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2006 WSC Evaluations

2006 Winter Summit Conference Teacher Evaluations

Evaluate the “Site Reports” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Information on particular activities was really useful. The more teachers started talking about how and why they were doing things, the more I got out of the site reports. As for stuff that needs to be improved, spending time on ideas and tools would be great. I enjoyed the commentary and all, but I think if we spent our time going over what we are doing and how we are doing it is more useful. 

Getting groups of like minded people with common goals is usually beneficial to the group. This conference exemplifies the rule. 

I always enjoy the reports--and pick up ideas each year for use in my class. 

I enjoy listening to current projects because it gives me ideas for future projects. I am not sure if it should be changed because most people are in the throes of their projects, so it is difficult to provide pieces from the project.

I enjoyed the presentation on the technology available to make videos. Most helpful.

I found it useful because I could see what others were doing.

I like to hear what various sites are doing...but it seems to take the lion’s share of the time. I would prefer sending in a few short lines in advance and we could read a list of compiled topics and information about all of the various sites. 

I loved hearing what the other sites are doing. It helps to know the direction the sites are taking. Maybe letting us affiliates now we should prepare a presentation would be helpful.

I really enjoyed hearing what other teachers were doing! I’m glad Jack C. was there to get a sense of the Project. 

Really love to hear how others are doing at their site. The ideas that I hear are so useful! 

Site reports always provided energizing inspiration that I can take back to the classroom--this year was no exception.

This is always my favorite portion of the Summit. It was great that everyone stayed within the time limits. I enjoy picking up ideas from the other projects. The informal format is comfortable and enjoyable. 

Very Useful~connected the members~sparked ideas.

Went very well. Stayed on time and even finished early.

The beginning part where each teacher explained what they were doing was very useful. Also, the serious magic part and just updating on the winter conference in March was useful as well. Maybe when talking about concerns or problems we should be in a circle so that we can communicate with one another would be better. 

The site reports were very useful. I thought that they were the most valuable part of the summit (as a new member). 

This is one of my favorite parts of the conference. I enjoy hearing about the diverse projects being investigated. Everyone always seems so enthused about their projects, and that makes me feel anxious to get back to work on my own. An improvement I might suggest would be having each speaker address stumbling blocks they have encountered and ways to deal with them, and/or particularly successful or unsuccessful approaches they have tried. I like the time limit on presentations.

Evaluate the “Writing for Story” session. What was useful? What might be improved? 

A common background knowledge is important to facilitate discussion. The CD and oral presentation paved the way for further discussion and informed opinions.

Excellent! I am looking forward to more information at the summer institute.

I enjoyed the writing suggestions and workshop on narrative. Mike and Katherine provided concise and useful instruction that I can use with students. Also enjoyed Charles Johnson and his presentation on investigative journalism. Excellent!

I enjoyed this. What would help me out would be a brief lesson on teaching writing as I am not an English teacher and don’t write well myself. 

I really appreciated the outline, the explanations, the emphasis on ideas and organization. I could see now how we might develop strategies that would teach or reinforce the ideas presented, especially with lower-level students. Thanks for the powerpoint—it always helps to have an outline to focus on. I would suggest the next time that you repeat that this narrative format is for non-fiction, that you’re not suggesting students make up stories. I know you didn’t, but you never know what mistakes people will make.

I thought the information was very useful but I would like to have spent more time working with it.

It was encouraging because many students like to write in story format, or what I think is story format and now it seems they have the go ahead to do so.. I found the outline format to be easier and more useful than the outline I tell them to use. 

Loved it. I am so excited to have a simple, useful way to break down a story. I have learned so much from workshops done by the Montana Heritage Program. Improvement. Hmmm. I really don’t like workshops that do all the hands on junk, so I’d say it was exactly the way I wanted it.

Mike and Katherine did a great job hosting this session. I like the organization of the session and am appreciative of the disk. 

More concrete information would have been helpful. I really like the concept of Writing for story, but less time in talking about abstract ideas, and show us methodologies we can use in the classroom to get the results want. 

Not long enough--I am really interested in the “story” approach as opposed to the essay approach...I can always use this kind of “teaching” information.

The writing for story was useful. I will use everything I learned this school year. I enjoyed the formula of Hollywood stories.

This gave me the confidence to try to have students do this type of writing. I appreciated the appropriate examples.

Very useful~sparked ideas, helpful, easy to follow format with hard copy, background visual aid, and speaker. Well done.

We started something that couldn’t be finished… which happens each February.

It was a good session. 

The outline was a clear demonstration of developing a story from a biography. I don’t usually look at a person’s life as a resolution of a particular problem, but for a piece that focuses on one aspect of a person’s life, this is very usable. 

The writing for story was useful. Katherine’s examples made it easier to understand. I think students would understand these examples. More time on the subject may help it become more clear.

Evaluate the “Serious Magic” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

As technically challenged as I somewhat feel (and often appear), I was following their demonstration. However, a handout with main ideas or directions, sequence of actions, would be helpful. Sometimes the directions that come with a program aren’t that clear, so the presenters could make them better for us. :-)

Awesome program. This might have been more useful if we had a chance to use the software. I am excited to purchase my own copy and play around with it, but it would have been fun to try it out during the two days. If we had that workshp the first day, at some point during the two days we might have had time to play with the technology.

Excellent except, of course, we all want multiple copies now!

Great session. I would have liked to see the blending of all the media that we are apt to use at a Heritage Fair. Recorded video, live video, photo’s and commentary. Mostly because I am trying to get a handle on what the best program would be for creating presentations that are not Power Point for our Heritage Fair.

I am really interested in it but not sure the limit access to copies would benefit the time.

I enjoyed this the most and would have liked to experiment with it myself.

I liked seeing the new technology. I won’t jump on board for a while, but am always glad to see what opportunities are available.

I liked Serious Magic, but I don’t know if I will use it. I am limited in technology and short on time.

I may incorporate this software since it is the most user-friendly I have seen. Up to now I have done no video editing--this may be the tool I need.

Interesting but almost too much in terms of the number of programs that could be used.

It was hard to learn much with a huge group, a short time period and additional conversations. Small group sessions would be more effective.

Once again, technology sessions always are useful...get some ideas and, importantly, these presentations often lead to more discussion in smaller groups…

Serious Magic looks like something I would like to try. Possibly having some hands on working with the program would be helpfu.

Yes, it was beneficial to see the program function and to hear about the experiences of the other teachers who have used it. It is always more helpful to be able to play with the program, but I understand that this is not always possible.

Easy to understand. Playing on our own computer will be helpful. 

If there were Special Ed for computer skills, I would be in it. I look at that type of presentation and think, what a wonderful thing for other people to use. 

It’s a neat program! 

Evaluate the “Final Discussion” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Excellent--gathered and focused the group’s thoughts for YHF and Summer Institute and the future of the program. This is an excellent tool as it puts closure to the Summit.

Final discussion answered the questions I had. Some discussion may need to be put on hold to mentally process so that more concise and thoughtful discussion can take place.

Good housekeeping session. It’s good to touch bases on the minor details that are so important.

I think the participants talked about issues they thought were important, and that is critical at the end of an institute. I didn’t feel like people were holding back from being honest about questions or issues. Also, Mike, as always, handled fragile questions or individuals with much respect and grace.

I thought that discussing problems and concerns was valuable but not all questions or concerns were answered because of time constraints.

I would like separate strands for half and hour or so for affiliates. We have concerns, questions that don’t apply to all.

I’m bothered by both the “emphasis on writing” and that someone would have the nerve to question a “live performance” over something that is student generated, practiced, and taped.

It clarified what is expected at the Youth Conference. Improve: have teachers e-mail concerns in early so it can be shortened and condensed.

It is helpful to have a reiteration of the expectations, dates, etc. It felt rushed which is unfortunate because this group has some great interactions in a general discussion format.

Organization, Organization. I like the freedom to speak, but sometimes the conversations devolve into ‘well my philosophy and idea is better than your idea’ type thing. Keep it on concrete ideas, like what you expect out of presentations for the Summer Conference.

Really like how we quickly tackled the problems with shorter discussions. Thanks.

The final brainstorming/discussion session was probably the most valuable aspect of the conference.

The Final Discussion had its good points and bad points. I liked learning about the Youth Heritage Festival. I love how the program always has a visual aid to provide students, other teachers, and administrators. It makes it so much easier to explain what the program is about, etc. As with any workshop, planning an in depth discussion on peer editing right before lunch is always difficult. I think this might have been a better discussion through Smartgroups, but in general everything was beneficial.

Wish it could be longer--gathering the ideas and then working through them is effective--an important component....we hear from people who we might not hear from otherwise....

Yes, however this seems to be the most pertinent part of the Winter Conference. I wish this session would be on the first day.

I think people were too ready to eat lunch and lost their concentration. Maybe we attempted to cover too many unrelated agenda items in too short a time. I still think progress was made, however. 

Moving into a circle may encourage discussion. That always takes lots of time.

Evaluate the “Research Time” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Any time in the archives saves us time on our own. Having the opportunity to return on Tue helps because Mon’s time flies by.

Completed much in a short time.....

Each attendee has his/her own situation with which to deal. Hearing others comments on what is a universal ‘ques5tion mark’ helped us all.

Good. Having teh books ready is a great assistnace…

Good...We appreciate having the sources already located for us and we sincerely appreciated the opportunity to look at topics for next year.

Great!!! For me not long enough

Having research time was useful so that we learn the process to follow if we bring students. I was amazed by the amount of material available!

I watched people conducting research, and it’s always easiest if they know where and what to look for ahead of time because there just isn’t enough time.

I went to the Library session instead, and I found all aspects useful in providing me tools to assist students in research process.

It was useful, but too short. It was also too noisy for me to concentrate.

It’s nice to have it. While I didn’t do reasearch, I did use the time to visit with someone in Helena that was very helpful to me. Next year I will read the Great Northern RR annual reports I found.

Love the research time. I can always use this! I truly like how the museum will find materials beforehand. 

More time to research. For some of us, the distance to bring kids is a limiting factor, and we have a better idea at times what our kids need for research. 

Personally, I would rather be in yet another training or brainstorming session as I am not currently researching with my classes…

The research time was great. It was my first time at the Historical Society, so I enjoyed the entire experience. I didn’t take too much information away from my research, but I learned the basic protocols, etc. to make research easier in the future. Plus, my librarian said she learned a ton, so that in itself is like winning the lottery.

What aspect of the Conference was most useful?

Being able to network with other participants of the project is so important--sharing ideas and suggestions is great. 

Each and every moment. I do not feel I could place 1 moment as more useful than another as time was so well divided between workshop, research, discussion...again, well done. 

For me, I always appreciate the interaction with teachers, talking about their concerns and what their students are doing (both positive and negative). I also appreciate all the fuss you make on behalf of teachers and students. It just never happens (or that’s my experience) in our school districts. The dinner always adds dignity and honor to the teachers. We come away feeling valued, trusted, and honored. Many many thanks! 

Getting focused for the upcoming student conference. 

Hearing about other site’s work. Listening the CD on good writing was very informative. 

I found the writing workshop most useful. 

I got more out of the networking and personal conversations re/ our individual approaches. 

I really found this Conference to be one of the better conferences. Items were to the point and concise. 

My favorite aspect is looking at the writing for story. I am always interested in hearing more about how to help our student writers. 

Research time, hearing from other teachers as to what works and what doesn’t

The dinner. The Charles Johnson presentation was extremely useful, as well as the serious magic session and the research time. 

The writing segment. I like to have information on different types of writing so that I can feel more confident working with my students. 

The workshop on story. I found it to be simple and effective. Then the movie workshop just gave more info on how to use technology to tell a story, etc. It’s all very exciting. 

This year, the narrative/story telling section.... 

Writing suggestions in “Writing for Story” were most useful to me. Even in the abbreviated format presented, many specific elements stood out as tools I can use with my students. 

Already stated in number 1. The short video will be very helpful to show the kids what will be expected of them when they attend the presentation in Helena. 

I like to get the nuts and bolts information about what is expected of us, when things are due, etc. I have thoroughly enjoyed every guest speaker we have had. I like to learn very practical skills and also to be moved by the significance of the work we are doing. 

The opportunity to network with master teachers from around the state. 

What can we do to improve future Winter Summit Conferences?

3 servings of Russian Creme. 

I don’t really know. You work so hard to meet our immediate needs. We trust you. 

I think it works just fine

I thought it was moving on fine and considering problems and they will undoubtedly occur. 

I would like to see more discussion/idea sharing time between the sites. 

I would prefer a shorter time period for individual site presentations. I would have preferred to listen to more on writing. I also appreciated the time that Martha presented some “new” books that were available through the society press. I always like a good “book exchange”.

I’m not sure. I may have to wait till I experience the Youth Summit, etc. to say if there needs to be improvements. At this moment, I would say no improvements are necessary. 

It gets better every year. I always look forward to the summit. 

Maybe we are getting there. This one seemed very useful and friendlier. I believe that showing a technology advancement at every conference allows teachers to see new things and decide for themselves whether or not they want to utilize the software/hardware or not. 

More research time. Maybe some pod time where we can work shop ideas on research techniques, writing ideas, or any other ideas we or you might find constructive. 


Possibly making them a little further removed from the deadlines. Maybe have them earlier in the winter. However, driving becomes an issue some years. 

The conference was extremely well organized, the discussions were timely and important, the intro relevant, the closure left virtually no questions unanswered or at least unconsidered. I would continue as is. 

I can’t believe I am going to suggest this since I normally HATE small group activities, but I do think that it would be productive to have, for maybe an hour, teachers break into broad interest groups - say, technology, writing, field work, research - to discuss problems and solutions. If we knew in advance that we would be having such groups, we could come prepared with questions (the peer editing problem, for instance) and ideas. BY NO MEANS am I suggesting that I want a share-your-innermost-feelings session.

Nothing- it was very helpful.

Do you have a message that you would like communicated to the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation?

As I begin to engage out students again this year in their reasearch (at museums, ranches, newspaper offices, courthouses, and homes), I think how they change from the moment the Project starts (in January at my school) until May (when they present their public offerings)--they emerge as academics, in various degrees, of course. But, my students are committed, focused, and proud during and after thier semester long MHP. Thank you so much for so much. 

Dear Liz and Art, Again, through your ambassadors--Mike, Marcella, and Katherine--you have invigorated the lives and classrooms of many teachers with knowledge, with opportunity, with vision, and with confidence. This is truly a unique program. So many of my students have said, “the Heritage Project was the most valuable part of my education before college!” Many, many thanks! 

Liz and Art~ Be sure to spend a moment or two, now and then, enjoying the thought of magic that you and your foundation bring to the classrooms around Montana. Your vision has changed the way so many of us teach, has brought out the best in our teaching, and most importantly, has brought out the best in our students. I am proud to be a small part of the Project. Thanks!! 

Many thanks for the gracious generosity and interest in this vital pursuit. (without recording history those revisionists can translate it any way they want) This project is vital for the future of American society rich with appreciation for what has come before. 

Many thanks over for this opportunity. 

Thank you for assisting us in helping students become better researchers, writers and thinkers. The project is invaluable in our everyday classrooms. Thank you for your generosity and immense support. 

Thank you for developing and supporting a program that inspires students and their teachers. 

Thank you for the support and encouragement to move this incredible project forward to the place it is now and the place it can be in the future. 

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with teachers from other sites. The lessons provided by the presenters and from each other will definitely improve the writing from students for our project. 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to gain knowledge I can share with my students. The benefits Montana Heritage Project provides our young people are immeasurable. Thank you for helping improve our future. 

The journey continues! Original, authentic learning is taking place that wouldn’t if this Project was not in existence. Thank you! 

The Montana Heritage Project has changed my life. I thank Art and Liz for their support in my trip to the Library of Congress recently. I feel as if my life will take new directions now and my students and community will benefit from your support. 

The Montana Heritage project is becoming a wonderful example to teachers for improving student critical thinking while engaging in topics familiar to them (community) Many schools are involved in the BIG SIX concept of oral histories and research starting at kindergarten. The Montana Heritage project compliments and reinforces this curriculum. Terrific! 

This is such a wonderful program. I cannot express to the Foundation as to the importance of the work we are doing and how greatful I am for having the opportunity to do truly unique work with my students. Moreover, the relationships we have developed on a professional level are meaningful and longlasting. This would not be possible without all your time and effort. Thanks

Great things are happening in the classroom and with students, teachers, and the community because of their Foundation. Thank you. 

One story at a time, before they are forgotten, we’re collecting the anthology of Montana. Thank you for binding our histories.

2006 Winter Summit Conference Librarian Evaluations

Evaluate the “Site Reports” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Always great to hear about the wonderful projects going on. 

It is always great to hear what is happening at the other sites. Everybody did a very nice job of staying succint and within the time period this year. There are great things happening all over this state. 

It is good to hear what the other groups are doing to get ideas for future years. You can also guage how far along you are in the process compared to the other groups. 

Evaluate the “Writing for Story” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Although not directly involved in the writing process, I think it helps to know about the process to be able to help. 

I enjoyed listening to the cd. It had some really good ideas. That was a good prequel to the live session. I was hoping for a little more discussion about the pieces we read, before we came. 

Yes, I thought it was useful. Michael’s section on Hollywood’s model was fun and instructive. If time, we could have analyzed what worked in the assigned readings. That way you validate the time we spent on the assignments. Otherwise people sometimes won’t bother to do the assignment or find usefulness without emphasis from the instructor. I was impressed with the Oma story. The teachers have a yardstick in which to judge other student’s writing. 

Evaluate the “Introduction to Archival Practices” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Molly did a great job of introducing the tools necessary. She was very helpful in answering the questions we had for her also. There were some great questions, with good information. On a related note, the librarian luncheon was very nice. I enjoyed getting together with just the librarians for a short session. 

This was a bit weak. I was expecting some hands on archival info and a handout. What we got was a demonstration of the Montana Shared Catalog that was not all that useful. I think if we had been shown how they archive materials this would have been the most valuable thing to do. 

Would like to see more in depth in this process, it was OK as a brief introduction. It seemed as if she was unclear what we wanted. 

Yes, it will be great for all students to have access to the research students have already completed. 

Evaluate the “Serious Magic” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Serious Magic looks like a very usable program to create little “vinegarettes” or maybe even a vignette or two. It would have helped if the presenters would have spent a little bit of time together before the presentation. Every presentation is like that. If the group spends more time together, then it will be a better presentation. 

This was fun and instructive. This got me excited about producing video in my school. It might be more worthwhile to give teachers access to the software and make and assignment for next winter using the software so that we incorporate it in our projects. 

Yes, great overview. With more than one presenter it gave a better view of what problems might arise. 

Evaluate the “Final Discussion” session. What was useful? What might be improved?

Again useful it that it sums up what we need to know. 

The discussion session is a part of the summit that isn’t always enjoyed that much, but is a necessary tool for us to bounce ideas off of each other. It brings up thoughts and ideas that we can sometimes go home and think about. 

This was very helpful. Ample time and attention was given to listening to our concerns, posting them on a board, finding solutions and then checking them off. Having the handout for accessing the projects was very handy. 

What aspect of the Conference was most useful?

As I am a librarian it is good to separate out for areas of discussion. I love being part of the larger group, but would like things that would help me to maintain and catalog materials. Would like more librarian tracts in the future, but not the sole part of the workshop experience. 

I think the group updates, story and Serious Magic sessions as well as the Final Discussion were all beneficial. 

The most useful part of every winter summit is the time we spend with the other project teachers and share ideas. That can be during an educational session or at the Monday night dinner at the Montana Club. He was a great speaker and after listening to him, I knew that we would have an answer to the questions about lobbyists, when we came to our first session this morning. That is a class act. Thank you for another wonderful Winter Summit. 

What can we do to improve future Winter Summit Conferences?

Everything is always top rate. Marcella is wonderful in what is provided from food to welcome. 

How do you improve a great idea that has been implemented so beautifully. We have a couple of intense days of learning and communication with other teachers and librarians. It is a wonderful environment. 

That’s hard to say. The accommodations were excellent and gave us a chance to refresh ourselves. They were much nicer than the West Yellowstone hotel last summer. I thought the lunch session with the librarians was very considerate and thoughtful. I hope it gave you some ideas as to how to better connect with us librarians-- that is a hard job to do but a very necessary one because some of the librarians as so QUIET. As I said I think the piece of technology presented should be incorporated

Do you have a message that you would like communicated to the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation?

A heartfelt thanks for the opportunity to meet with such wonderful teachers, to see the fantastic projects they produce and to be valued by the wonderful food that is provided is just the tip of the iceberg in my thank-you for this Winter Summit. It is always a pleasure to come to any of the Heritage events because that is truly what they are - events,

Thank you for all the support and knowledge we have gained from your leadership in the Montana Heritage Project. This project has changed the lives of so many students in such a positive way. Even more importantly, it has changed the lives of so many teachers and librarians. We teach in a different way than we used to teach. Our current students and future students gain from our experience. We have had teachers leave the Heritage Project. Some because they moved to a new situation and some

Thank you very much for the opportunity to collaborate with our peers and educate our students using the Heritage Project model. Our school has gained much by being in the Project. Thank you for your monetary support of the library. We have purchased a microfilm scanner and $3000 worth of books using your generous funding. We hope to order more microfilm for next year’s project. This year’s Winter summit was very exciting and useful to me. Thank you for your continued support. 

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 02/06 at 06:10 AM






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