, and assist our Crow communities in finding financial support necessary to maintain healthy and stable language programs. The Crow Language Consortium is spearheaded by Crow Nation, Little Big Horn College, St. Charles Mission School and The Language Conservancy.

 

 

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