By Alan Sorensen
When theyre done, each of the students in Havre Highs new historical presentations class will have a finished product to show prospective colleges and employers.
Theyll have a CD ROM with everything on it that theyll be able to show employers and say, I can do this, their teacher Jim Magera said. It will be proof that they can work in groups.
Working well in groups, he said, is a skill that more and more employers are considering essential but that few applicants can prove.
The product the nine students are making will end up in all of Havres public elementary schools. The fourth-grade students at each school will use the computer presentation in their Montana history units.
Theyre working in groups of three, so well have three presentations when we get done, Magera said.
To come up with a finished product for the elementary schools, Magera said, the students will go to the fourth-grade classes and get the younger students input. The fourth-graders and their teachers will help put the presentation into a final format the younger students find alluring.
A side benefit, Magera said, will be the cooperative learning experience for the older and younger students.
It will break up misconceptions they have about each other, Magera said. Among other things, the younger kids will learn that high schoolers arent all delinquent monsters. And the high schoolers, he said, will learn that fourth-graders are smarter than they think.
Magera said he can transcribe the CD ROM presentation onto a VHS video tape right in the classroom.
The benefits to each, he said, will be benefits he has reaped throughout his years as a teacher.
Ive learned more from my students over the years than I ever did in college, he said. About this particular class, Magera said, Theyre teaching me as we go along.
Magera, who said he is largely self-taught on computer technology, has prepared about 20 similar presentations of his own in recent years. They range from historical presentations on Rocky Boys Reservation to Curly Bear Wagners wisdom on Blackfeet spirituality, historical landmarks and legends. He is in the process of producing another Rocky Boy presentation with the help of HHS junior Michelle Sangrey.
The historical presentations class meets in the media center, also known as the computer training center, just off the library.
They have has loads of numerous historical pictures and materials about the early years of James J. Hills railroads. But theyre seeking still more pictures they believe are out there, photos capturing the essence of the middle years of the Great Northern Railroad.
Suzanne Burris, curator/archivist for BNSF in Fort Worth, Texas, Don Anderson at the Experiment Station at Fort Assinniboine, Floyd Landsiedel, Danny McIntosh, LeRoy Wiederrich, Bonnie Williamson at Havre-Hill County Library, and officials with the H. Earl Clack Museum in the Heritage Center have provided the students with an array of photos.
The students scan the photos into their computers and store them for application in the presentation. The original photos are then returned to the owner.
Anyone with Great Northern photos is encouraged to contact Magera at Havre High or call him at 265-6731.